Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Vile Sins Of The Bureaucracy

"Have you seen my pen?" asked the Anti-Chaplain. "It was right here last night." He patted the right side of his desk, next to a stack of inmate request forms that teetered perilously close to the edge. This was a very special pen, a limited-edition Martini fountain pen with finely drawn Siamese cats lacquered down the body. It was a gift from his parents for graduating from seminary, a task they believed he might never accomplish. Damn public defenders, he thought.

"Sorry, no. And we're out of inkpads," the writer said to the Anti-Chaplain. "Do you want me to order some from state supply?"

The priest spun around in his chair, put his hands on his knees and leaned into the writer's face. "You're a college boy, right? You got a master's degree. How long have you been working with me? Don't you know the lay of the land yet? Nothing ever gets sent from state supply." The writer had a passing thought to tell the Anti-Chaplain about the Three Stages of Bureaucracy to prove that he knew exactly how the land lay, but he never got the chance. The priest kept up his monologue:

"Go ahead and fill out the requisition and send it in. That way, if anybody asks we can say we did what we were supposed to do. Meanwhile I'll come in early tomorrow morning before the start of AM shift and steal one from the case managers."

"Isn't stealing a crime and a sin?"

"No. Stealing is not the crime. The only crime we are guilty of is attempted efficiency. It's the most vile, mortal sin ever to be committed in a bureaucracy."

1 comment:

Emy L. Nosti said...

So, if I understand correctly, the writer is an inmate with a job (other than dog-washing)? Otherwise I must've missed something important.