'It don't work. Bloody waste of money.' Alfie Dance pulls a face at the telephone handset and flicks two fingers.
A lump swells in Victor's throat. Why does he always bear the brunt when one of their customers vents his spleen over new technology? Alfie should never have bought the phone system in the first place. The man is a confirmed technophobe, for God's sake.
When Victor lands back at the office, he'll have a few words to say to Teflon Ted, the company's overly smooth VOIP salesman.
'There shouldn't be a problem, Mr Dance. We use the same system in our office.'
'Hmm. No wonder I can never get through.'
Victor sucks in his breath and makes a mental note to have a word with Motormouth Marilyn, the celeb-obsessed receptionist.
Alfie pokes a stubby finger in Victor's chest. 'I should have stuck with Skype like our Marvin said.'
Victor wishes he had a quid for every time he hears that. Skype is to VOIP as Kleenex is to tissues. Tarred with the same brush. But if Marvin made the remark then it was worth noting. After all, he is Alfie's six-year-old grandson and technical advisor.
Shrugging his shoulders, Victor decides it isn't worth the argument. He is there to do his job, that's all, and that doesn't involve picking up the toys after one of Alfie's tantrums. He boots up his laptop, digs out the config data for Alfie's business.
One server. Five PCs. Five phone extensions. 1 ADSL line. Hmm.
He picks up the phone on Alfie's reception and calls the office.
After eight rings the gravelly tones of Motormouth rumble down the line. 'H . . . l . . . o . . . Mid . . . s . . . Systems, how ca . . . hel . . . ou?'
'Granddad! Granddad!' screams Marvin, bursting into reception. 'Come and see this! I've just taken out the Death Knight in World of Warcraft!'
Victor feels as if he's been jabbed with a cattle prod. 'Er, where are you playing that?' he says.
'On Granddad's PC.'
'Which is where?'
'In his office, stupid.'
Victor smiles to himself. He would give anything to be a fly on the wall when Teflon tries to convince Alfie to buy a second, VOIP-dedicated ADSL line.
Just as he should have done in the first place.
NEXT MONTH: Victor takes a well-earned holiday