Thursday, June 14, 2012


By Terry Godier

It was the third time this week. My hopes of skating out to an early dinner faded with each ring of the phone. The mound of papers in my inbox was climbing by the hour. There goes Thursday and probably most of Friday too. The desk I sit behind is located in the third corridor on the left off of the main entrance to the big brown Travel and Tourism Bureau building in Panama Square. That’s about as specific as I get. Specificity is a funny thing—the more specific something is, the more it feels like work. Then again, the more specific something is the more useful it probably is. Unless we’re talking about something that isn’t very important—then it’s just boring, or again, a lot like work. A lot of things are like work. Work is a lot like work for most people. Sometimes it is for me too.

As I mentioned previously (in fairly specific words, as I recall), I work for the Travel and Tourism Bureau down in Panama Square. I’m in charge of records for Sector 11.3 (the sector covering the milky way galaxy). I have a nice desk, a squeaky chair, a gossipy neighbor, and a bathroom within 12 paces. It’s perfect. What more could an alien of non-descript sexuality and unimagined laziness ask for? A more meaningful existence maybe, but who am I to complain?

“You ready Graff?”, Joran asks. He expects me to say no.

“Yeah, might as well”, I admit, just to spite him.

We reluctantly make our way to the ship and we’re airborne soon enough. Joran’s a great guy – well liked and as successful a pilot as we have. I’ve never met a person more afflicted with excellence in my life. It is because of this that I don’t like him.

We’re heading to a planet in my sector called Earth. They’ve got another would-be-successful attempt at time travel going through in a couple of days with an experimental particle accelerator (I’m not sure if they realize it’s time-active or not). Joran and I will make sure it’s not successful. If only the residents of Earth knew how many times they had come close to time travel. I’d like to tell them, “Yes, time travel is possible, but there’s just too much paperwork involved.” I wonder how they would take it.

O, think of all the paperwork! Form 1473, “Intent for Temporal Travel” has to be filed prior to the journey, which gets really confusing if it’s a past-time travel. In that case, technically the return journey would happen in some cases millions of years prior to the initial journey, or even the birth of the travelers. And yet, consider Voucher 3334, which must be initialed by each successive (or previous depending on the direction of travel) Custodian of Records for the Travel and Tourism Bureau. A daunting task, considering that even the custodian or clerk in charge of making sure the paperwork is initialed must file each applicable form for their form-related travel.

Paperwork is the scourge of my life. There’s nothing I love more than (not) working at the Bureau, and there’s nothing I hate more than paperwork. Can’t a guy be a simple custodian of records without doing so much paperwork?

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Terry is a budding writer and tech maven. Probably not in that order.

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