Bake Sale for the Underprivaleged (On Totalitarianism)

Bake Sale for the Underprivaleged

 The sign read: “Bake Sale for the Underprivaleged.” Noni and Adam stopped to inspect the goodies while the weedy girl dressed in careful shabbiness dropped her arm protectively over an overfull cash box.

“This is soooo great that you’re doing this!” Noni gushed as she bought a brownie. “I mean, it’s, like, so nice to see someone actually doing something!”

“Your sign is spelled wrong.” Adam said as he fished in his pockets for some change. He dropped four quarters into the weedy girl’s hand. “So who is this money going to?”

“It’s for Hepperpot, duh.” The girl said. “They are recovering from a massive earthquake, and people are actually gouging them on food prices.”

“Oh, that’s so awful!” Noni said. “Here, take another dollar!” Adam picked up a peanut butter cookie.

“These look stale.”

“Don’t be rude, Adam, it’s for the poor! This is really, so very awesome…” Noni nodded to the girl as she grasped one of Adam’s backpack straps and pulled him away deeper into the quad.

“Rude? Noni, you think it’s rude to ask where my money is going?” He bit into his cookie and spat out the mouthful. “Ugh. Stale. If these people can’t even make a proper peanut butter cookie, how do they think they can help the poor? There’s more to this than just a bake sale, I’m telling you.”

“Well, on the news the other day they talked about company XYZ…and the earthquake…” Noni trailed off as she bit into her brownie and grimaced. “These are…interesting.”

“As in horrible? I’m no geography major, but I’m pretty sure there’s no country called Hepperpot. I’m getting our money back.”

“No!” Noni held him back. “It’s for the poor, Adam! So they aren’t the best bakers in the world, the money still goes where it’s supposed to!”

“Does it?” Adam shrugged out from under her arm. They both looked back to the bake sale table to find it empty.

 A few weeks later, Noni and Adam strolled through the quad after class. They noticed a large group of students gathered at one end in front of the Anthropology Department. A tall girl dressed in trendy army fatigues shouted platitudes into a microphone while everyone cheered.

“What’s going on?” Adam asked one of the students.

“Aw, get this, man, some American corporation is selling food to the survivors of the Hepperpot earthquake! Selling! It’s, like, so wrong!”

“Like, soooo wrong!” Adam said in the same tone. The student glared at him.

“Ha, see?” Noni pointed at the giant banner scrolled over the school building’s face. “Action for Hepperpot now! It’s a movement!”

“That it sure is,” Adam said with a wink. He nodded to the tall girl with the microphone. “She look familiar to you?”

“Not really…I mean, kinda like that girl from the bake sale last month, but this girl has blond hair, not red.”

“Check out that cash box.” They saw an overflowing guitar case at the microphone girl’s feet. A man in a suit, tie and dark glasses sat on the steps and kept a hand placed on the handle.

“Something’s not right about this.” Adam said.

“But they’re helping––”

“The poor, I know, I get it. Notice they haven’t given any evidence that this corporation is doing what they say. I mean, they could just be lying.”

“It’s a corporation, what more evidence do you need, man?” A student next to them snarled while snapping picture with his cell phone.

“Nice phone,” Adam said, staring at the fruit logo on the back side.

“This is a necessity!” The student scowled.

“Necessity or not, it’s a great product…made by a corporation.” Adam said, stepping back as the student lunged at him.

 Adam woke abruptly to staccato knocking on his door.

“It’s Saturday,” He opened his dorm room to find a worried looking Noni standing in the hallway. “What is it?”

“Adam, you gotta see!” She urged him down the hall to the lounge where a giant television blared the weekend entertainment news. Noni pointed at a tall, elegantly dressed brunette standing confidently next to a popular movie star.

“Hey, that’s…” Adam said. They listened intently to the news reporter.

“Actor Evan EagerBeaver has just set up a foundation to help the world’s poor! If you would like to donate, call the number on the screen. The EEB foundation will help those swept into poverty by recent earthquakes and turmoil in the third world. Evan, how wonderful! Tell us how you came up with the idea!”

“Well…” the handsome actor’s eyes flicked to the woman on his right and then to the screen, “something has to be done. We also plan to sue the corporation that’s been selling food to those in Amnezia.”

“Selling food? How horrible! Those poor people!”

“Yeah, they’re selling water too, if you can believe that. It’s awful, but I am proud to say that the EEB foundation has raised over ten million dollars already to help the world’s poor and put those corporations to shame by giving the poor and homeless food for free for life.”

“Wow, that is so amazing, Evan! Who knew you had such a kind heart?”

“Don’t forget the green projects,” The brunette placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled at the camera.

“Uh, yeah, we plan to invest…a million dollars in new green energy. Once we get all the new floating windmills in place, people will see how awesome they are.”

“Even better!” The reporter cooed. “If only other rich people would follow your example!” She turned to face the camera. “Once again, to donate and help those poor people, call the number on your screen! No amount is too small to feel like you’ve done your part!”

Noni switched off the sound, “It is weird, Adam, that this girl is everywhere with this stuff.”

“Yeah, and they changed the name of the country to another one that doesn’t exist.”

 ◊

Several months later, Adam and Noni sat side by side in Current Events 462 and gaped as their professor told them of a new bill being introduced in Washington DC.

“Well, kids, it’s been a long time in coming, but Nutshell, the force for the poor, has finally gotten a bill into Congress regarding the recent scandal with XYZ corporation and their affiliates selling food and water to the poor! Thanks to this great new bill, XYZ will not be able to charge a dime for their products! It addition to that, the government is looking at a serious overhaul of the corporation and others like it. It is simply inhumane to sell people what they need to survive.” The professor gloated as he clicked to the next screen on his computer presentation. “Here is Congressman Marion Marionette with her aids, all of whom wrote this innovative bill together. The bill itself is over twelve hundred pages long, so they really did their homework…”

Noni and Adam gasped as they saw the weedy woman standing at Marion Marionette’s side. This time she was impeccably dressed in subdued grays and handed Marionette her speech to read.

“Like I said,” Adam whispered, “this is more than bake sales, a whole lot more.”

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