28 October 1999

Jam Echelon III

Temping at Echelon

Johnny Werd stole a lot of copies the summer he temped at Echelon and hoped he didn't get caught, hoped nobody was monitoring the copymachines access codes, tracking copies. He always had such fantasies though. The paranoia kept him awake. He would use the company computer to search for the most subversive websites he could. His group supervisor Linda Thompson probably wouldn't have cared. There were spooks in and out of the office at all times, always someone acting suspiciously, a stranger in a suit with a wire in his ear, military haircuts. FBI CIA NSA IRS ATF BATF DOD, Werd didn't know or care. These odd men of the Echelon taskforce, living vicariously through the lives of more interesting men, living at the shadowy intersection of the extreme potentials of law and technology. Those they spied on practiced the arts of terrorism, insurrection, revolution, espionage. Moving without detection or fear, remaining invisible, shadows moving through the grid. Werd hated it there. He sometimes brought drugs, guns, or bombs to work, just for the kick. Once he brought in an AK47 assault rifle in a dufflebag, kept it in his cubicle, and looked his boss directly in the eye when she stood before his desk and handed him copies of the Posse Comitatus Act, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and requested that 1000 copies be sent out to all employees. Werd pinned a photo of Malcolm X over his telephone. Working there he had seen pass through the office at various times Oliver North, George Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, even, once, he was sure, Vince Foster. Once, when retrieving some files from the S cabinet he found files labeled SPECIAL FORCES, SPECIAL OPERATIONS, SPECIAL OPS... Sometimes he used the phone to play prank calls on strangers drawn at random from the phonebook or from the NASA directory, and he would babble on and on to them about Ruby Ridge and David Koresh of the Branch-Davidians who died in the standoff at Waco, Texas a year before the Oklahoma City bombing , or the Whitewater Scandal and its relation to Iran-Contra. The voices he ranted at over the phone were variously upset or interested or bemused, but none of them found any of it the least bit credible.

At the end of the summer he was fired for making unauthorized photocopies.


Newspoetry at Spineless Books