There are procedures for this kind of thing, you know. Well, not exactly this kind of thing, but other events close to it I guess. I filed a ERE-3821 (Emergency Reportable Event) as soon as I found out, but I must’ve missed one of the checkboxes, because it thudded back in my in-tray shortly after 9am, stamped at the top – “CLOSED”.

Well bother, that’s a kick in the rear. I was all set to attend the calibration seminar luncheon and I had other work to do. I pulled up the directory, dialed the Central Facilities Emergency Coordinator, but it only rang twice before it rolled into a full voicemail box.

Exasperated, I called the junior assistant to the CFEC, who promptly told me to send it in an email with any relevant attachments. So there I was, stomach grumbling and pecking away at the keyboard, selecting drop-down choices on a poorly designed Emergency Report when my computer crashed.

Damn it all, I had told the IT guys I thought the power supply was dodgy. Rebooting was going to take a while, so I decided to use an older machine that all the secretaries called “The Demon”. It used to be an emergency terminal, one dedicated to high-priority events – hence the red plastic, and it had just enough computing power to relay messages to central facilities.

I plopped down on the well worn chair, and started making a horrible racket on the mechanical keyboard.




And grandly hit the large “Send” key in triumph, thinking everything was taken care of. It was nearly 1pm when I sent it, which meant plenty of time for the other offices to get approval and start their emergency procedures. Satisfied, I turned off the console and went to a late lunch with the guys.

Things stretched out a bit longer than I thought they would, so I didn’t make it back to the office until 3pm. Guess what I saw as I sat down at my desk? A damned blinking red light on my phone, telling me I had a message. Picking up the reciever, I dialed my voicemail.

“… Hi, Chuck calling from Central Facilities, we got a garbled message from the old alert console in your office. How many times do we have to tell you guys to stop using that thing? Its using old twisted-pair copper lines to send and it never worked reliably. Just give me a call or page me at my emergency contact number. Thanks”

Damn it all, now I had to chase this guy down. I glanced at my watch, 3:25pm. Great, now I’m not even sure if I could get to safe minimum distance at this rate. Sighing in frustration, I slammed down the receiver, put the forms in my briefcase and headed out the door with my coat on.

I’ll take it to him if I damn well have to, I thought, trying to dial him on the way – but of course, the line was busy. I was just a block away when a low rumbling echoed off the skyscrapers, towers swaying in an invisible breeze.


This just wasn’t my day at all, was it.