It is always a thrilling experience to walk in front of your manager's cubicle and find it empty. The Boss is not home! I can do anything! I can sit down on his chair and change its height! I can mess around with his monitor settings!

Well, that's me anyway.

A few months ago, we had an ant problem at the office. Little Bernie spent the better part of the previous day walking around eating Oreo cookies, leaving a trail of cookie droppings all over the place. A few weeks before that the company had decided that to save costs they would get janitorial services to vacuum only twice a week. Little Bernie's Day of Cookies was not one of those two days. The next day, the office was crawling with ants. Ants walked over keyboards and monitors, between unfinished reports. Some of them had formed a committee and were preparing a demonstration, or so I was told. We asked my manager if he could get somebody to deal with the ant problem. First, he ignored us. After enough complaints, he said that we shouldn't worry, because he'd recently seen a documentary in the Discovery Channel that explained that ants migrate according to their food reservoirs, so we only needed to wait until the cookie-crumble supply was exhausted.

Great idea, I know.

Somebody asked if he was sure it had been the Discovery Channel and not The Cartoon Network. He said No, he was sure. End of conversation.

Later that day, I happened to walk past his cubicle. It was empty. I was coming back from the kitchen, and I had a bundle of sugar packets in my hand. Opportunity only knocks once, they say. So I did what I had to do.

I sprinkled his keyboard with sugar. I sprayed sugar over his chair, even, thank God for fabric-covered chairs. I left a sugar trail between the keyboard and one of the infested spots. Then I went back to my cubicle, and waited.

Nobody heard him complain or comment on it, but before the day was over a Pest-Control company was on-site, ready to act. When we left for the day, they got to work. The fumes could be toxic, so we all worked from home the next day. That is, we all got one-day vacations, with pay.

After that, the ant problem seems to recur with strange frequency. Particularly around my manager's cubicle.

This time, as I walk past it, no urges overtake me. No back-pay owed. No acrimonious assignments to avenge. I walk past, and when I reach my cubicle I look at the trashcan to see if the mysterious package I received earlier is still there. It is.

Time to unleash my detective spirit.