Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

Kafka Studies.


Aug 27: We apply for AllKids benefits using the online form available at the Illinois Dept of Human Services website.

Sep 11: DHS sends a notice regarding the application.

Sep 19: The notice arrives, claiming that our application did not provide enough information on our family’s income. The bottom of the letter says

“If you have a question about your application or this notice…you may call [phone number].”

Sep 20: I call [phone number]. I spend 20 minutes listening to John Tesh or one of his contemporaries, and then the following conversation occurs.

“Hello, my name is Gary1. How can I help you?”

“Hi Gary. I’m calling about a notice I received regarding our application for All Kids benefits.”

“You applied for benefits?”


“You should receive a notice in the mail.”

“…I did. That’s what I’m calling about.”

“Okay. The notice should have a case number on it. Can you give me that?”

“[Gives Gary the case number.]”

“So you received a notice?”

“Yes. It says that our application didn’t provide enough information about our family’s income.”

“And before that, it talks about temporary benefits?”


“You can ignore this letter.”


“You can ignore it. We send that to everybody.”

“But mine says that our application is incomplete.”

“If there’s something they need, they’ll tell you what they need.”

“So this is a notice to tell me that they’re going to send me a notice?”

“Right. You can ignore it.”

“Are you certain? I don’t want to find out that my application’s been denied because DHS is missing something.”

“They’ll send you a notice.”

“Is there a way to look up what they might be missing? Is there something I can send? A tax return or something?”

“Listen, it takes about two months to process these. You have another month to go. And they’ll send you a notice if there’s anything they need from you, like a tax return from 2016, or whatever.”

“So you can’t tell me what we’re missing?”

“How did you apply?”


“Hm. That’s a problem.”

“What’s a problem?”

“When you apply online, I’m not able to look at the application to see what’s missing.”

“You’re not?”

“No. You need to talk to a case worker.”

“You’re not a case worker?”

“No. Here’s the address for the location nearest you. [Gives me the address.] You go there and talk to the caseworker, they can tell you more about your application. We’re not set up to help you with that.”


“Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“No. Thank you.”

[Bilal hangs up the phone and begins laughing, a quiet giggle that grows slowly into howling, maniacal laughter. His skin has gone ghostly white, his lips bright red, his hair a rich green. He fights with Batman for the next 70 years.]


Not the name they gave me.

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2017 by in Chicago, Fatherhood, Society.
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