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Author Nonimportant (Works) is fine with any constructive edits you wish to make to this literary work.



“Name?”

“14235.56767-4321...oh, sorry, you said name? That was my identification number…”

“I noticed.”

“…can we start over?”

“No need for that, sir. Extensive governmental investment on the training of our bureaucratic class has allowed most of us to know the difference between a name and an identification number in at least eighty percent of times, and stop ourselves from inadvertently writing it down sixty percent of times.”

“Well, better still. So, my name is…er…”

“Is there a problem, sir?”

“No…it’s nothing. It’s just…the pressure. I can’t remember things under stress, calm down, it’s on the tip of the tongue…”

“…”

“…”

“…Well?”

“I seem to have a slight problem remembering my name, the ID number is so much more practical, you know.”

“I understand.”

“I mean, no one ever asked my name before just now…not that I can remember, at least. Perhaps in that party at 76854.34453-7654’s house…I mean…Fred’s house. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it was Fred. Anyway, you can see I am not a mindless idiot, I am completely capable of remembering names, it’s just that this particular name eludes me just now.”

“Well, sir, I am unable to proceed without…”

“No, don’t you worry. I will remember it eventually; just give me a little more time, thinking under pressure is not easy, okay?”

“But sir, you must understand, there is a line behind…”

“Look, can’t you just accept my ID card as proof that it’s me? I can recite the number without looking, it’s 1423…”

“I am sorry sir; this is a procedure to renew that same ID card, were I to accept that, I would risk fraud, you understand.”

“My good woman, I am not a fraudulator! I merely forgot a fact of small importance. Believe me, my name is absolutely worthless, I received it for free from my parents, and any value is purely sentimental.”

“I understand your predicament, sir, but I cannot help you. Maybe you could leave the line and come back when you remember?”

“Oh I am not going through that line again, I assure you! Also, I am quite sure my name starts with a D…or maybe a P, those consonants are awfully similar.”

“Indeed they are, but the people behind you did not receive the extensive training in patience all the bureaucratic employees received in our six months training programme, and I can assure you, based on that same programme, that they will soon reach critical levels of frustration.”

“There must be an alternative ritual of sorts I can undergo to receive my renewed ID card! I simply must have it! I cannot function without an ID card, you must understand. They make it all so easy and practical!”

“Indeed they are a marvel of modern science in service of mankind. Perhaps we could try asking some other basic personal data, and hope that this aids your memory?”

“Yes, of course! Anything!”

“Gender?”

“Is gay a gender?”

“…I don’t think so, the form only has two little squares, one has a little M beside it and the other has a P...oh, no, wait, that’s an F…I think I need glasses.”

“Well, just curious. Male then.”

“The little M?”

“Yes, the little M.”

“Nobody ever calls it male, nice knowing the thing’s name.”

“Occupation?”

“Former system analyst.”

“Former system analyst? That’s not an occupation. You mean unemployed?”

“No, I mean former system analyst. People make fortune with seminars when they are former politicians and former businessmen. I want in…the geriatric club near where I live even invited me for one once, but old people scare me.”

“Alright then…age?”

“Hmm…put thirty eight there.”

“…sure…name?”

“Fa…no, that wasn’t it. Maybe Dio…no no no…Damn! It was on the tip of my tongue!”

“I am sorry, sir, but if I can’t be sure who you are, then I can’t help you.”

“But, ma’am, does any of us truly know who we are?”

“Yeah. I’m a public servant. Nothing more than a faceless, bland, public servant. Sometimes when the nights are moonless and a lay in my bed unable to sleep, I think that maybe it’s all a sham and if I should just take the goddammed pills and be done with it. Maybe the pills will fill this emptiness that I feel inside. Deep inside. Can I help you with anything else, sir?”

“…so maybe I can get myself another name? I mean, you also register names here, don’t you? Maybe I could become something like Jay Pinto…or Klamahrzv! Or…Kin Gen Bun Jai! Now that would be really…”

“We do register names here, sir…ID number?”

“I thought you’d never ask! 14235.56767-4321!”

“Gender?”

“The little M.”

“Age?”

“…put…thirty two on there.”

“Can I see your ID?”

“Here it is.”

“Well, I’m sorry, but apparently it has expired. You could always apply for a new one. Thanks to recent advances in information technology, the whole process will not take more than twenty minutes.”

“Well, I suppose so…”

“Well, here’s your expired ID card. Let me just take the form here…”

“hm...hmhmhmmm...Lalala…lalala, la, la, la, la…LA! LA! LA! Lalalalala! LALALA!!!”

“Caham...”

“Oh, sorry...it’s a catchy tune.”

“Well, let’s start with the ID renewal process. I’ll ask some personal information to confirm your identity.”

“Go ahead.”

“Name?”

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