magic wandless

kafka_weber_bureaucracy640x617 photo kafka_weber_bureaucracy640x617_zpscb5caf03.png

IMAGE CREDIT: Bureaucracy illustration – author Franz Kafka and sociologist and founder of bureacuracy research Max Weber from Harald Groven’s Flickr photostream


After over an hour flipping through paperwork in his cramped office, the drone discovered an impasse and broke the bad news in a matter-of-fact fashion. He’d been wanting to get us out of his “closet” even before we got there, even before his previous appointments got there, even before he left home that morning for his drudge job; and yet, each finished appointment meant another hour closer to the time he could leave for the day and fill his enormous belly with brimming pints of ale and mounds of chips and pork pies.


He was a massive, joyless shell of a man, the daily grievous conflict of bad-for-good having gouged a hole in his spirit big enough for his soul to escape through. The gravity of processing human cattle all the days of his adult life was pulling at his brows and drawing his jowls earthward. He seemed not even to enjoy the immense power he held over us, two members of the tempest-tossed. He had been too long a servant of the Father of Exiles who had understandably grown more paranoid and defensive with every ambush, shelling, and suicide bombing.


The drone would have discovered the impasse in the first few minutes of our appointment if he’d read the cover letter that I’d pushed across his desk along with the other paperwork, but he was so absent of mind that he just went along with his ruler and markers and pens and the ticking off of steps on his checklist. It was so mesmerizing, his methodical movements, that we were cast adrift along with him. My thoughts floated toward the surreal and I saw human lives as tragedies and comedies played out on the stage of capitalism.


The curtain opened on an empty stage.  The backdrop was a gargantuan rendering of Earth nearly entirely covered with cracked, grey asphalt, and in a tiny, far-off land there was lush greenery and warm, turquoise waters.  A few round-shouldered people dressed in grey uniforms trudged across the stage, and as more and more entered, a backdrop of a great grey block of a building dropped down from the flies.


The building sat on two thirds of the asphalt and its many doors were gaping shark jaws through which the round-shouldered peoples of the world disappeared to sit behind grey desks under buzzing fluorescent lights and count the hours of the days, of the weeks, until such time as they could count the currency rewarded them for doing jobs not well liked or done. Their only respite was a half-hour lunch and two, fifteen minute breathers per day in break-rooms with tiny portholes with views of the far-off land.


I caught myself desperately squinting to see what went on in the lush lands, blinking and squinting and leaning forward as far as I dared, and I thought I could make out what looked like sunny islands and beautiful people with glowing tans bathing in fountains of youth and sunning on the decks of sailing yachts and toasting each other on castle balconies with Dom Perignon White Gold Jeroboam—


The drone uttered an emotionless apology laced with impatience and I went home to fill out another form, a different form, to stay up until four in the morning so that I could get it postmarked in time, so that I could stay in the bone-chilling drizzle another two years. Oh but it’s a lovely, bittersweet chilling in the knowing that there is no magic wand, but magic can be made if we care enough to make it.




Click here for more on prompt “#387 – Currency” from other Sunday Scribblings participants.


4 Responses to “magic wandless”

  1. September 16, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Dear Franz..and Dear Ms Z..so good to read your world..any form is worth filling if it leads to magic..we can jump through hoops..then turn back and shot them off the post like a tin can..

    • 2 zanzinece
      September 16, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      Exactly. The ol’ Burroughs treatment will be our plan, and if we encounter the Ugly Spirit, we’ll write our way out!
      So good to see you here, Jae, I’ve had to hunker down, just coming out, will send you words as soon as I’m able : )

  2. September 16, 2013 at 10:21 am

    a little sad.. but the last line ‘there is no magic wand, but magic can be made if we care enough to make it’ makes up for it.. love this last line

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