Friday, August 13, 2010

Excerpt 5: From Chapter 5

The man behind the desk was very angry. Blake could not understand why. He had provided proof of lack of identity. His fingerprints were entered into a computer and even after several hours of searching the faithful machine had not been able to find a match. A man was dispatched to one of the central bureaucratic facilities with a photograph of Blake. There even larger, boxier, angrier, computers would be put to the task of finding out just who our young protagonist was at that very moment of his life. These advanced machines were programmed to spend eighty percent of their processing power searching for just who Blake had been, his schooling, his grades in school, any crushes on boys or girls in his class that he had ever had. What sort of macaroni he preferred to paste onto construction paper, or how he felt about the very thrilling sensation of making a clean cut through card stock with safety scissors. The computers began a thorough search through every disappointing prom date that had been registered in the last quarter century, because their programming (correctly) surmised that Thomas had:
A) gone to prom in the last quarter century and
B) had disappointed his semipopular date (who it turns out was Kathleen Watkins, a basketball cheerleader who hated Chemistry but loved Physics for obvious and unknown reasons respectively)

However the advanced alloys and super-cooled central processing units of the servers assigned to identifying this physically broken young man could not find the answer to this solution. As Thomas’s jaw had been broken in several places in the accident the current alignment of his teeth, indeed even his mandibles could not be identified from extant dental records. In fact this line of investigation was pointless because Thomas’s parents had never taken him to a licensed dentist. They had taken him to their good friend Montgomery Alberto Montenegro, or as he preferred Monty. Monty had lost his dental license as a young upright man in the late sixties. He was robbed of this important facet of his life by a lawsuit against a former jazz musician, who after years of playing hard bop and an even harder secret heroin addiction, was no longer susceptible to the effects of any of anesthetics in Monty’s arsenal, and therefore felt very abused after a triple root canal.
Monty had preformed all of Thomas’s dental work, taken every last x-ray, even cemented and wired the youth’s braces. He was by all accounts a hardworking and honest dentist. Indeed the very paragon of dentistry. However through the cruel twist of fate and a lost soul’s abuse of heroin Monty had only attended three annual Dentist conventions and was therefore largely out of touch with the latest in dental techniques and practices. So to the trained eye Thomas’s existing dental records looked much much older, as the hand that had guided and shaped the jaw had been out of touch with the newer techniques to quide and shape the proud square jaws of Americas youth. Thomas’s newly squared and solidified jaw now fell into step with those of his peers. Whereas before he had a thin intellectual jaw, he now had a firm bold lantern jaw.
After seventeen straight hours of the whole bureaucratic facility’s computers being dedicated to searching the vast and transient networks and databases that currently define our societies definitions of life and identity (well at least as far as death and taxes are concerned) Thomas Blake was declared a non-person. This was a unique situation, and the decision has been studied at many of the secret universities that secretly train the citizens who become bureaucrats. It is known as the Clarence Richmond Decision, after the person who invented the form that allowed what happened to legally take place. In case you are wondering the form is available government wide, indeed it can even be requested from the Fish and Game office. The reason is that each of these offices needs to recognize the validity of the form, and intra-office politics dictate that if two offices have the same form and they both recognize it as valid, then both should implement the form. In bureaucratic circles this is referred to as Building the Dam.

No comments:

Post a Comment