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The auditors

Thu 15 Nov 2001 by mskala Tags used: ,

Every night when you close your eyes and your brain stops working, the workers all file out punching their cards in the time clock and they walk out the main doors in your ears, a few slip out your nose, they all go home to their families and their late dinners and it's all quiet and dark inside your head all except at the very back where the night manager sits at his desk waiting for all the regular employees to go. When the last swirls and eddies of dust come to rest, when the photocopiers all go onto power saver, somewhere behind your nose a pin drops to the floor and bounces like in that long distance commercial, and the night manager hears it all the way back where his desk is, because the night manager has very good ears and can hear things like that.

He picks up his phone and he calls down to the front desk where the security people are on duty all day and all night and he tells them to let in the cleaners. Then in the cleaners troop through the employee entrance in your bellybutton, all wearing their green uniforms, and they walk single file up the spiral staircase in your spine singing their cleaner songs because they are jolly immigrants and they need to keep their culture some way or another or go mad, and it annoys the night manager but he swallows down his ulcer and doesn't try to make them be quiet for he doesn't want to be accused of squashing the culture of the cleaners. They have other songs that they sing as they wash and wax the floors, as they dust the desktops and tidy all the spread out papers into nice little piles. The cleaners do not actually have to do that, but they take pride in their work. They enjoy keeping your mind running smoothly, even if the night manager doesn't like them.

In the office at the back where the cleaners are never welcome, the night manager is pulling out the drawers of his filing cabinets, looking for the file with the auditor's phone number in it. He finds it and utters a sigh of relief and picks up the phone to call them in.

The auditors arrive in a silent limosine that parks on the top of your forehead, its wide black tires making little dents in your skin. They are thin creatures, so thin indeed that they can slide right in through the sutures of your skull. There are thousands of the creatures, but they stand so close together that the night manager thinks there are only seven. They like to pour into the night manager's office through the ventilation ducts, stand behind him for a moment while he thinks he is alone, and then gravely say "Good evening," just to watch him jump. They were laughing about this in the limo just before they arrived at your head. The night manager is deathly afraid of the auditors.

In fact they are already well aware of his petty-cash pilfering, and they simply don't give a damn about it. The auditors only concern themselves with much worse matters. Like that song that was stuck in your head from 10:17 until 10:26 this morning, excluding 39 seconds starting at 10:19:19 when you were thinking about something else. That song is a serious discrepancy, and the auditors spend a lot of time arguing in their thin electrochemical auditor language. Was it an honest mistake, or did someone in your head deliberately cook the books? They just can't decide.

The chief auditor wears a double white stripe around the place that would be his neck if his body had a shape other than just a blindingly black sliver of energy. The night manager doesn't know, and doesn't dare to ask, whether the stripe is part of the chief auditor's body, or some kind of clothing or jewelry. Actually, it is a separate living creature which he keeps as a pet. After listening to the opinions of his subordinates the chief auditor makes an executive decision, and the others bend themselves forward like grasses in a wind. The night manager thinks it looks like they're nodding; he can't understand the words they speak but he guesses (correctly) that they have come to an agreement.

One auditor picks up the heavy general ledger and starts writing in it. He is introducing a trap - a fake account ripe for embezzlement. If that song in your head was a mistake, then nothing will come of it. But if there is a dishonest accountant in the department, then eventually he or she will stumble into the trap, and the auditors will be right there waiting, their axonal energy webs charged and ready to punish the offender. You will crave strawberries for a second or two at 4:15:46 every afternoon until they either catch the thief or decide to stop waiting.

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