SCENE: An office at Qualitative Segmentation Research, a sub-surface information bunker on Formosa.
SUPERVISOR: #67355, I’ve been told that you’re still working on the Polly Frost Information Manipulation File.
DATA ANALYZER: I’m just about to make sense of her data, I swear.
SUPERVISOR: You’ve been on this case for months and you’ve given us nothing about Polly Frost that we can use. Just random data, like the way she’s always calling Apple to ask where the tiny feet are on her nanopod.
DATA ANALYZER: I’m sorry — it won’t happen again.
SUPERVISOR: You’re not the first to get fascinated by the Polly Frost file. Martinelli apple juice on Monday, absinthe on Tuesday. You need to move on.
DATA ANALYZER: But I just planted the new Drillerama spyware on her home iMac!
SUPERVISOR: You have more than six thousand other Information Manipulation Files waiting in your Fortisqueue.
DATA ANALYZER: But I just figured out that she tends to like the monomials — Iman, Bono, Mankind, Prince, Madonna.
SUPERVISOR: She and the rest of the species, #67355. Listen, we’ve sicced the best on her. Repeatedly. We’ve devoted teraflops of our most expensive computing time to her case. There’s just no sense to be made of her. She was vegan for sixteen hours in September of last year and then ate nothing but raw mutton for a month.
DATA ANALYZER: With all due respect, boss, the others didn’t know what they were doing. I’m finding new ways to analyze her activities and thoughts.
SUPERVISOR (sits back): Oh, all right — tell me what you have.
DATA ANALYZER (excitedly): Well, when Polly Frost shops online she puts hundreds of items in her cart. And then? She deletes them! Oh — and she signs up for online services and then abandons them. (Holds out a stack of printouts.) See this? It’s like a record of every Internet social networking site that ever failed! She joined them all. It’s like she’s toxic.
SUPERVISOR: Toxic to us, too. Ditch the Polly Frost file, #67355. It’s not worth spending money and time on her.
DATA ANALYZER: But I think I’m really starting to understand her, boss!
SUPERVISOR: Look: Microsoft, Google, and the State Department pay our bills. And Microsoft, Google, and the State Department want tendencies, they want coherence.
DATA ANALYZER: You have to listen to me. I’ve saved the most telling for last.
SUPERVISOR: OK, surprise me.
DATA ANALYZER: She finally quit Twitter. And then took it up again seventeen minutes later under another name — Yllop Tsorf!
This is the key to everything, and I am going to figure it out!
(The Supervisor gets up from his chair.)
SUPERVISOR: # 67355, you were one of our best. But you’ve changed. You’ve become obsessed with the Polly Frost Information Manipulation File. You’ve even stopped spending your evenings organizing your iTunes collection.
DATA ANALYZER: What? You’ve been … spying on me?
SUPERVISOR: You’ve quit illegally downloading movies. You haven’t even tried to hack into Facebook in five weeks.
DATA ANALYZER: There’s no way you could get my information. I installed the firewall to end all firewalls.
SUPERVISOR: We’ve got people in India who can out-program you with one samosa tied behind their backs.
(The Data Analyzer clutches the Polly Frost file to his chest and storms out the door)
DATA ANALYZER: I’m not giving up! You can’t scare me! I can make sense out of Polly Frost! You just try to get in my way!
(Slams door behind him on way out. The Supervisor sighs and picks up his phone.)
SUPERVISOR (into phone): You heard all that, Ramesh? I told you #67355 was a hopeless case, didn’t I? You know what to do — get your Thuggees to, um, delete him. And Ramesh?
RAMESH: Yes, boss?
SUPERVISOR: Don’t look at the Frost file contents yourself. We can’t let her take any more of us down.
Polly Frost is a playwright whose humor has appeared in The Atlantic and The New Yorker.She can be found on the web at http://pollyfrost.com.