On her first day back from vacation, she powered up her computer and found… the administrator had logged on while she was gone.
She worked in IT, so she knew that the administrator account allowed full access to the system, and almost anything could have been done to her computer while the administrator had been logged on: programs installed (or uninstalled), system settings changed, wallpaper or monitor settings, mouse movements reversed left-to-right… Literally, anything at all.
Her mind raced. Did she dare log in with her own account and brave whatever prank had been played on her? Or was there a more sinister reason for someone needing full access?
“Who logged on to my computer?” she shouted out over the cube walls. Expressions of surprise and denial came back from the team. And especially from me and Ken. Which caught her attention.
She launched herself up and out of her cube and bolted over to where Ken and I sat. “What did you do?” she accused us.
Ken started laughing. “Nothing!” I was able to keep a straight face, though it was obvious I was trying. “Maybe we had just logged on…” I trailed off, invitingly, suggestively, and suspiciously.
“I knew it!” she cried. “What was it? What did you do?” She had obviously drawn the conclusion that we were lying. When we repeatedly stated that we had done nothing at all to her computer, she did not believe us. Finally, resigned, she went back to log in and find out what cruel trick awaited her.
Her desktop looked the same… She poured through the Control Panel, looking to see if any suspicious programs had been installed. Nothing. She checked the task list; it all seemed normal. Her mouse moved as she expected. The system didn’t seem especially slow. Her home page in Internet Explorer was what she expected.
But there had to be something. She was sure of it. We wouldn’t be laughing so hard if there wasn’t something, right?
She spent the whole day using her computer carefully, as if it were a bomb about to go off. She insisted Ken and I had done something, over our protests. At one point her PC crashed and had to be rebooted; she suspected it had to do with what we had done, but nothing obvious linked a normal crash with any kind of prank.
She invested a lot of energy into looking for something that was not there.
Because, in truth, all I had done was log in as administrator… and log back out again. Her paranoia had done all the rest. I was being honest when I had implied we had just logged on.
It was the best prank I had ever pulled.