Volunteering for This Assignment

It’s not like these
Around here of course

Backward, there
Or backward here
Whichever way you look at it

On those we got debriefed
Before not after deployment

So thoroughly that, to our
Not-much-later
Very great chagrin
We’d found we’d straight up
Forgotten even the debriefing

All so we’ll have better stories
To tell afterward
To everyone we know

Don’t remember volunteering, either
Though we’re eerily sure
It would be just like us and
We probably did step right up for this
Just as they’re telling us
Not once but over and over
With passion and brio:

O.M.G!
HAVE YOU SEEN IT THERE?
GOTTA HELP!
LEMME GO!…

I have an uneasy sorta
Feeling
About how those
Interviews probably went

Something like

Celestial Counselor:
Conditions are primitive there, you know.

Cocky Recruit:
Ah, primitive schmimitive. I was a Snout. We learned how to bunt and make byres out of damp twiggies. Be fine, natta worry.

CC:
Atmosphere’s thick as soup down there. Transmissions restricted to on-planet, through five very limited and almost entirely subjective senses…

CR:
I’m secure in myself, thank you very much.

CC:
No, I mean, to the point where you feel separated even from God.

CR:
Oh, right! Who would ever fall for an illusion like that?

… And so on…

Bet all our peeps over going-away drinks said, like:

PEEP:
Ten to one you’ll be pleading for beam-up by a quarter century. Max.

US:
Oh, yeah? If I don’t can I have your fizzy fuzzy collection?

PEEP: The whole collection?

US:
Okay, just Freda Fizzy Fuzzy.

PEEP:
Done! But if you do, I get your…

US: (Remembering) (Deep groan)

… Like that.

Seem to remember something about a prescheduled pity party, too…

I plan to be sick that evening

Very, very sick, ha ha!

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