Books: An Abridged Existence (excerpt)


Sid picks up another pen and then begins slowly filling out the forms. Whenever he encounters a question that he cannot answer, either because he does not know the answer, or because he does not feel like looking at the question, he just makes something up, or fills in a checkbox at random.

Carl begins quickly filling out the forms, he seems like he knows what he is doing, and knows what all the answers are. However, the pens die quickly after he starts using them, which slightly upsets him. He has a pile of eight dead pens before he finally finishes with all of his forms.

Jen calmly fills out the forms. Whenever a question is asked that she feels like not answering, she just leaves it blank. She manages to use the same pen for the entire set of forms, unlike Carl.

They are all nearly halfway done when a loud, obnoxious, person enters the room. He introduces himself as P. J. Mortimer, Attorney at Large.

“I’m glad to see you are all well on your way to a full physical recovery. I’m sure that you must have been put through extreme emotional trauma from those peanuts. Well, I’m sure you all want some sort of ‘compensation’ from that airline for feeding you those, right?” Before anyone has a chance to respond, he continues. “Of course you do, and that’s what I’m here for. Just sign here,” he hands them a piece of paper, with some sort of contract on it. “And I’ll be able to get you your large settlement. Go ahead and read the contracts though.”

So Sid, Jen, and Carl read the form, and find them to their liking. Except for the 30% off the top.

“30% off the top seems a rather large price, doesn’t it Sid?” Carl asks.

“Why yes, yes it does. I demand more. We demand more. How about you get 10% off the top?” Sid responds.

“10% off the top? What do I look like, a charity? 20% is my final offer. Reject that and you can find yourself a new lawyer.”

“How about 15%?” Jen inquires.

“Fine! And that’s only because I like you guys. But don’t tell anyone you got me to work for this low!” The lawyer replies. However, since he is expecting a rather large settlement from this airline, he does not put up too much of a fight. He looks through his briefcase and withdrawals identical forms, with the only exception being that say 15% off the top. Sid, Carl, and Jen then all sign.

“When can we see our money?” Sid asks.

“As long as the airlines don’t decide to take the case to court, somewhere between 1 to 9 months.” Mortimer quickly snatches the form as soon as all of them sign and put it into his briefcase. “Well, I must run, if you have any more questions, here’s my card.” He hands each of them an identical business card and vanishes out of their room door.