It's a very hot day in the Big Accounting Room. On sunny summer afternoons, this place heats up like an oven. On sunny winter afternoons, it is none too cool either, but that's not important right now, Ray.

The Moo is not having the best day. It's hot. There are 3 days worth of vouchers in her in-basket still to be approved. Her own boss wants the whole payroll system documented three weeks before she could possibly get a "round tuit". The Internal Oversight department is in a snit over airplane ticket documentation. (Internal Oversight is something like Internal Affairs for bean counters.) The Portuguese delegation has just bought a whole load of photocopy paper without a purchase order, again.

Oh dear, and here comes Benton with some question or other I really don't have the time and patience for right now.

Me: Yes, Benneeshore.

He: Marilyn, I finished that database. I'd like to show it to you now.

I'm trying to remember.
Oh yeah. Three weeks ago he noticed I was using a simple spreadsheet to track the travel claims. He offered to make me a spangy new ACCESS database instead.

"Benneeshore," I remember saying at the time, "that'd be nice but I need you doing other work right now." He insisted that the time we'd save with the database and it would be worth his diverting time from the Unliquidated Obligations I had assigned him to balance. "You just do what I tell you," I had countered, "I pay your salary."
I'm shouting by now, if I recall correctly.

"Actually you don't," said he, "the Canadian government still pays me."

"Right," said I. "I'm still a Canadian for tax purposes so, as I said, I pay your salary."

He's too polite to say that as a Canadian taxpayer himself he pays his own salary as much as I do. His previous Commanding Cfficer had a much longer fuse and a much tighter axx than the Moo. He's not used to outbursts of temper at the office.

"Well then," he said, "I'll be happy to do it on his own time."

"Fine, you want to waste your summer evenings making me a database when you could be swimming in the Danube, strolling the Vienna Woods or listening to Strauss in the Rathausplatz? I can't stop you."

End of story. Or so I thought.
Now he wants to show it to me and I'm really too hot and bothered to be, um, well, bothered.

Me: Not now, Benneeshore.

He: But it will only take a few minutes, see I put an icon . . .

Me: Not now, Benneeshore.

He: . . . on your Desktop while you were at lunch so we can . . .

I pick up my new letter opener in the shape of dagger that I bought in a tourist trap in Klagenfurt on the weekend. I brandish it.

Me: Benneeshore, just which part of 'not now' didn't you understand?

Point taken. He slinks off, proverbial tail between very real, oft-injured legs. Goes back to his lonely little desk.

I'm a skunk. Lookit poor Mountie. I'm worse than a skunk. I'm several orders of magnitude below pond scum.

Me: Benneeshore . . .

He sighs, heaving his too-narrow-for-a-six-foot-man shoulders. Gets up and comes back over, patiently, patiently.

I stand up from my chair and motion him to sit in it.

Me: Take the wheel, Benneeshore. Let's take that database for a test drive.

I really should appreciate my people more.

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