Date written: Tue 13 Apr 1999
Author: Starway Man
Disclaimer: All the FRIENDS characters belong to David Crane, Marta Kaufmann and Kevin Bright, no infringement of copyright or making of profit is intended. The other names and addresses in this fanfic are the result of my imagination, and any resemblances to anyone living or dead are purely coincidental.
Summary: Chandler gets into trouble with his bosses, over an e-mail accidentally sent to his company, and his friends come to help him prevent getting fired.
Chandler Bing was waiting outside the company boardroom, anticipating hell on earth after he walked through the doors. One thought was echoing through his brain: HOW did I get myself into this mess?Suddenly the door opened, and his boss Doug looked at him through the open doorway. For the first time in Chandlers memory, the man looked like he had no desire to slap Chandlers butt.
"The Chairman wants to see you now," he said to Chandler. Chandler winced; the tone of voice sounded like really bad news. "Okay," Chandler said nervously, and stepped through into the room.
He went up to the table in the boardroom, and waited for Doug to rejoin the other two men in the room. One was the Chairman of the Board, who was also the owner of the company. The other was Mr. Douglas, his right-hand man who had once been Chandlers immediate superior in the corporation.
The Chairman grunted as he was reading something in a file. Chandler had never met him before, and for some reason he couldnt help thinking the man looked a lot like the character of Colonel Potter in M*A*S*H. Chandler mentally slapped himself; this was no time to start daydreaming.
The Chairman grunted again as he put the file down, and turned to look at Chandler. He said in a monotone, "Bing, Chandler. Data processor. Joined the company in 1990, stayed a temporary employee for five years. Afterwards promoted to supervisor in charge of Weekly Estimated Net Usage Systems, and Annual Net Usage Systems. So, youre the WENUS and ANUS man."
"Uh, sir -"
"I havent finished!" he suddenly yelled. Calming down, the Chairman continued, "You had a performance evaluation exam six months ago. It said that despite the sarcasm, you were a team player. At the end of the year, you were almost certain to be promoted. But now THIS takes place!" he shoved a piece of paper across the table. "You mind telling me what the HELL is going on with you?!"
Chandler could only shrug helplessly, and didnt know what to say. Neither did Doug or Mr. Douglas, who were only glad the Chairmans anger was not directed at them. None of them could read what was on the paper the Chairman had put on the table, but that didnt matter; everyone with computer access at the company would have read the contents by now. The message had arrived as an e-mail, and been distributed to all of the corporations computer users. It read:
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 08:36:48 +0100
Organization: The Corporate Anarchist
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.06 [en] (Win95; I)
From: A.Friend <email@example.com>
To: CB <chandlerB@baywatchSHRINE.org>
X-Sender: %7#!_default_ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Your companys plan sucks!
Sorry to hear the latest about your companys plan to phase out the usage of WENUS and ANUS in data processing. I guess the old saying (about committees being life forms with six or more legs and absolutely no brain) is true! I came across something out there that I think might cheer you up:
In the beginning there was the plan.
And from the plan came the assumptions.
And the assumptions were without form.
And the plan was completely without substance.
The employees told their supervisors, "The plan is a crock of @#!$, and it stinks!"
The supervisors then told their department heads, "The plan is a pail of dung, and no one can endure its odor."
The department heads then told the managers, "The plan is a container of excrement, which smells such that none may go near."
The managers then told the director, "The plan is a vessel of fertilizer, and none can abide by its strength."
The director then informed the vice-president, "The plan contains that which aids plant growth and is strong."
The vice-president then told the executive vice-president, "The plan promotes growth and is very powerful."
The executive vice-president said to the president, "The plan is very powerful, and will promote growth and efficiency of the system."
And the president then reviewed the plan and said, "It is good."
And the plan became policy.
And the chairman of the board said, "This is how @#!$ happens."
Good luck at the office CB, hope the new system works out.
"Bing, what this letter says - do you really think this is the way my company operates?!"
"Oh no, sir!"
"You really think your co-workers are a bunch of idiots?"
"Oh no, sir!"
"What are you, a broken record? Cant you say anything other than `oh no sir!?"
Chandler just shrugged again, and decided to keep his mouth shut. He thought, quite rightly, that anything more he said at this point would only make things worse.
