Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Bureaucrat and the Monster

An innocent bureaucrat, Tom,
had a job that was easy and calm.
He spent his days musing,
approving, refusing,
and losing forms complex and long.

Last Tuesday one form caught his eye.
"Please help me," it read. "Don't ask why.
I'm trapped in a cave
and I need to be saved
from the monster who's sitting nearby."

Tom sat at his desk and debated.
Be a hero, as it seemed he was fated?
Or stay at his desk,
safe from the grotesque,
until this odd feeling abated?

Just then a new email arrived.
"Staff meeting begins 9:05
It's starting right now,
will keep going somehow
until you're all barely alive."

Tom cried,"Right, then," and jumped to his feet.
"I'll save you, there'll be no retreat!
I'll battle the beast
'til its roaring has ceased,
and I'll take you back home, job complete!"

He got to the cave about three.
The captive exclaimed fretfully,
"Thank goodness you're here!
I've been waiting a year
for someone to process my plea!

"There – there it is, over there –
the thing with the horrible hair!
It bellows and squeals
and eats loathsome meals
of entrails and chocolate eclairs!"

Tom took out his phone with due speed,
prayed that two bars would do what he'd need.
His inbox had minutes
from the staff meeting in it.
Tom tapped – and started to read.

He read 'til the monster succumbed,
and slumped over, sucking its thumb.
Its glowing eyes closed,
it snuffled and dozed,
then it slept as though passed out on rum.

The captive said, "Ah, my plan worked!
I can have a nice meal!" and he smirked.
"A desk-money like you
will make excellent stew.
Now shut up and simmer, you jerk."

"I just wanted to help," Tom cried.
"Help my dinner," the captive replied.
The one who had schemed
was the real monster, it seemed,
and Tom's good intentions were fried.

He fought, bit, and kicked for hours
to somehow avoid being devoured.
But the captive, now captor,
was fierce as a raptor,
and fought back with inhuman power.

I don't know what Tom did that day
to finally win in the fray.
But he's missing an eye,
three teeth, and his tie,
and his hair is a premature grey.

So if you've got a job you detest,
and you've gotten adventure-obsessed,
be cautious, be calm.
Remember poor Tom.
There are worse things than being depressed.

©2012, Laura E. Goodin