I’m sure everyone has what he or she calls their “Inner Voice”. It’s the little voice that says, “Get out and help that old woman” or “You can afford to donate more so do so”. For me, however, that little voice is usually very quiet. It’s the other voice that is loudest. You know, the one that says “Say it! Sure it’s cruel, but you’ll get a laugh!” or “You’re damn right we’re going to key that bastard’s car”.
Most rational people listen to that voice less often. I, on the other hand, hear it loud and clear. My friends have taken to calling that particular one “The Voice”. And yes, you can hear the capital “V” when they say Voice. This story happened in late October of 2001 and will hopefully illustrate which Voice gets the most attention.
It was a beautiful, sunny day. My Supervisor, we’ll call him Bob, and I were coming back from lunch when I realized that I needed to get the oil changed in my truck. Since it was a Friday, I didn’t think it would hurt to take a few extra minutes and wait for it. Bob, being the conscientious guy that he is, figured it would be best if we went back to the office and that he’d carry me over there after work to pick it up. That was fine with me.
It was an incredibly slow, boring day. Nothing was going on at all. I was bored out of my mind, which usually gets me in trouble. To make matters worse, it was the second day of our annual tournament and lots of folks were there. Everyone it seemed, but Bob and me.
As we’re pulling out of the oil change place, The Voice says, It’s too nice to go back to work. You will go to the golf tournament.
“We should go to the golf tournament,” I said. “It’s too nice to be stuck in the office.”
His head slowly turned towards me and I could see the wheels spinning behind his eyes. “Hmm…Arial (our supervisor) is out of the office this afternoon.”
Did she take her laptop with her?
“Did she take her laptop with her?”
“Yes, she did,” he replied.
Then she’s probably gone for the rest of the day.
“Then she’s probably gone for the rest of the day,” I said, hopefully
“She probably is,” he says, turning into traffic. I notice that we’re heading back to the office.
If someone needs you, they can page you. You have your cell phone.
“If someone needs us, they can page us and we can call them back on my cell.”
Buick is giving away free golf shirts.
“You know, I’ve heard Buick is giving away free golf shirts.” Geeks will never turn down free shit.
He turns to look at me, and I can see the smile on his face. We pass by the office and head for the interstate. Jackpot.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Victory is mine!
He looks at me, “Did you say something?”
“Uh, nope. Must have been the radio.”
We get to the tournament, park the car and approach the shuttle that will take us to the course. Getting off is a former employee, who just happens to be the King of Free Shit.
“Hey, fellas. Watchall doin’ here?”
“Hey, Mark, just came by to get some free shirts from Buick. What are you up to?”
“Oh man, sorry to tell you guys this, but I just got the last shirt. I think they’re giving away a sleeve of balls or some cheap crap like that.”
“Uh…uh…damn, that’s too bad. I guess we’ll go see anyway. Thanks.”
“See ya’ fellas,” he says, walking towards his truck.
He did not see you here.
“Hey Mark,” I yelled, “If you run into anyone we know, you never saw us, right?”
“Sure thing,” he laughs, “I never saw you.”
That becomes our mantra for the day.
“Hey man, how’s it going? We’re not really here.”
“Wow, what a shot. Huh? No, we just came out to see what’s going on. HEY! You never saw us, right?”
“We’re playing hooky. No, really, we are. But you never saw us.”
We’ve been at the tournament for about half an hour when my pager goes off. I check it, but don’t recognize the number. My years of training as a computer support tech immediately kick in and I perform the one action that all self-respecting computer geeks do when they don’t recognize the number; I delete it.
After about 10 minutes, Bob’s pager goes off.
“Who is it?,” I ask.
“It’s Josh,” he says, “I wonder what he wants.”
Josh is an idiot. You will ignore the page.
“What would Josh want? I think he’s just messin’ with us. I’d ignore it.”
Bob agrees that Josh is probably messing with us and deletes the page.
Thirty minutes later, we decide to head back. Considering the hour for lunch, drive time to the course and our time spent wandering around, we’ve been gone close to 2 ½ hours. As we’re walking to the truck, my pager goes off again. It’s the same number as before, and I still don’t recognize it. Training kicks in, message deleted. Bob’s pager goes off about two minutes later.
“Dammit, Josh, quit freakin’ paging me. It can’t be that important.” I can tell he’s getting irritated.
“Here, call him on my cellphone,” I say as I hand him the phone.
“Hey, Josh, it’s Bob. Uh huh. Yeah. At the golf tournament. Oh really? OK. Sure. Bye.”
“What was that all about?”
“He says Arial is looking for us,” a slightly worried tone in his voice.
She is gone for the day. Do not fear. She took her laptop.
“She’s gone, dude. She took her laptop, didn’t she? He’s just messin’ with us.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” he says, “I bet that’s it.”
About two minutes later, my pager goes off. It’s the wife so I give her a call.
“Hey, Butthead, what’s up? At the tournament. No, we just left. She is? Riiiight. Who told you that? Josh? Yeah, ok. Whatever he says. Bye.”
“What did she say?”
“She said Josh called and told her that Arial is looking for us. Damn, I didn’t think he was that smart,” I said, admiring Josh’s plan.
“What do you mean?,” he said, a bit confused.
The Voice is whispering this to me as I speak. “Dude. Think about it. Arial is gone for the day. We saw her take her laptop. Josh has no idea where we are so he decides to page us. To make it better, he mentions that Arial is looking for us. He knows we won’t believe him so he’s got to have someone else call, too. Who better than my wife? So, he has her call and say the same thing, ‘Arial is looking for you’. It’s brilliant. It’s EXACTLY what I would do if I wanted to fuck with someone. He just forgets that I’m the Master and he is just a grasshopper. It’s a good try, though. You gotta give him credit.”
Bob doesn’t really seem to buy this so The Voice gives him mantra number 2, which I repeat with conviction. “She took her laptop.”
We drive back in silence. I’m convinced that I’m on to them and am going to beat them at their own game. They have no idea who they’re dealing with. I invented the “have your wife call” trick years ago. The Voice says You da’ man!. Bob says nothing.
We get back to the office after being gone a little over 3 hours. As we’re walking in the door, one of the techs from another groups says, “Hey, where y’all been? Arial’s been looking for you.”
“Nice one,” I tell him, “but we already know she’s gone. She even took her laptop.”
“Apparently you got some bad information. She’s here.”
The Voice quickly takes stock of the situation, weighs its options and says See ya, Dude. You’re on your own.
Oh yes, folks. She was here and she was pissed. I snuck on back to my cube while poor Bob got an ass chewin’. As it turns out, she wasn’t pissed that we went AWOL, she was worried since no one heard from us in three hours and we didn’t answer our pages. Man, talk about feeling lower than a worm’s belly. I respect our boss a lot and felt bad for what we’d done so I ended up writing her an email apology (you don’t want to talk to her when she’s in this kind of mood). Fortunately, in a few days all was forgiven.
I’m sure you’re wondering what happened to The Voice. He was silent for a long time. Then came April Fool’s Day.