Doug cleared his throat, and said nervously, "Uh, in Chandlers defense sir, he didnt distribute that e-mail. He didnt even send it - someone else did, an outsider apparently, sir. And and that someone else didnt even claim credit for writing that, uh, part of it."
The Chairman looked at him. "Who did send it?"
"Its impossible to say, the web site guards the identities of its patrons very carefully. As a matter of fact, the e-mail wasnt even supposed to come to our domain, there was a webserver crash which rerouted -"
"I dont speak computerese, you MORON!" shouted the Chairman. "Talk to me in plain English."
"Uh, yes sir. Basically, it came to everyone here by mistake, because the machines screwed up, sir. I mean, I dont think this guy was seriously implying any of that about you personally, Mr. Chairman."
The old man ignored him. He turned to Mr. Douglas and said, "Is that true?"
Mr. Douglas shrugged. "As far as we can tell, sir. I did some checking on this "Corporate Anarchist" organization. Basically, anyone can join just by subscribing at the Internet address, which is called www.the-corporate-anarchist.com. Very original," he snorted. "There are all sorts of freaks and weirdos there, they preach about everything related to big business. I mean, anything from the end of the world, to who really assassinated JFK back in 63. In fact," he opened a folder on the table and handed the Chairman a piece of paper, "I found this sir, it was put on their web site bulletin board not long ago. I think you might find it interesting."
The Chairman accepted the paper from him, and his attention was quickly focused on what was written there:
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 14:26:29 +0300
Organization: The Corporate Anarchist
X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.0 (Win16; I)
From: The Watcher <email@example.com>
To: Everyone <firstname.lastname@example.org>
X-sender: The Thinker <email@example.com>
Subject: The ten-point corporate survival plan!
Here is some free advice on how to survive in todays corporate work environment:
Dont argue with the boss.
Always follow the Eleventh Commandment (Thou shalt not get caught!).
Consider any member of middle management as being guilty of conspiracy, until proven innocent.
Anticipate that nothing EVER gets done on schedule or within budget.
Never count an enemy in the boardroom as defeated, until you see his parking space reassigned and his butt kicked out of the building.
Beware of spiked drinks in the cafeteria, as they can make you shoot at the IRS auditors and miss.
Make sure that if engaging in an office romance, the other person suddenly doesnt develop a strange fascination for films like Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct.
Bring a hidden video camera to the annual Christmas party if youre short of cash, you can charge people money to see the wild parts the next working day.
Know that the people who run things can and WILL do anything to make sure no part of the blame ever attaches to them.
Keep your own ass covered at all times and I mean, have it armor-plated!
Hope everyone out there find this useful,
The Chairman of the Board passed the paper to Chandler and Doug, who both quickly read it. He was looking very angry. "Bing, is this really the sort of thing you willingly participate in? What the hell are you doing in my company?"
Chandler stammered, "No no no sir! This persons a crackpot, I have nothing to do with this, or with him, I swear!"
Chandler then thought to himself, `How can this situation possibly BE any worse?
Just then there was a loud knock. One of the two doors opened, and Chandlers friends stuck their heads around the corner one at a time, one on top of the other; first Rachel Green, then Monica Geller, then Joey Tribbianni, then Phoebe Bouffay, and finally Ross Geller at the top. "Hi," they chorused at the same time.
"This is a private meeting!" called out Doug.
"What are you guys doing here?" Chandler said worriedly.
The five of them came through the door into the room, and Monica said, "I got a phone call Chandler, we heard about what happened."
Joey said with a grin, "Yeah, so we came to help dude!"
`Oh no, Chandler thought to himself. `Im drowning here, and someone just tied a block of cement to my feet!
"Who the devil are these people?" the Chairman asked with a frown.
Chandler said hurriedly, "Ill take care of this sir, if youll just give me a few minutes -"
"Bing, just answer the question!"
Chandler looked terrified. "Uh, yes sir. This, this is my girlfriend, Monica. And uh, this is her roommate, Rachel. The guy on the left is my best friend from college, Ross. Beside him is Phoebe, shes, uh, another friend of mine. And this is my roommate, Joey."
Doug frowned. "Joey Joseph Tribbianni, right? You used to work here before you got fired, didnt you?"
Joey looked indignantly at him. "Well, no, actually I I just got secretly moved, uh, transferred into into Special Projects! Thats right, Special Projects!"
