Naomi Lazard


We are very pleased with your response
to our advertisement. The form
you found in which to couch your reply
is original and attractive.
It caught our attention immediately.
The fact that you did not wait,
but answered at once, is also
in your favor. This means
you are a decisive person,
and this is the type we are looking for.
So many people, these days,
are trapped in indecision.
We agree profoundly with everything
you have said. More than anything
we agree with the way you have said it.

You seem to have understood
that the person we need must be humorous.
That, we assure you, is a prime factor.
You have told us a great deal
about yourself, and the telling
was brief. This too is a virtue.
We like it. Lastly,
you appear not to have become bitter
from your experience. This
we find extraordinary.

At this point we would like to meet you.
You are invited to come here
for an evening we have arranged.
Everyone to whom we have written
favorable answers such as this one
will be here. You will come
at your own expense. The trip
will be worth the trouble. The party,
as long as it lasts, will be fun.
If things don’t work out as you hope
you will not be reimbursed,
but you will be placed
on our mailing list.



Jumping the track is forbidden;
the penalty for offenders is death.
You are permitted
to live beside the track,
work at your trade,
take trips, raise your family—
but always on this side.

It will not be considered an excuse
that trains don’t run here anymore.
They used to run here
and they may again.
The Council is having a heated debate
on whether to allow trains.
All factors are being taken into consideration.
The faction that definitely opposes
trains running here again
says the situation is dangerous enough
at present. Actual trains
will constitute an intolerable risk
to life and property.
Their argument is:
under present conditions
the danger is contained.
The faction favoring trains
proposes a modified run
of no more than two a year.

The progress of this debate
will be reported from time to time
as we see fit.



The group in process of being formed
will be something you have always wanted
to be a part of but never, heretofore,
imagined possible. Its composition
will be strictly regulated:
only those who qualify will be admitted.
All others will be rejected.
For those of you who believe
you may have the necessary attributes
for entry into this group,
an application can be picked up
at our office. Answer the questions
as honestly as you can. Good marks
also given for imagination
and resourcefulness. This group,
as it is shaping up, promises
to become a compelling force
in our society.
                     If you fail
to get into this group,
another, larger group is also being formed
for rejects from the first one.
The second group will in no way
be inferior to the first. It too
has standards; they are high.
In order for your application
to permit entry into the second group,
check the proper place.

In case the second group is filled
before your application can be processed,
or your qualifications fall short,
do not be despondent. Our plans include
the formation of a third group.
All applicants who have failed
to make it into the first or second groups
will automatically qualify for the third.
This is not to imply that standards
for this section are not high.
They are different.
                           We welcome you now
to the group for which you will ultimately
qualify. Whichever it is,
we know you will have a creative
and enriching experience.



This card certifies the following:
your file was processed,
found satisfactory, the number
of counts against you
counterbalanced by favorable ones.

A few words regarding your card:
it is the product of years
of intense survey, research
requiring judgments concerning
data on the entire population.
Despite the many obstacles
we forged ahead; now we take pride
in our achievement. This card
eliminates waste and effort.
Things will go more smoothly for you;
there will be less chance of delay
caused by mishaps, forgetfulness
or misunderstanding.
No other form of identification
will ever be needed.
Those to whom you show this card
will know you exist
without further confirmation.

          Our experts have devised a system
unlike any other. You do not have
just another number here.
The small microprint on the reverse side
contains enough information
to satisfy the most severe questioner.
                                    Everyone qualified
will soon be equipped with the device
to interpret the code.

Flash this card.
It is all you need.



A line will form to the right
and one to the left. You must join
one of them. After careful consideration,
choose the line you are most attracted to;
stand at the end of it.
Both lines are serpentine. However,
if you look closely
you will see subtle differences.
The one to the right moves more quickly,
the left line at a more leisurely pace,
which may prove beneficial
to certain dispositions.

Try to see where the lines go;
this is your option.
Everything possible is being done
to protect your privileges.
A factor to keep in mind:
in joining the line to the right
you will end life as a beggar.
If you decide on the line to the left
everything you believe will become nonsense.
You will be spending
a great deal of time on whichever one
you choose. Choose wisely.
No changing from one line to the other
once you have joined.
                               Common sense
will tell you that you will become
an indispensable link
in the line of your choice.
                                    Good luck to you.



All the reports that have reached you
are true. In that area known as the front
no one sleeps anymore.
According to a recent bulletin
we know that infants are born there
with their eyes open; chickens
stagger in the dusty roads
for lack of sleep. There is
no escaping the disasters,
nor is there any chance for a settlement.
Nobody knows how it will all end.

However, we are doing all we can
to limit the conflict, and, if possible,
to stop it. Our efforts to date
have been successful. The war
is contained in a small area, the front.

The rumor that this front is advancing
is not true. It is common knowledge
that the front is elsewhere,
in another country.
We are keeping it there,
where it belongs.