Excessive Use of Farce

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    "I don't want excuses," the Minister of Internal Defense said.

    "I don't give excuses," the Chief of Covert Operations replied. "I give facts. Fact one; while pursuing the suspect Maxwell through the Copernicus Hilton, Agent Bond was jostled by a drunk, fell over the railing of a balcony, and performed a nearly flawless three-meter head-over-heels into a pastry cart in the restaurant below, going face first into a cream pie. Fact two; while Agent Flint was stalking said Maxwell in the Martianopolis Public Library, Agent Flint's blaser developed a short circuit in its triggering mechanism and fired spontaneously into Agent Flint's right foot. Fact three; while Agent Tracy was following Maxwell through the Frederick's of Ganymede department store, a sales robot accosted Agent Tracy, stripped him naked, dressed him in a truly tasteless array of feminine underwear, and then locked him into a display window. Fact four; while attempting to apprehend said Maxwell...."

    "Are these facts leading to some kind of conclusion?" the Minister asked.

    "Just this," the Chief said. "Every time one of our agents tries to approach Maxwell, he takes a pratfall and ends up looking like a fool."

    "Quite a demon, that Maxwell," the Minister commented. "There is a reason for all of this, I trust."

    "Yes," the Chief said. "To the best of our ability to determine we have discovered that Maxwell has a portable mechanism that generates around him a field of influence in which probability is jiggered in his favor."

    "And that boils down to what, exactly?" the Minister asked a little impatiently.

    The Chief shrugged. "That there's no way in which we can catch Maxwell. Not so long as he is protected by an impenetrable farce field."

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