We're going from door to door, Vince replied,
To canvass the shops in this part of town.
This is just routine investigation,
But law mandates citizen assistance.
Our warrants grant us widest latitude,
Permit us to leave no stone unturned
In this pursuit of uniform justice.
As you know, no part of proud Nineveh
Is unscrutinized by overseers.
Our prosperity and productivity
Require the continuous supervision
That we, servants of State order, provide.
Surveillance works as benefit for all.
Slight correctives may sometimes be required,
Adjustments to a misaligned component,
To ensure all work together smoothly,
That close, tight teamwork is not betrayed
And universal discipline is maintained.
We provide that too, if necessary:
A touch of lash, a boot tap to the ribs,
An minute or two in the pillory,
Public evisceration now and then.
Only the worst of scum are ungrateful.
And none should begrudge the searchlights we train
Over all spaces, public and private.
Both a good eye and visible target
Are needed for an unerring enforcement.
This stern vigilance therefore extends
Into each alley of each precinct
Into each of the nerves of each person,
Even into a printed circuit board.
These now come equipped by law with chips
That log all the relevant intercourse
And that we may audit as whim demands.

This one is not functioning properly,
Said the technician, quietly, to Vince.

The bird's been somewhat reticent of late.
This parrot, in fact, said the pawnbroker,
Is apparently altogether speechless.

We have ways to make it talk, replied Vince,
Confess withheld secrets without torture,
Without sweet nothings of hypnotism
Or sodium pentothal, truth serum.
A small trickle of current does the trick,
A judicious jolt of juice up the jack...

And this parrot will become your love-slave?
But this, sir, was not stated in advance.
Such exotic pleasures cost you extra.

Regardless of any association
With the elusive Dhul-Nun, Vince remarked,
You are clearly in need of some correction.
Would you like to try, wife alongside,
A second honeymoon in our holding cells?

Why not jail the parrot, while you're at it?
A desperation seems to guide your search.
Surveillance must be less than always claimed
If track is lost of so foul an offender.
And how did this disappearance happen?
Do felons turn to bird and take flight?
Is the press aware of how you've failed?

I think, Vince, said the technician now,
Watching the numbers scroll across the screen,
That voltage spikes and atypical flux
Disorder interface along the bus,
Interfere with prefetch queuing reads
Of associative logic output.
Any data found here will be corrupt,
Without value, of no possible use.
Were it to lay eggs they'd hatch scrambled.
This parrot is nothing but fire hazard,
And it represents, I fear, a dead end.

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