The Task and Finish Group by Dan Harwood – Joint 3rd Place Lockdown Short Story

APRIL 15th 2020 1030-1100

Hi everyone! Hi Geoff, nice book case!

Thanks. Hi everyone, are we all OK?

Guys, Dave’s texted me – he hasn’t got a mike on his laptop so he’ll just be listening in.

Yeah, OK, I guess we can type in the chat box if we need to.

Hi, Sally here! I’m looking after my neighbour’s dachshund so there’ll be a bit of background noise…

That’s OK, Sal, just keep yourself on mute until you speak, OK?

How do I do that, Nancy? Sorry but I’m crap with tech stuff.

You see the microphone icon below your picture?

Wow this is cool, I’m on telly !! But God, my hair!! – it’s so wispy.

Sally, don’t worry, you look gorgeous.

I thought you didn’t have a mike, Dave!

Shit.. did you hear that? Apologies Sally, that was really inappropriate.

Mummy, where’s the rice cakes?

Put yourself on mute, please, Sal!

Woof! Woof!

Gerhard, naughty boy! sit!

Hi Guys, hope everyone’s well, Hugo here, I’m chairing…er, Dave can you put a t-shirt on or something? I mean I know its warm, but…

What, don’t say you can see me as well as hear me!

Yeah, that’s kind of the point Dave, anyway I thought you used to work in IT..

Yeah, but we always used Teams at Facebook, you need a business account to use Zoom properly.

Hi Dave, it’s Nancy, in the Guardian it says that you can get round that by opening one in your name and emailing out a business log on before each meeting….

Woof! Woof ! WOOF!

Gerhard, get OFF!!

Hi Sally, Nancy here, let’s try again with the muting, you see that little icon underneath your picture?

I can’t hear you, Hugo!

Look in the chat box Hugo! nobody can hear you.

I can hear him.

That’s strange. Claire. Have you got a Mac?

No I don’t use computers, I’m in the same room as him!

What? You’re with Hugo? I had no idea you guys were…

We’re not, I just came round to deliver his shopping- he’s socially isolating

Then why are you in his house?

And how come we can hear you but not him?

Who cares? Can we just get on with the meeting, I’ve got to go at 1030..

OK guys, Hugo here. Can all those who can’t hear me put something in the chat box…. Yes OK, I can see Dave’s replied, very funny Dave.

I don’t have a chat box so I’ll just email you. Is it OK if I email you on my phone, Hugo?

He can’t hear you!

Yes I can – but some of you can’t hear me- and can you all just use the chat box please?, I haven’t got time to be faffing round with emails, this is bloody complicated enough as it is..

I just said I don’t have a chat box..

Hi Sarah, Nancy here, I’ll help you with the chat box- are you using a Mac or an ordinary PC?

No idea , I’ve just borrowed my son’s laptop..

Has it got an apple on it?

It’s an apple on the lid – I think its an apple..

OK – what’s on your screen?

A girl..with not many clothes might be a pop singer. Is it Justin Timberlake’s wife? Might be..

OK, cool.. so close that window….

Hi Hugo here, Sarah, can you and Nancy take your conversation off line? We need to start.

Have I got time to make a coffee?

What’s he saying?

He said has he got time to make a coffee.

No, not him, Hugo..

He’s saying we’re going to start and can we all hear him.

No we bloody can’t hear him- tell him we can’t hear him.

I could hear him but now I can’t.

Hang on , he’s put something in the chat box, it says “I’ve accidentally put myself on mute, does anyone know how I unmute myself?”

Nancy does, I think she was explaining to Sally earlier.

Nancy, are you there?


She’s gone.

Her picture’s still there.

Yeah, but she’s gone.

Sally, what did Nancy say about how to mute yourself?


Mummy! Gerhard has eaten Timmys’ rice cakes…

Anyway, how is everyone?

Yeah, cool.. fine thanks Sally – its just weird isn’t it?

What is?

Well, all the stuff with the virus

It’s not a virus is it?, it’s a bacteria

Geoff, don’t you ever watch the news?

Well sometimes.. anyway I can’t see what’s weird about a bacteria and people watching TV – that’s just boring. If there were tiny green bison on trampolines at every street corner, that would be weird.

Come on Geoff you’ve got to admit this is totally unprecedented ..

One thing it is not is unprecedented, it is totally precedented, and its not weird

Hugo here- sorry about that, I’m back. Can everyone hear me now?

HI Hugo- yeah I can hear you fine- but it’s a bit bizarre because all I can see is Justin Timberlake’s naked wife

Can we all see her? Do a screen share, Sally! Go on!

How do I do that, Dave?

No idea, Nancy’ll know… Nancy?

Hi! I’m back – just had to go for a wee, sorry! too much information, anyway, yeah.. if you want to do a screen share that’s easy. Have you got a Mac, Sally?

No, its quite small, an iPad I think

OK fine. At the bottom of your screen there should be a little green box with an “up” arrow..

Look, we really should be getting on with this now – can you all hear me?

Sorry guys I need to go, my nanny’s come round to deliver some fruit..

My on line fist pumping class has started so I better scoot too…

Stay safe everyone! Bye!

That was fun guys! When’s the next one?

I’m still waiting for your screen share, Sally

Mummy! Mummy! Gerhard has eaten daddy’s granola and done a big POO!

Meeting adjourned 10:45