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"Take a Number"
by James L. Weaver

A man in his 40's, enters a Social Security office, where a uniformed Security Guard greets him, then instructs him to "log in" at the nearby computer station, which he does; typing in his full name.

Seconds later, the device dispenses a small piece of blue paper with the number "34" printed on it.

He sits down with the others; waiting to be called.

As he waits, he watches the wall of stations, where counselors sit behind clear, plastic partitions, and consult with those waiting, whenever their number is called.

When his number is called, he walks to the vacated chair, and greets the woman behind the partition.

"Your name is Robert Earl Mathews?


Your address is 1724 Mission Street?


"Vallejo, California?"









"2- 18437."





"Will there be anything else?" she asked.


"You're welcome. Have a nice day."


He rose and left.

"37!...number 37!" she announced.