Every workplace has one. People will rarely venture there. The horrors it could bring is too great – but does anyone think about the opportunities a good database can bring?
“You can’t go in there; it’s not been touched in over a year!”
You look at your colleague and turn to the old and dilapidated property. Your colleague is quite an old lady, poor dear. The only ghost floating around this area is her.
Chuckling, you feel you should be kind to her, “More like ten years! Why don’t you whack the kettle on and I’ll be back before the next tea break?”
She scuttles off, muttering under her breath something about this new generation taking too many risks.
Sighing, you wander over to the front door. Once grand, it was the gateaway to customers. Now it stands as a gateway to the past, of bygones of millions of people over the many years. Feeling a bit embarrassed at being soppy over a door, you shove it open and of course it makes the creak that all ‘haunted house’ doors make. Typical.
“Bet my footsteps echo too” you say out loud. You’re not wrong. Congratulating yourself on the predictability of the property, you relax and have a nosey around. It must have been a grand place – it still has all the swooping staircases, the dusty chandelier and the creepy portraits that historians are so obsessed with.
It does however, strike you as odd that all the candles are lit. You shrug it off as the office’s over -zealous cleaner who always leaves the lights on. Except now they’ve gone out. You’re a bit panicked actually, there was about 50 candles in this room. A breeze? A hovel like this place must have lots of breezes. You make a note to yourself that clichés are used because people can relate to them.
Fishing for a torch, you’re presented with a red light in the corner of the hall.
What now! You think to yourself. Voodoo? Exorcism? Ouija? You haughtily wonder what the trickster has gone for.
Of course there’s no answer. You step closer to the light.
You spin round and there’s a figure behind you. Admittedly, he got you. Very funny joke. Hilarious in fact. Wonder how funny they’ll find it when you get HR involved.
“You don’t remember me?”
The figure comes more into the light. As your eyes adjust, there’s many more behind him.
“Nopes. Reveal yourself O mysterious one.”
It giggles and throws its head back. Rolling its neck back round it looks at you again.
“Don’t you remember… us?”
“N..no, I don’t.”
“You called us. You sold to us. We liked you but now we’ve passed away so you think keeping us will damage communications so you’ve come to hunt us down!”
Cackling, they race around you.
Deceased records. Of course they are.
The average database contains 1% deceased records. You reach for your suppressor.
“Oh I wouldn’t do that if I were you. We’re staying. You’ll be blacklisted and your reputation will be dragged through the mud. Sending mail to people who are no longer around! Ha! What sort of company does that?!”
“Not ours!” Slamming down your suppressor, you freeze the records as they try to escape, only their eyes moving in their frozen states. You smile a bit, James in technical did well with his gadget creation. One press of the button on the suppressor has the records dissolved into nothingness.
A new found confidence sweeps over you, like that time when nobody knew your manager was locked in the loo and you were given the reins for the rest of the day. This place has nothing on you, you spicy little warrior. You march on up the stairs, past the portraits and their forced smiles and sad eyes. The gallery has an ornate wooden banister and a view of the hall. You think it’s pretty cool and it’s got a good view to the front door – perfect for checking if whoever is at the front door is the pizza delivery man with his cheesy treasures.
Something catches your eye and you turn to have a look. Must be nothing, you shrug to yourself and look away. Another flicker, this time above you. Is your mind playing tricks on you? Are you actually going loopy in this place?
A tap on your shoulder makes you jump, but there’s nothing there.
“Goneaways and movers,” you say out loud. Jumping all over the place. One minute they’re there and the next, they’re somewhere else. Keeping track of where they are stops them from being so elusive. But in order to do that, you need to find out where they have gone.
You stand back and pull out your Screen of Location. Standing on the other side, you can see where the figures are through the screen. Quietly, you pull out your suppressor again and some of the figures start darting about. Slamming it down again freezes the goneaways. This is getting easy now, you think to yourself. In your other hand, you pull out your identifier and it starts flashing.
“Ahh so you’re the movers, I see. I’ll just update your records and you guys can be on your way.”
Easily done, yet again you think to yourself what the big hoo-ha was about ghostbusters and what your life could have been like if you’d gone after the spooky kind of ghosts and not as a Cleanser. Anyhow, it’s time for the goneaway suppression, they don’t need to be updated they just need to be removed.
A few zaps later and they’re gone. Okay, now for the final ones. These will be the most difficult Dupes. Or Duplications for you none cleansers out there. And you know exactly where to find them.
Moving on from the gallery, you reach (yet another) grand wooden door. There are of course some cobwebs and the notorious dust which has coated the brass handle, and pushing it up reveals a large room with sheets covering everything inside.
Tearing down the sheets reveals mirrors. Big, small, wide, narrow. Cracked, perfect, hanging, standing. Basically every type of mirror you can think of. The perfect spot for dupes to hide. There’s not even any point in creeping around because you know the dupes can already see you, you just need to spot one and then you’ll start noticing the others. You see, the problem with dupes is that they don’t like to be different, they love being the same. They take up so much space and are a right pain to find and sort out.
Out comes your Fuzzy Matching Tool, it looks pretty suave and you make another mental note to thank James in the technical department for developing it. He said it was a revolutionary tool and would ‘sort those dupes right out’. So here goes.
One press of the button emits a glow that expands until it covers the room. Sparks fly left, right and centre as the dupes race to avoid the field. Finally, you spot one which was too slow. “Ethel Marie Ingleberry” you whisper under your breath. She comes into view and the Fuzzy Matching Tool flashes and reveals the other dupes with a similar name – for example over there is Ethel M Ingleberry and above her is EM Ingleberry. She starts appearing in all of the mirrors, with so many different variations. But which is the original?
Out comes the de-duper and it selects the records and mashes them together. They all appear in one mirror and plenty of bright lights and weird noises later; you have one record with all the details merged into one larger view of the record. Ethel Marie Ingleberry fades from the mirror as she is moved to her rightful place.
Your Fuzzy Matching Tool has been busy selecting other dupes that need looking at, so you get on with your work with the others.
Sometime later, you retreat along the gallery and back down those beautifully ornate stairs. The hall looks cleaner and the dust has vanished. Pleased with yourself, you promise to cleanse this place more often – with databases decaying at approximately 10% annually, you know you or someone else will need to come back soon. Maybe even next time you can sort the records into proper profiles! So exciting.
But for now, you need to get back to your colleagues, the tea break is nearly over and you have one heck of a story to tell. Maybe next time you’ll just phone up Data8 and have their Cleansers do it all for you, but for now, the biscuits are calling.