Planet of the Bureaucrats, Part III


In our last episode: Henderson Mayor Clem Seifert lay recovering in a cage from a neck wound that was the result of being caught in a politician hunt by city employees. Although he is given the company of a voluptuous, full-figured politican whom Seifert calls “Emma”, he overhears that he is to be infortituded by order of Dr. Zollicoffer. Rather than be forced to firmly commit to any particular point of view, he bursts forth from his confinement and goes on a rampage through downtown Bureaucrat City. It is only when he is recaptured that the shocking truth of his ability to speak is learned.

Scene 8

Seifert: (Sitting on the floor of his cell, facing Emma.) Em-ma. Come on, say it. Em-ma. (He sighs.) You’re not like the politicians that I knew back home. Back home, there was a lot of talking, but no one really said a whole lot, and they did less. I wonder… I wonder if you and I could forge a new city council, one that would act instead of re-act…

(Emma forces a patronizing smile at Seifert.)

Clem: Look! I’ve taught you smile insincerely! It’s the first step!

(Three civil servants approach Seifert and Emma’s cell. Seifert rises to confront the threat, but he is promptly covered by a gun that pins him to the wall with cassette tapes. The other two civil servants leash Emma and drag her to the cage opposite of Seifert’s.)

Seifert: It’s worse than a madhouse! It’s a council meeting! A city council meeting!

Civil Servant with Cassette Gun: Quiet, you political freak! (The civil servant gives Seifert an extra blast before leaving.)

Seifert: (Seifert looks longingly at Emma in the cage across from him.) Now I don’t even have you.

Scene 9

(Seifert is dragged into a courtroom and deposited roughly on the floor. A bureaucrat makes the courtroom ready by depositing documents at the seating positions around them room. Dr. von Williams and Dr. Gister enter the room and go to the defendant’s table.)

Seifert: Where have you been? Why didn’t you come to see me?

(Gister and von Williams look at each other.)

von Williams: We don’t like you.

(At that moment, the presidents of the hearing enter. The prosecutor follows after them.)

Bailiff: All rise for the honorable Dr. John Miles, Dr. John Zollicoffer, and the especially honorable Rev. Dr. C.J. Dale! This tribunal is now in session, the Rev. Dr. Dale presiding! Be seated.

(The presidents take their seats. Seifert is forced to remain standing.)

Dale: Let us say the Pledge of Allegiance that our Lawgiver, Lewis Edwards, has commanded.

Miles: Amen!

All: (Except Seifert.) We pledge allegiance to the flag of our beloved Bureaucrat City, and to the unique narrow-frame world view for which it stands, one city, accountable to no one, over-emphasizing religion, with Alive after Five for all.

Miles: Advocate Sara Coffey will present for the prosecution.

Dale: Amen!

Coffey: It is alleged that Dr. Gister, Chief of Speed Hump Research for the Academy, obtained a vocal apparatus from Dr. von Williams, Senior Researcher of Fertilizer Application, and transplanted it into this politician, Baby Cakes, giving him the power of speech.

Seifert: Nonsense. There’s another like me who was captured in the hunt. His name is Wester.

Dale: Let us go look for this Wester.

Miles: Amen!

Scene 10

(The court is assembled at the site of the old Vance Hotel. Several politicians are gathered, guarded by bureaucrats armed with adhesive tape dispensers and full pads of Post-It notes.)

Zollicoffer: Do you claim kinship with any of these politicians?

(Seifert surveys the politicians. He spots Wester and goes over to him.)

Seifert: Wester, it’s me, Seifert. Wester!

(Wester stands mute and staring. Seifert shakes him, to no good effect.)

Zollicoffer: Was brain surgery performed on him?

Seifert: No. He was pretty much always like that.

Scene 11

(The participants in the trial have returned to the courtroom.)

Gister: I have a theory that bureaucratic civilization was preceded by another civilization, possibly led by politicians. In the Eeteejay, in a building with innumerable code violations, I found evidence of a culture that predates the Giving of the Law by Lewis Edwards.

Miles: You went to the Eeteejay without armed escort?

Dale: Amen!

Gister: I went with the permission of the Ministry of Speed Humps, that is.

Zollicoffer: He exceeded his ordinance and was recalled immediately.

Coffey: Let us expose this hoax by direct examination.

Dale: Very well, Advocate. But do not turn this hearing into something other than a farce.

Miles: Amen!

Coffey: Baby Cakes, how many politicians does it take to change a light bulb?

Seifert: I know nothing of your jokes. I haven’t seen an email in 2,000 years!

Coffey: You do not know because you have no fortitude! (Pause.) Tell me, Baby Cakes, what the City Fee is on the vehicle tax.

Seifert: Well, there used to be this tag, or was it a sticker…

Coffey: You do not know because this divine mystery exists only in the bureaucratic brain! Bah! I rest my case. He can bail himself out.

Dale: Given the lack of corrobative evidence, Baby Cakes is hereby found guilty of politicking.

Miles: Amen! And further, Drs. Gister and von Williams are hereby charged with bureaucratic incompetence.

Dale: Amen! The politician Baby Cakes is to be transferred to the custody of the Ministry of Fertilizer for experimental research.

Miles: Amen!

(The Bailiff leashes Seifert and drags him away.)

Seifert: You’re afraid of me! You’re afraid of me and you hate me, but I ran unopposed! What are you afraid of?

Can Clem avoid the fate that the bureaucrats have in store for him? Find out in the exciting conclusion of Planet of the Bureaucrats!