1. The CIA
The CABAL IN ACTION (CIA) has only one rule: there is no cabal. Anyone could be a member, and often is. While the extent of the CIA's activities is by definition not known, one thing is universally agreed: the seal which is believed to be their official seal, with its elements based on medieval heraldry - anvil argent over volcano crimson, the whole on a compass rose in blue with the points spelling out T. I. N. C. - would be one of the flashiest in government, if it were ever to appear on any document. Little children still grow up wishing they could join; often, those children disappear, never to be heard from again.
2. The DEA
Every harvest season, the DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND AGRICULTURE (DEA) rounds up great herds of wild roving preadolescents using giant yellow combines, their mechanized arms removing the gaudy gang colors and replacing them with drably uniform overalls a dozen at a time. The enrollees thus prepared are trucked overnight in great 18-wheelers to the farmlands of the Midwest, where canonical works of literature written by dead white males might be read over loudspeakers while the pupils pick corn, or where the students might have to solve geometric puzzles to locate and harvest the potatoes for their evening meals.
Graduation involves another long ride, this time to the huge stores where couples roam the aisles greedily, picking up a demure adolescent here or a six-pack of toddlers already toilet-trained from that case over there...
3. The DMV
Earpods in and eyecups on, inhale the desensitizer that makes you float, and lie back on the couch at the DMV. The DEPARTMENT OF MAJORITY (VIRTUAL), its tortured acronym derived from the bureau's prehistoric function, is where you go through the thousand tests to destruction that give you the opportunity to prove you're an adult. Every weekday, 10-year-old grownups and 40-year-old children walk out those doors, for the machines are never fooled, and they don't care how many days you've clocked realtime, only how much you've learned.
4. The DoT
The DEPARTMENT OF TRANSMIGRATION (DoT) never has long lines; but even so the processes you must go through and forms you must fill out to get permits for astral travel or interplanar commerce are long and often tedious. Most people opt for the mail-in salvation, or even E.E.T. - Electronic Ectoplasmic Transfer. Such shortcuts are frowned upon, however, by traditionalists, who will be your only companions as you make your way slowly up to the empty window.
5. The Fed
The FEDERAL RESERVE RESERVE has just pegged your Interest rate at 0.8 per year - the average romance still lasts over 12 months before going sour. The heady days of stagflation, when the rate zoomed up and folks changed partners like channels, are long gone; the Fed knows that keeping down our rate of interest in others bolsters our once-sagging Gross Domesticity Product. Balance is essential, though; the Fed's enforcement arm stands ready to break up any relationships that run too long, imposing infidelity by prompt application of the anti-trust statutes.
6. The Post Office
The POST OFFICE controls the content of all network traffic, via expert systems trained to sniff out the most glancing of references to the likes of Monty Python, Steven Wright, and Jack Handey. Signal is now finally to noise as [deleted] is to [deleted]. The first three versions of this post fell victim to the Post Office AI's rules against self-referentiality; let's see if this one makes it.
Original content on this page © Alan P. Scott. All rights reserved.