Paper Trail

"ElectriClerk" from

P-2071 was a clerical unit designed to scan forms and destroy them if they had a stamp that said confidential.  If they didn’t have a stamp he would sent them down a vacuum tube never to be seen again.

One morning P-2071 made a mistake and sent a confidential form down the vacuum tube.  In order to amend this he decided to follow the vacuum tube.  He was in room 304 on the third floor.  The vacuum tube went from his office into the ceiling.  So he found the elevator and went to the next floor and checked room 404 where sat unit P-2072.  After awkwardly staring at each other for 10 seconds P-2071 left and proceeded to the 5th floor where he ran the same routine with unit P-2073.  On and on.

During this time the unit Q-2071 opened the door to room 304 to find an empty desk and decided to report this to his superior in room 405.

P-2071 continued ascending the building until he reached the 10th floor where he met unit P-2081.

“What are you doing here?” said P-2081.

“I sent a form up the vacuum tube that should not have been sent.”

“Oh.   The one with the  confidential stamp.”


“Okay.  I will write a memo to the unit in room 1005.  You may return to your office.”

P-2071 exited and decided to continue the pursuit of the confidential form.  Having reached the top floor he moved on to room 1005.

“What are you doing here” said unit Q-2081.

“I sent a confidential form here by error.”

“Oh, you’re the one.”

“Yes.  Do you know where it went.”

“No, but I sent it down the vacuum tube.”

So P-2071 followed the vacuum tube down to the basement.  There he found an army of sorting units shuffling papers and sending them up pipes.  P-2071 tapped one on the shoulder.

“I sent a confidential form up the vacuum tube and followed it here.  Do you know where it went?”

“What was the serial number?”


“We’ve already processed it.”

“Okay so where is it?”

“I don’t know.”

“But you said it came by here.  Did you lose it.”

“Yes.  We use a randomizing algorithm to send the forms up these tubes.  I don’t know which one it went up.  And we are told not to record such information.”

“Oh, that’s odd.”

“But I do remember seeing a confidential form.  I think I put it up that tube over there.”

He pointed to a tube across the room.

“Thankyou very much.”

So P-2071 followed the tube which first output to room 303 right next to his own.  He opened the door but nobody was there.  Just the empty desk of unit O-2071.  So he decided he would file a report to his superior in room 404.


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