"Huh?" said Chandler.
Mr. Douglas also looked puzzled. "Special Projects?"
"Yeah, yknow, the secret section, Special Projects! I mean, I just came back from from Yemen! Didnt ya know about my unofficial trip there for the company?"
Mr. Douglas felt uncomfortable as everyone stared at him. He especially didnt like the questioning look the Chairman was giving him. So he decided to pretend he knew what Joey was talking about. "Uh, well, of course! I was just - checking. Cant be too careful these days, yknow, spies everywhere -"
The Chairman looked at his watch, and sighed. "Can we get on with this?" he said looking at the ceiling for a moment.
"Wow, yknow your aura needs a good cleansing!" exclaimed Phoebe.
The Chairman looked around at her in astonishment. "What?"
Phoebe said with a smile, "You know, if I had my guitar here I could sing a song to cheer you up! Do you want me to go get it?"
Ross said nervously, "Uh, Pheebs, I dont think now is a good time -"
Rachel said quickly, "Yeah, sweetie, another time, definitely."
The Chairman started banging with his cane on the table loudly, and everybody shut up. He pointed his cane at the newcomers, and said grimly, "You people. Be quiet. One more word, and Im calling security!" He laid the cane on the table, turned and looked at Chandler. "Now as for you, Ive still got a few questions. First of all, whos A.Friend? And, whos this Watcher character?"
Chandler shrugged. "I really dont have a clue sir, weve never met - I dont even know their real names!"
"Do they have any idea Im going to sue their asses off?"
"Sir, youd have to find them first theyre so paranoid, they make those people from the X-Files look like Boy Scouts! I mean, Ive heard that these guys assume anybody they meet outside the Internet, in real life, is going to pull out a gun and shoot them!"
Doug said wryly, "Well, its not hard to understand why."
"Give me an answer Bing, do they or dont they?!" hissed the Chairman.
"Uh, not from me sir," Chandler gulped.
"Good," said the Chairman straightening up. "Douglas, get onto Legal, I want them found and a writ served on these people yesterday! Matthews, get over to your computer section, make sure this sort of thing doesnt happen again. Bing, clear out your desk before the end of the day."
Chandler looked stunned. "Huh?"
The Chairman looked at him in amazement. "Didnt you understand that you were fired, the moment you stepped through that door?"
Chandler gulped, "I I -"
Monica started to look angry. "This isnt fair! It wasnt Chandlers fault!"
The Chairman looked at her. "Are you people still here?"
Ross said, "Look, this is a big mistake! Chandlers one of the best employees you have you cant lose him like this! I mean, no one spends more time worrying about the WENUS than he does!"
"You bet!" said Rachel urgently. "He works here so late sometimes, you should give him a reward for loyalty to this WENUS thing!"
"Yeah!" exclaimed Phoebe. "Hey, if I gave you a free massage, would you change your mind?"
The old man looked at her, completely astonished. "Young lady, are you offering me what I think you are?"
Phoebe glanced at the others, and then as she realized what he meant she burst out laughing. "Oh no, hey, Im a professional masseuse!" she said in between giggles. "Why does everybody think Im, like, a whore?"
"Well -" Ross started to say, before Rachel nudged him and he shut up.
The Chairman was still looking at them in astonishment. "What planet are you people actually from?" he asked, shaking his head in honest stupefaction. "Get out, before I have you arrested for trespassing!"
"I dont think you wanna do that, sir," said Joey suddenly.
The Chairman turned to look at him. "Tribbianni? What are you talking about?"
"Well sir, if Chandler goes, so do I!"
"What?" said Chandler dumbfounded.
"Im not bluffin sir!" Joey said defiantly. "With what I know about everythin that the company is doin in Yemen, I think we better negotiate!"
Chandler drew him to one side and hissed, "Joey, have you gone completely nuts? What dyou think youre doing!?"
Joey came close to him and said in a hushed voice, "Dude, just lemme handle everythin, okay? Im sorry, but I gotta do this, its for your own good!" He stamped down on Chandlers foot with his shoe, the one with the partly missing toe.
"Ahhhhh!" Chandler yelled in pain, and started hopping around on one leg, trying to massage his injured foot. "JOEY!"
Joey ignored him, as Monica went over to assist Chandler. "Honey, let me help -" Chandler did so, leaning on her, trying to relieve the pain.
