Scholars at market-tracking software firm eMarket Systems in Basingstoke are engaged in a lengthy, often rancorous debate about the repeated absences of sales executive Jason Bradshaw. Several are planning to rock conventional views of world history by publishing their findings.
Variously described as ‘a salad-dodging gobshite’, ‘not bad when he actually lifts the sodding phone’ and ‘a waste of space who looks like Shrek’, Bradshaw has been away from work for 75 of the 244 work days since joining the firm last autumn. He has generally attributed this to migraines, car breakdowns and relatives dying. However, senior accountant Nigel Clark, who first spotted Bradshaw’s propensity to returning unshaven, believes there may be more sinister causes.
‘Statistically, he is 43% more likely to be away one week either side of the full moon than the new moon,’ said Clark, author of the forthcoming 'Secrets of the Wolf People'. ‘Whether he is in a sinister cult that worships the Greek moon goddess Artemis or his migraines are caused by the tides I have yet to establish.’
Marketing executive Louisa Woods, by contrast, noted that Bradshaw’s chair on the fourth carousel from reception is situated where four ley lines cross. ‘The chair itself is jinxed by fluctuations in the Earth’s magnetic field and that’s why its previous occupant, sales manager David Peters, didn’t last,’ she wrote in her new book 'Fingerprints of the Druids'. ‘I never bought into the idea he was eased out for shagging my predecessor. That’s just what they want us to think.’
Other theories involve Bradshaw being in an al-Qaeda sleeper cell and a Masonic plot to destabilise eMarket Systems. However, research by company director Michael Higgin which is currently in proof at Sidgwick & Jackson found that monthly sales on Bradshaw’s patch have not varied in a statistically significant way for over four years, no matter who is meant to be selling there.
To Woods, though, this is no mystery. ‘Our products are adequate, so they sell themselves,’ she said. ‘And if they were significantly different to six or seven other equally adequate products in the same field, we wouldn’t need a sales and marketing department, would we? Duh.’