The Agency

Now I realize that a lot of people will say this is all my imagination, but I’ve noticed over the years that, inevitably, whenever I’m trying to get anywhere in a hurry, all kinds of irritating and aggravating events will occur which will keep me from arriving wherever I’m going on time.

Consequently, I’ve become convinced that somewhere out there there’s a covert government agency known as the Bureau of Irritation and Aggravation that coordinates all these supposed coincidences when their agents discover some poor, hapless soul desperate to get somewhere in a hurry.

The agency then swings smoothly into action:

“Ferguson, this is dispatch! ”

“Yes, sir.”

“What have you got available quick? We’re getting reports of a guy here who’s got a job interview in 45 minutes.  He badly needs that job and he’s late because he couldn’t find his keys, then he spilled coffee on his best suit, then his car wouldn’t start, so he’s driving his son’s 2003 low-rider with the faulty transmission and the bumper sticker that says “Question authority.”

“Good target selection, sir!”

“Ferguson, you’re a shameless suck-up.”

“I certainly am, sir. Well said!”

“Shut up, Ferguson.”

“Yes, sir.”

“So what have  you got?”

“Well, sir, I’ve got a a school bus manufactured in 1975 that carries about 150 kids packed in like bubble wrap. I think I can guarantee that it will stop every 20 feet along its route to let kids on and off, taking about 10 minutes each time.”

“Not bad. Not bad. Anything else?”

“Yes, sir We’ve also got a 15 year old beginning driver who’s never driven outside his driveway, but has still managed to cause $10,000 worth of property damage and cripple the family dog.  This will be his first venture onto the roadways.”

“Better still.  Any more?”

“One more, sir. We have a convoy of 15 enormous county highway mowing machines. It should be impossible to pass all of them without at least a solid mile of unobstructed straightaway. ”

The Dispatcher chuckles menacingly. “And I just happen to know there is no such straightaway along his entire route.”

“Yeah, just happen to know! Good one, sir!” Chuckle! Inhale! Snort! Snort! Chuckle! (Sound of nasal discharge)


“Yes, sir.”

“Shut up!”

“Yes, sir.”

“And get me all those resources over here right now by the usual means.”

“You mean the secret special means by which we can transfer slow moving traffic over hundreds of miles if necessary in a matter of seconds to obstruct people in a hurry no matter where they are, and return said slow traffic without anyone being the wiser?”

“Ferguson, keep your voice down!” The Dispatcher is whispering now. “You know we don’t talk about ‘the secret’ even within the Agency!”

Ferguson reflexively contracts his fat little body. “Of course, sir! I’m sorry! It won’t happen again!”

“Well it had better not!” the Dispatcher hisses. ‘Now let’s get this mission done! Do you read me, Mister?”

“Sir, yes, sir!”replies Ferguson, and the Dispatcher hears the phone click off. He leans back in his reclining, leather bound executive chair and, sighing with nervous anticipation, turns toward his desk. He waits only a surprisingly short time before he reaches out to push a large, red button. Then, above his head on his 100 inch HDTV, the Agency’s super-secret high-resolution satellite offers him a perfect, real-time view of his “client” approaching a line of almost immovable traffic, stretching away out of sight like a gigantic gray snake.

He places both hands behind his head and smiles. “Good job, Ferguson,” he says softly to himself. “Good job.”














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