Cal Davvers screamed, froth bubbling at the corners of his oh so old mouth.
I need you to meet with this Project Manager and get her to sign this!
He slapped an elegantly clawed fist on the table, under it, a form daubed with red letters.
I winced slightly at the prevailing smell of foost in his darkened office and picked up the form. The top of it was emblazoned with the legend - N203B - Budgetary Non-Compliance.
I turned to leave.
Get her to sign it! And then... Then we will feast!...
Snarled Cal Davvers his face a rictus of rage.
Consider it done, Boss man.
I tipped my hat and escaped from his dark sanctum into the lighter dim of the outside office.
Outside was one of the Audit officers, Ceviche.
He nodded grimly at me.
You're not flying solo. I will come with you.
I nodded as if we were sharing the same harmonica and he hadn't wiped his mouth.
So be it.
I uttered. I wondered. Was Ceviche there to audit me? No matter, he would learn that when it came to big boys tugging their penises, I could tug like a barber at a matted dreadlock.
And so I found myself with Ceviche, pacing to and fro in one of our small windowless meeting rooms. The Project Manager in question, Anne, sat before us clutching a slim manilla folder.
I slapped a piece of paper down on the table before Anne as if it were a freshly caught fish for her to stroke.
So Anne, can you explain that?
I asked with my finest cold sneer. I had practiced it in the mirror. It was the same sneer I gave to the lycra-clad cyclists who hauled their bikes onto my train in the morning.
I waggled my coffee cup like a silicone sex toy as I sneered, playing at bad cop. Although, I think Ceviche behind me, was itching to jump in and also play bad cop, which didn't bode well for Anne.
Anne's lip curled up as if to pull nails out of a plank as she flicked at the paper that had been slapped down.
It's a purchase order.
She sighed wearily, as if dealing with fools.
I shook my head.
Oh Anne, oh Anne. Yes, it is a purchase order. Signed by you... FOR 300K?!
Anne shifted in her seat as if a sea urchin was fubbling about her nethers.
Of course it is signed by me. That's my job as PM. And 300K isn't such a big sum in Software delivery.
Did you obtain departmental approval for it?
There was a pause so pregnant I felt the urge to call out for hot water and lots of it.
Well... Not explicitly.
Said Anne, a little uncertainty creeping into her manner.
As a PM I am tasked with getting my projects over the line and this was just a simple case of budget juggling.
Ceviche looked at me. Then he looked up at the heavens. Then he looked at me again and gave an almost imperceptible nod to continue. It looked like I was doing ok.
Juggling, Anne? What are we, a circus? Tell us more... How did you juggle the company's money?
I asked with a casual air.
Anne looked more uncomfortable.
It's quite simple, we had an over-spend in one phase and an under-spend in the other. I just transferred the budget between the two. It's all the same pot of money isn't it?
She looked at me, more than a hint of pleading in her voice.
Is it, Anne? Issss itttt?
I hissed like a snake in a pot of boiling soup.
Ceviche gave an approving nod.
Anne blinked then shook her head.
Look, why don't we pop out and discuss this over a coffee. It's all standard stuff and we delivered on time and actually under budget?
She smiled placatingly at us both.
Ceviche jerked as if someone had plucked at his pubis unkindly.
Coffee?! Coffee!? The Audit don't drink coffee!
I burped guiltily and surreptitiously attempted to hide my coffee cup behind my back.
I was quite getting into the role of Auditor. It seemed like you just shouted at people for getting things done successfully.
You would think that people who delivered things successfully in IT were to be congratulated. But no, it seemed not.
After a little more berating, Anne signed the Non-Compliance form. We left her, closing the door with a click.
What happens now?
I asked him quietly, Anne's muffled sobs echoing from behind the door.
Now we take this back to Davvers!
Said Ceviche savagely.
Ah... And then we feast!
Ceviche gave me an odd look, as if his boss wasn't a centuries old vampire feasting on the blood of innocents.
Feast? What? No. Then she countersigns the report and presents an action plan to present for financial amendment.
And then we feast?
I suggested, somewhat hopefully. I needed to prove that we had an ancient Vampire in our midst and it looked like I was a ball-hair away from doing so.
No, man. What is wrong with you? Why this obsession with feasting?
I made a fallomphing farting noise with my lips.
That's what Davvers said, "And then we feast!" I mean, must I be blatant? Will you make me announce the ancient vampire elephant in the room?
Ceviche looked startled.
Vampire elephants? Are you feeling alright? There is no such thing as vampires.
And Elephants? I suppose they don't exist either?
Ceviche threw me a caustic eye.
Stop taking the piss.
We headed back to the fourth floor, form in hand.
I sat, alone now with Cal Davvers, Ceviche having been dismissed.
I hear you did a very good job. A very good job indeed. And here we have it. The evidence in hand...
Cal Davvers waved the Non-Compliance form triumphantly.
I sat in the half-light of his office. He didn't know it but I had a sharpened wooden spoon in my back bin, it made the act of sitting slightly uncomfortable but meant I was ready for any Vampire-Schmampire shenanigans.
And now we feast!
I half shouted.
Cal Davvers twitched slightly as if I had suggested a camel ride for two.
Not quite. Not quite...
He examined me closely with his ancient gaze.
I think you are ready. Perhaps you should come to mine for dinner tomorrow night. I have all manner of jazz I suspect you may be interested in...
I didn't answer immediately. I wasn't sure what I was being drawn into. Jazz? Did he mean jizzum? Did he intend to despoil my lovely buttocks? Was I to be subjected to a strenuous Internal Audit?
Or was there something darker, more sinister in mind?
This might just be the break in the case I was looking for. As long of course as it wasn't my case that was to be broken.
I nodded my acceptance.
Cal Davvers scrawled an address on a post-it note.
7 o'clock. Oh and lose the hat will you? It looks fucking ridiculous
I ground my teeth and slowly exhaled.
Or gazes locked for what seemed like a very long time. The air thrummed with tension.
I reached up and stroked the brim of my fedora like it was my favourite Labrador puppy and shook my head.
The hat stays.
He narrowed his eyes at that. I turned heel and left.
Not on your nelly, vamp-daddy. I thought as I paced away.
I had better sharpen my wooden spoon, it looked like it was going to see some action.