Dave Peterson sat on the sofa in his living room, drumming his fingers on his laptop as he waited for his work Zoom meeting to start. Dave was a technician at Banana, the biggest technology company in the UK and the second biggest in the world behind Apple, he job involved coming up with new innovative pieces of technology and then designing them.
Usually, Dave worked in an office near the top of a skyscraper in central London. It was a nice, spacious office all to himself, with a large window overlooking London so he could look down and see any terrorist attacks happening nearby if he was bored. But the COVID-19 lockdown meant that he’d have to make do with his equally nice living room in the most desirable house in the most affluent village in England.
The Peterson’s lived in No. 1 Economy Drive, it was less of a house and more of a 15th Century manor. Not only did it have a very large front garden with a secret path that led into the main village, but it was also adjacent to Lower Strangling Botanic Garden which the Peterson’s pretended was their back garden.
Sitting next to Dave, his wife Sarah Peterson was busy typing out her latest Guardian article on which world leader was the most idiotic; Donald Trump or Boris Johnson, with a small section about why woman made better world leaders. For Sarah, all the lockdown meant was that she saw more of Dave and her two children; Will and Eleanor, as she worked from home anyway. For her the only downside was that she couldn’t go to the Hangman’s Noose, the local pub, for a pint as it was currently closed.
“Dave, good morning”, said Noah Campbell, CEO of Banana. He was a bit like Steve Jobs if Steve Jobs was played by Hugh Bonneville in a biopic.
“I see that I am the first one to the meeting”, said Dave.
“Indeed you are, but I’m sure the others will arrive shortly”, Noah replied.
Noah then noticed Sarah sitting next to Dave, who wasn’t entirely hidden from Dave’s webcam.
“Is that Sarah I see?”, asked Noah. Sarah leaned in so she was visible in the webcam,
“It is, hello Noah.”, Sarah replied before she resumed her Guardian article.
Just then, Liam Davies; another Technician at Banana and a friend of Dave’s, entered the Zoom meeting.
“Alright, Noah?”, Liam asked Noah.
“I’m fine, thank you, how are you?”, replied Noah.
LI’m alright, mate, I’m alright”, Liam responded, “the lockdown isn’t treating me too harshly.”
“That’s good to hear”, answered Noah. Liam then noticed Dave.
“Morning, Davvy boy. How’s things in that village of yours?”, he said.
“They’re as well as they can be during this time”, answered Dave.
Dave, Liam, and Noah carried on chatting whilst they waited for their other colleagues to arrive.
Ten minutes later and the Banana meeting was well underway, with everyone coming up with new innovative ideas that would finally make Banana overtake Apple as the worlds leading technology company in the world.
After a few dud ideas including a tennis ball that automatically detected the opponents tennis racket so that it always hit both rackets without moving off to the side and a pen that corrected it’s own mistakes, the team decided to give the go ahead to Michael Thompson’s idea of a ring that could be used to make every day tasks easier, such as opening doors and paying for things. The ring was known as the eThompson as every piece of tech designed by Banana was named after the person who came up with the idea.
Before the meeting ended, Noah told everyone else the notices. “Unfortunately, as Eurovision has been cancelled this year, we won’t be having our annual Eurovision party”, Noah announced, “but, if you’d like, we could have a virtual party and I could sing classic Eurovision hits such as Brotherhood of Man’s Save Your Kisses For Me”.
“You can’t sing that anymore, mate”, replied Liam.
“Why ever not?”, inquired Noah.
“It’s about a paedophile, innit?”, Liam answered. The other colleagues sighed angrily, Liam had got the wrong end of the stick again.
“How on earth is Save Your Kisses For me about a paedophile?” Noah asked.
“Because for the whole song it’s implied he’s singing to his wife or his girlfriend before he leaves the house, right? But at the end he sings ‘even though you’re only three’ meaning that he’s dating a three year old, the disgusting pervert”, replied Liam.
Some of Liam’s colleagues sighed exasperatedly whilst others left the meeting altogether, not having time for this.
“What?” questioned Liam, “it’s obvious, innit? Martin Lee has trapped a three year old in his basement and is saying goodbye to her before he leaves and kidnaps more children.”
“Peter Sutcliffe”, suggested Giles.
“Exactly, mate, exactly, it’s about Peter Sutcliffe”, Liam responded.
By now, only a handful of people were still on the Zoom meeting.
“He’s clearly saying goodbye to his daughter before he goes off to work, like you must do”, explained Noah, not in the mood to have his favourite song ruined by an employee.
“Then that’s even worse, he’s an incestuous paedophile”, replied Liam.
Liam’s other colleagues groaned once more.
“Goodbye, Liam”, Noah said as he finally officially ended the meeting.
Dave sighed a sigh of relief, the meeting had finally finished.
LGot a bit heated at the end there, didn’t it?” asked Sarah.
“Yeah, it did. I’m just glad we weren’t all in the same room”, Dave responded.
He sighed again before going to the kitchen to make lunch.
After lunch, it was time for the Village Council Zoom meeting. Dave once again drummed his fingers on his laptop, waiting for the meeting to begin.
This time he was joined by his daughter, Eleanor, because she felt that the Village Council would be more exciting than the homework she was being made to do.
A few moments later, the Village Council appeared on screen, made up of Dave, John, Robert, Paul, Hans, Janet, and Bruce, with the Rev Simon Abernathy as the Council chairman.
“Well, everyone, how are you doing?”, began Simon.
The other councillors and Eleanor all told Simon that they were fine.
“Is Eleanor joining us today, Dave?”, Simon asked.
But before Dave could answer, Eleanor did instead, “yes, because I think it will be more interesting than geometry.”
“Oh, right, ok.”, chuckled Simon, before the meeting officially began.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown, there wasn’t much to discuss other than how the lockdown was affecting village income and tourism, and which village events would have to be cancelled.
“Unfortunately, the Lower Strangling Village Fete will have to be cancelled this year, as I don’t think we can do it whilst complying with social distancing regulations.”
The other councillors all groaned, as the Village Fete was the village’s main source of income.
“The upkeep of the pub is mostly bought using income made from Village Fete meal bookings”, proclaimed John, “this is a serious setback.”
“I know, John, I know, but if it helps I’m sure we can use some of the church collection to pay for the upkeep.”, reassured Simon.
“And I’m willing to donate some of my salary if that helps”, Dave said.
“Thanks, Dave, appreciate it.”, John replied.
The Village Council meeting continued, most of what was discussed was how the village would eventually readjust after lockdown.
All in all, the meeting was less eventful than the Banana one, but Dave was fine with it.
The council then sang a drunken rendition of Jerusalem (something of a Lower Strangling anthem due to it’s connections with Joseph of Arimathea), said goodbye, and left the meeting.
Dave sighed. “Well, Eleanor, how was your first Village Council meeting?”, he asked his daughter.
“It was a bit boring, to be honest. Maybe geometry would have been a better choice”, Eleanor replied.
Dave chuckled, and then went with Eleanor to the kitchen to make the evening meal after a busy and exhausting day of Zoom meetings.