The child-like doll sat in the corner of Bob’s office, with faded paint and sunken eyes matching her dress that had yellowed with age. Over the years previous owners had attempted to repaint the dolls resulting in a macabre, paint smeared face.
I hate that thing thought Bob. It came with the office and new job role he had inherited after the previous manager ran out one day and never returned. Talk in the office was he went crazy after receiving the latest S1000D IETM Viewer maintenance renewal from that large software company! “He just burst out of his office screaming,” quipped Alan at the water cooler.
Bob tried to focus on the paperwork that littered his small brown desk, while feeling the dolls eyes staring straight at him. He shivered and then strode across the room, grabbing the tattered child-like toy and tossing it into the metal stationary cabinet. He slammed the door with satisfaction.
Settling into the well-worn office chair, he grabbed the next piece of paper from the over flowing ‘FOR ACTION’ tray. Great, another bill! Why do I have to pay a software company to view my own content that we write? He thought angrily. Turning the bill over he saw words scrawled in red pen from the former manager. “Don’t pay, free viewers!” was repeatedly written across the sheet. What the h… thought Bob.
“You need to pay that Bob,” said the doll from the corner of the office, giggling with delight and kicking its wooden legs. Bob spun around in terror, eyes wide and heart racing. “What are you?” He stammered. “I’m Annabel, I sell software maintenance and you use our S1000D IETM Viewer, so you must pay” she purred while playing with a box cutter she had pulled from the desk drawer.
“But how did you even calculate the yearly fee?” We don’t know how many IETM Viewers our customer actually uses?” Bob queried.
“Oh that’s easy Bob, we look how big your company is and how large your project and/or end customer is and we charge you what we think you will accept”, stated Annabel as she slowly slashed the wall with a large pair of scissors.
“But we only have one S1000D project,” shrilled Bob, hiding behind his chair. “One project or ten Bob, we just take a stab at a figure we know you will pay. Speaking of taking a stab” said Annabel.. The scissors sailed past Bob’s head, impaling his family photo on the wall behind him.
“But OneStrand’s R4i S1000D IETM Viewers are ALL FREE!” Bob screamed at Annabel who was now walking slowly towards the petrified Bob, pointing a pen at him like a dagger. “Sign the order Bob,” she hissed.
Bob lurched towards the office door, desperate to escape from the possessed sales rep (Annabel) who was trying to make him sign the ridiculous maintenance order. Bob pulled the door open and ran into the hallway. Running for the carpark, he turned back to see Annabel’s painted face peering out of the doorway waving his family photo, complete with the scissors embedded in the frame.
Sprinting past Alan at the water cooler, Bob repeatedly screamed, “Don’t pay! There are free Viewers!” He continued out into carpark and kept going, disappearing into the hedges.
Back at the water cooler, Alan was thinking he may finally get that managers job after all.
VP Product Development