Moist shrugged. "Oh, all right. Of course, I accept as natural born criminal, habitual liar, fraudster, and totally untrustworthy perverted genius."
"Capital! Welcome to government service!" said Lord Vetinari, extending his hand. "I pride myself on being able to pick the right man. The wage is twenty dollars a week and, I believe, the postmaster general has the use of a small apartment in the main building. I think there's a hat, too. I shall require regular reports. Good day."
He looked down at his paperwork. He looked up.
"You appear to be still here, Postmaster General?"
"And that's it?" said Moist, aghast. "One minute I'm being hanged, next minute you're employing me?"
"Let me see ... yes, I think so. Oh, no. Of course. Drumknott, do give Mr. Lipwig his keys."
The clerk stepped forward, handed Moist a huge, rusted key ring full of keys, and proffered a clipboard.
"Sign here, please, Postmaster General," he said.
Hold on a minute, Moist thought, this is only one city. Its got gates. Its completely surrounded by different directions to run. Does it matter what I sign?
"Certainly," he said and scribbled his name.
"Your correct name, if you please," said Lord Vetinari, not looking up from his desk. "What name did he sign, Drumknott?"
The clerk craned his head. "Er ... Ethel Snake, my lord, as far as I can make out."
"Do try to concentrate, Mr. Lipwig," said Vetinari wearily, still apparently reading the paperwork.
Moist signed again. After all, what would it matter in the long run? And it would certainly be a long run, if he couldn't find a horse.
"And that only leaves the matter of your parole officer," said Lord Vetinari, still engrossed in the paper before him.
"Yes. I'm not completely stupid, Mr. Lipwig. He will meet you outside the Post Office building in ten minutes. Good day."
When Moist had left, Drumknott coughed politely and said, "Do you think he'll turn up there, my lord?"
"One must always consider the psychology of the individual," said Vetinari, correcting the spelling on an official report. "That is what I do all the time and lamentably, Drumknott, you do not always do. That is why he has walked off with your pencil."
From Going Postal by Terry Pratchett. Copyright Terry Pratchett 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Harper Collins.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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