It was with great shock that my dinner team of me (dieso), Adam (sparkie) and Clint (comms tech) welcomed a newcomer to the table several weeks ago. Young Zac Alderman, one of our sparkies who usually sits at the far end of the arrangement had come to sit with us.
'What’s he doing here?' we all pondered as we sat quietly staring at the condiments tray. We like Zac, but it was such a leap to go from one end of the table setup all the way down to the other in one move, ‘what happened up there?' we thought, ‘did someone upset him?' ‘Is it to do with the low sun shining through the windows and maybe hitting him?'.
Finally it became too much for us to bear and one of us spoke, I can’t even remember who it was now, but I don’t think I will ever forget the conversation that followed…
'Zac, welcome to the area’ was the first statement uttered as we attempted to break the ice. ‘Thanks mate it’s great to be here’ he replied enthusiastically. Although he appeared quite content on the outside, it seemed as though something was nagging at him deep down, we probed deeper hoping for answers ‘so what brings you down this end?' asked Clint.
If only we knew what he was going to say next… maybe we could have just left it alone and everyone would be OK.
Zac looked at Clint blankly, then replied ‘someone sat in my seat'.
In an instant, and as a team that’s been sitting together in peace for some time now, myself, Adam and Clint were all plunged into a state of shock.
'How could this happen’ we thought collectively.
What do you even say to that?
'Well don’t worry Zac, it hasn’t gone unnoticed’ I said as a burning desire for vengeance built up inside me. The same emotion poured across the whole dinner team like a volcano exploding into life.
We are only three blokes, we are by no means any kind of peace keeping force, but something had to be done, and since we didn’t know who was responsible for the attack on Zac, we would begin a great offensive, the cold Antarctic sting of which the entire station would inevitably feel…
'Operation Tango’ was born!
The plan was simple; take every single person at Casey station’s seat and don’t let up until they had all experienced the anguish poor Zac felt that fateful night. The trickery was in the execution, we began as Clint, Steve, Adam, then the following night it went Steve, Adam Clint, then after that was Adam, Clint, Steve, we simply leap–frogged each other so that people wouldn’t notice that we were making our way around the tables. It worked perfectly to disguise what we were doing until we got to Linc’s seat, he didn’t take it well that someone had taken his spot.
No one knew why we were doing it, and they still don’t know, the station will find out when they read station news and read this story. As far as they can tell we have no reason to be doing what we are.
Ricky was next.
The attack on Ricky’s seat was comparable to actual warfare as the team struggled to stay together under the immense flak that was coming our way, by day two we had to resort to coming in for dinner 10 minutes early so we could get in before he had a chance to counter us. Jimbo was the next great hurdle in our quest for justice, with quite possibly more resistance than Ricky, he was definitely more vocal anyway.
Then we came to Ducky’s seat, up until now we were operating with pure ferocity, and feeling absolutely no remorse for what we were doing as we genuinely believed our cause to be righteous.
Ducky is the kind of guy who is always happy, is always really willing to lend a hand (he is responsible for the completion of about half the stations midwinters gifts this year with all the help he gave people, myself included). He just makes people happy when he’s around, even when things aren’t going well for him he stays positive and happy, and he’s the kind of person who would never want to do anything if it would upset anyone, and here we are, three of his so called mates about to steal his seat for what he thinks is no reason.
He begged us not to do it for the two days prior to his turn, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. The day finally came, and we sat in his seat, or rather I sat in his seat, in retaliation he simply moved to the opposite seat in the arrangement so essentially the same spot just on the other side. I felt horrible, how could I sit there and claim that what we were doing was justified when we’re doing things so terrible to people so nice?, Operation Tango hasn’t felt the same since the battle for Ducky’s seat, however it must go on…
Zac was next in line, back in his usual place, we had to plan carefully and go around Zac, since he was the only real innocent in all of this, there was an outcry of course as nobody knew he had anything to do with any of it and suddenly it appeared he did, but nobody has given him any grief over our leniency towards him (luckily for them).
Operation Tango continues to rage on, and we currently have about 7 seats to go before we are home again to our usual spot but I think the worst is behind us now, all things going well we should be done in another week or two, then everyone can get back to being mates again and not stealing each others seats.
I just hope the lesson for everyone wasn’t lost in the anarchy.