Red Tape

Author : A. Reynolds

The balding well aged man peered over the large desk as she entered. Looking over the woman wordlessly he turned to a screen and tacked at a keypad. After a minute of silence he turned back and sorted an indistinguishable pad from a pile of many more. He briefly scanned the contents before, eventually, turning to the now uncomfortable occupant of the sterile office’s only other chair.

“United Colonization has a legal duty to remain ethnically and culturally diverse, you are aware I am sure.” To kill any response he continued swiftly “Your records, unfortunately, show you’re failing to make sufficient contribution to your religious diversity. This is a matter we take very seriously.”

The woman bunched her fists instinctively “I know I haven’t attended temple in a while, but I’m still faithful, doesn’t that count for anything?”

The man frowned darkly “There is no point in lies. You have failed to partake in anything befitting your religion for a period of no less than a month. We’ve had POD’s on you for a while now. You will find the legal warrants on your card for you to look over, should you wish.”

The anger grew palpable as the assailed woman’s voice grew louder

“Damn right I wish! You must have messed up. I am devout. I live kosher. I do contribute to the diversity.”

“Kosher?” The man turned back to his screen.

“Don’t play a fool! If your little bots were watching me you’d know. I do contribute and I’ll take you to court if you say otherwise.” She rose from her seat and gestured at the mans back “I could go to temple more often perhaps, but I am quite devout. You’ve got the wrong person, I knew this was a mistake when I got the summons, my lawyer will… “

“You are Mrs Demsky.” The return of the flat emotionless voice stalled her and she sat again glaring. “Mrs Demsky, of 113 Landfall Plazas. Born, Barnum twelve three sixty, correct?”

She nodded once.

The man slowly smiled. “It seems there has been a misunderstanding.” The woman’s relief could not last in the uncaring gaze “You have been contributing to the wrong religion. Your records show you should be contributing to the Hindu faith.”

“But I’m Jewish” She faltered lamely, her anger now shattered in confusion “That’s, ridiculous”

“I am sorry. Our records seldom make errors. However, I will submit a report that states you have been misguided and will begin upholding your requirements from now on.” Smiling broadly the man filled his voice with mock warmth “If however you wish to make a change of religion you can find the proper forms at reception, I should warn, the Jewish sector is quite full at the moment.” The woman silently stared at him brows knitted in frustration “I’m afraid there is nothing else I can help you with.” Standing he gestured to the door. “Sudda sunaagan raho, Mrs. Demsky”

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