Thursday, April 12, 2007


The Vanishing

It began as a normal office; large windows and areas of sectioned flooring running the whole length the ground level, rooms set aside for the purposes of induction and basic training, with a main reception at the end of a long hall. All tables and chairs are cleared, replaced by hard wearing de-constructible types, easy to fix, looking just like the normal emptied out business spaces, now being been transformed for quite a different purpose. Squared intersections hide large winding snakes of packed electrical wire connecting to hidden cameras, security alarm systems and air conditioning units. They exit at flap-up electric socket covers every few meters. Water alarm sensors flash, remote controls beep, push button speakers are checked for use at entries and exits, and are all working well, ready to receive, to accept the first intake, the sixty odd people estimated to be travelling from all over the county that week.

Clients in their homes, nervous about the induction procedure, phoned in to check on the correct times; “no need to bring anything, just yourselves, alright Mr Hargreaves, Miss Plummory, Amy Inglewood, Trevor Harp, Billy Name, make sure you get here fifteen minutes early, it pays to be early.” The phone clunked down. A shrill shiver perhaps running down their spines, “that’s what they think, they think we’re just cattle to be herded around, prodded and poked around into stiles!”

“She, he, is for CDG!” ran the company saying. With quiet excitement, over the photocopier or printing machine, letting a laugh or a shared giggle mix with the mechanical paper shifter or the hoarse scanner repetitively etching A4 copies into the tray. The two women processing new applicants looked forward to the change of faces, the new clients for the corporation to guide towards righteousness, a valued place on earth. Satisfied in their world of official social security make believe, incarcerated high up there on the tenth floor of the work and pension’s administration office building. “Hey, look at him, do you think you’d give him’ a job - I wouldn’t give him a job (giggle), glancing at the latest mug shot to be positioned onto the A4 glass.

Certain people would disappear overnight from their homes. Nobody in the community knew where they went. “They’re not missed” neighbours would say. The T.V. news proudly proclaimed low government figures for the month. People were overlooked, not thought about, vanished from local towns and villages, sent to special camps, travel paid, told by officials that they are to receive special employment training. “Get there on time, don’t be late. We know you’re not used to getting up so early so remember to set your clock for nine. Time waits for no man; we'll give you extra money at a fixed rate.” The phone went down clunk.

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