Mirth and Woe: Paintball
Work-place team-building exercise, or a bunch planks running around the woods shooting each other up the arse?
Alas, the management at Motorway Tyres and Accessories thought the former, but, thankfully, we the hard-working proles introduced them to their very good friend PAIN at an early stage.
What more did they expect? The company had paid a number of sharp-suited consultants to sit in a smoky room and send out for pizza, and after recommending dozens of low-level sackings they tried to mitigate the pain by suggesting the management send us on primitive team-building days.
Entering the consultants' smoke-filled office was like watching that low-brow ITV fly-on-the-wall programme about hedonistic holidays. You knew you were going to see tits, but you hated every second of it. The sharp bastards tried to have sex with every female staff member in the building, and then had them sacked.
Paintball, they said, and the bosses - fearful of an angry backlash of slackers and saboteurs coming from below stairs - agreed.
The day was, of course, entirely optional, but you had to go, or else.
We all met up on a Sunday morning in a muddy car park in the middle of nowhere, and in the name of team-building they immediately split us into teams and told to hate each others' guts.
Unfortunately, I found myself on the same side as Bob, the less-than-popular department head, whose previous idea of team-building was to get the department a company car "so we can visit all the branches", which only he ever got to use.
Marked for death, we were.
It was hell. Pure hell.
The rain came down, and we trudged through the woods loosing off yellow pot-shots at each other and generally missing.
The organisers made us try to take the opposition base and run around trying to steal flags for some reason, but we found it was simply more fun just to shoot consultants and their lackeys first and ask questions later.
There was, it must be said, very little team-building going on, and quite a lot of settling of grudges. The girls from the accounts department - already decimated in the Great Job Cull - were the worst, and anybody tainted with the management brush got painted up, down and side-to-side.
Three of the consultant bastards also turned up for a freebie, not entirely realising the strength of feeling in the company since they'd put the knife in. They were never seen again, and after a month, the Old Bill put "Police Aware" stickers on the windscreen of their cars.
And so, the morning's work came to an end, and we eventually made it back to the rendezvous point, tired, wet and slightly paint-splattered.
"If you gents don't mind," said Bob, "I'm busting for a pee."
He stepped behind a tree, whipped out the pork and let go with an unnecessarily loud stream of urine accompanied by sighs of relief.
The poor fool. With completely the wrong weapon in his hand, his guard was well and truly down.
Someone - and to this day no-one knows who it was - had *cough* accidentally let fly with a paintball. Twice. Straight at poor, urinating Bob.
In the cock.
It seemed that everybody was experiencing problems with their weapons. At the same time. Whilst pointed at Bob. Who was, by now curled into a foetal position, clutching his groin and becoming more and more yellow by the second.
"STOP IT YOU TARTS!"
THWOCK! "I'm not."
THWOCKTHWOCKTHWOCK! "That's for Debbie, you backstabbin' bastard."
We eventually peeled him up and propped him against the piss-sodden tree.
And what a sight to behold - head-to-toe with yellow paint, yellow cock hanging flaccid* from his yellow combat trousers, yellow face contorted with cock-bruising agony.
"I think..." he eventually said, "I think..... YAAAAAAAAAAARCH!"
THWOCK! "And one for luck."
We never went team-building ever again. At least, not while Ol' Yellowcock was our boss.
* God help us all if he had enjoyed it