"Well sir?" Joey said to the Chairman.
"I dont like ultimatums, Tribbianni," he said in a threatening voice.
"Then dont make me do it, sir!" Joey said passionately. "Think about it, itd bring a lotta bad press to the company if you fired both of us! Especially if we also sue for wrongful dismissal!"
The Chairman looked at Mr. Douglas again. "Is that even possible?"
The other man nodded. "Oh, yes sir. Thered be no way to keep it quiet, not if we got rid of both of them at the same time."
The Chairman looked around at everyone, and seemed to come to a decision. "Everybody out!" he suddenly yelled. As they all started to obey, he called out, "Except YOU, Bing!"
After everyone had gone, Chandler looked nervously at the Chairman. "You wanted to see me, sir?"
"Sit down, Bing," the Chairman growled. Chandler quickly did so.
The Chairman shook his head slowly from side to side again. "How did you get me into this mess, you idiot?"
Chandler said reflectively, "Actually, I was wondering the very same thing, maybe its a conspiracy -" Then he realized what he was saying. "Uh, that didnt come out right, sir, I mean -"
"Forget I asked!" the Chairman barked. "We have a delicate situation here, Bing."
"It looks like I cant fire you, but I cant just let this go unpunished. Im going to have to think of something else to do with you."
"Agh, if you say those words again to me one more time, Ill change my mind, and to hell with the bad press."
"Ye -" Chandler caught himself just in time. "Uh, Im sorry, sir."
"Bing, in one day youve caused me more grief than every problem in the last five years combined! You know what? I ought to send you to one of my competitors, let you give them an ulcer!"
The Chairman waved his question aside. "Oh, never mind. Get Douglas and those other two dummies back in here."
Chandler quickly went to the door, and Mr. Douglas, Doug and Joey came in. Joey and Doug stood alongside Chandler, while Mr. Douglas came over to his boss. "You want me to get your medication, Mr. Chairman?"
"Later," the man grunted. "Matthews, I want you to delete that message from everybodys computer. For all practical purposes, this entire day never happened, understand? If I hear anyone in the company so much as mention this incident ever again, the guilty party will be terminated! On the spot! No matter who it is! Make sure everyone knows that."
"Yes, sir," Doug said fearfully.
"Tribbianni," the Chairman continued, "I told you I dont like threats. Ive decided that as of now, youre out of Special Projects! Go back to your old job, keep your mouth shut, and maybe youll be around here long enough to collect your pension."
"Cool!" Joey said grinning.
The Chairman looked at him in confusion, then brushed it aside. "That only leaves you to deal with, Bing," he continued.
"Yes, sir," Chandler said, starting to sweat.
"I swear, I dont know what to do with you," the Chairman said. "Douglas, what do you think?"
Mr. Douglas looked trapped. "Uh -" Then he looked like he just had an epiphany. "Sir, theres now a temporary vacancy in Special Projects, right? I suspect our research offices in Yemen need a VERY thorough inspection, from what Tribbiannis told us!"
"What?" said Chandler horrified.
"Thats brilliant!" exclaimed the Chairman.
"Hey, that was my job! This is favoritism!" said Joey in a hurt voice.
"Shut up!" all the others shouted at the same time. Chandler then continued fearfully, "Sir, uh, how long would I be gone for?"
"Oh, as long as possible," said the Chairman in a dreamy voice. Then his voice hardened, and he stared grimly at Chandler. "But if youre back in less than two weeks, dont bother showing up to work here again. Douglas, send someone with him to the airport, to make SURE he gets on the plane!"
"Yes, sir," said Mr. Douglas immediately.
"Good, well that takes care of things," the Chairman was sounding tired, and leaned back in his chair. "Oh, my stomach," he screwed up his face and clutched his middle, and then gestured irritably. "All of you, leave. Now. I dont want to be disturbed for the next few minutes."
The four men filed out, and the Chairman closed his eyes. All of a sudden, Joey poked his head back through the doorway and said hopefully, "Sir, is all this gonna affect my future prospects for promotion?"
The Chairman looked at him and shouted, "GET OUT!" Joey quickly disappeared, and the Chairman leaned back again, muttering to himself, "Ah, maybe I should go to Yemen, God knows I need a vacation..."
- THE END -
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