On Totalitarianism–Mottle Knows Best

Mottle Knows Best

Mrs. Mottle scurried after her neighbor, Rose. Rose stopped abruptly on the sidewalk and turned around with a grimace. “Following me again, Mrs. Mottle?” She put one hand on her hip. “Let me guess, block party meeting this evening?”

“We are a social group.” Mrs. Mottle said, taken aback at Rose’s fierceness. “We get together and talk about the happenings in the neighborhood.”

“Gossips, the lot of you.” Rose tapped her heels impatiently. “I’m due at the office in twenty minutes. If I arrive late and someone else grabs up the spot, I’m blaming you.”

“Me?” Mrs. Mottle’s heart fluttered. “Rose, you are so irritated at me when I’m only trying to help you…for your own good! They may take you away!”

“What?” Rose’s eyes narrowed and she stepped forward. “What did you say? What have you been telling the block party, Mrs. Mottle? Only too happy to ‘report,’ aren’t you?”

Mrs. Mottle realized she’d said too much. “N-no, of course not, dear. We’re only here to help! I would never get you…in trouble, but for your own good, it––”

“Then what is it? What did I do this time?”

“Rose, you must understand that I have your best interests at heart. This morning,” She sighed, “Now prepare yourself…this morning your shower was seven minutes.” Mrs. Mottle looked up hopefully only to find Rose staring down at her open-mouthed.

Rose crossed her arms. “And? I’m waiting for the punch line…”

The younger woman laughed shortly. “Oh, Rose, why, you’ve forgotten! The new edict! Now let me see if I remember it straight, ‘all citizens are responsible for their water use. To go beyond the recommended five minutes for a shower is shameful and a waste.’ So you see––”

“Oh, shut up!” Rose pulled her handbag up higher on her shoulder. “What does it matter if I take a seven-minute shower? What does it matter if I take a twenty-minute shower? I’m paying for it! We have entire oceans at our disposal, and, apparently you haven’t noticed because you’ve been too busy spying on people, it has rained cats and dogs every evening for the last eight days! Oh, and another thing! You think the Higher-Ups really care about these things? You think the block party does? Damn it, Mrs. Mottle! Can’t you see what they’re doing?”

“Of course, Rose, but Practical Science states––”

“Ha! As if PS is ever practical! Or right! One day eggs are good for you, the next they’re bad! Why, I saw an article just the other day on the evils of fruit! Fruit! You know what it is, don’t you? They want us to eat only that dog food for humans they keep manufacturing, while the Higher-Ups feed on steak and wine! Oh, I can’t believe I let you rile me up this early in the morning! Good day, Mrs. Mottle!” Rose tromped off in her heels.

Her neighbor looked sorrowfully after her. Little did Rose know the danger she was in. Two more strikes and she would have to be put in Rehabilitation…for the common good, of course. Mrs. Mottle didn’t like her task, but the important thing was that the laws be kept. Rose was always going off about the “stupid, ridiculous, impractical laws that made real living impossible!” Mrs. Mottle didn’t think that was for them to judge. That was for the Higher-Ups, the people who knew better. She wasn’t sure at that moment why they did know better, but surely they must, as they were in charge. She must inform the party of Rose’s seven-minute shower. The young lady puffed out her chest. They would talk it through. They would come up with a solution and show Rose how her thinking was wrong. It was only a matter of time.

Story originally written in 2010.  –P. Beldona

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