“Honestly, it’s a very simple system.  I don’t understand why you can’t work it.”

John shifted his feet and stared at the desk, avoiding the disappointed gaze of his senior secretary.  He had tried to do his own filing, late one evening after she had left for the day, and now he desperately needed the file and it couldn’t be found anywhere.

“I know I put it in that cabinet, Susan, I just know I did.  Somebody must have moved it.”

He knew he sounded whiney.  He couldn’t help it.  It was almost time for his appointment with Mr Wyndham-Smythe, and if he didn’t have the file he would miss key points, and Mr Wyndham-Smythe was notorious for sacking his solicitors for the most minor of reasons.  Losing a file would probably result in a lawsuit.

“Tell me again where you put it.”

He sighed.  “In there,” he pointed once more at the offending cabinet.  “In the bottom drawer, in the section labelled ‘W’.”

“Hmm, but this was last Tuesday, wasn’t it?”

“…Yes?”

“So it should have been two drawers up, in the ‘T’ section.  The imps probably realised it was in the wrong place and re-filed it for you.”

Susan turned to the cabinet and riffled through the papers for a moment.  When she turned back she was clutching a file, bursting with papers.  She handed it to him with a despairing shake of her head.

“Really, Mr K, you should put some effort into learning the system.  Papers are filed under the letter of the day they were last accessed, except on weekends and bank holidays when they go to the previous Wednesday.  In each section they are organised alphabetically by the second letter of the client’s dog’s name, except if the client doesn’t have a dog, when they are filed by the last letter of the client’s surname.  It’s not that hard once you get used to it.”

John retreated into his office, resolved never to do any filing ever again.

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