Just A Typical Day In Middleton

June 13, 2011
Anne and Beth walked into the cafeteria of their plain white square school building and were given the lunch that was picked out by Council, the generous leaders of Middleton. The girls sat down at their cold, hard, white lunch table with their classmates and began eating in silence. About halfway through lunch Beth reached into her backpack and pulled out a piece of lemon pie. The table was in shock and stared at Beth with confusion and alarm in their eyes.

Anne quickly turned to Beth and whispered “Why do you have that?”

“My mom made pies for Council and accidentally made some extra. She was going to throw it out, so I took a piece before she did because I always get hungry during school and it looked so delicious. Stewed vegetables and water is not enough for lunch. Do you want some?”

“Are we even allowed to bring food to school?” Anne asked, obviously shocked.

“Has anyone ever told you otherwise?”

“… I don’t think Council thought anyone would ever dare do it. What if you get in trouble? What if they take you away? What if…” Anne trailed of, at a loss for words.

“Why would I get in trouble?” Beth said while shoving a bite into her mouth and grinning.

“Because your lunch is… unequal” Anne said, dropping her voice even more on the last word.

“What’s the worst they could do? It’s not like Council controls everything about us, they don’t mind” Beth said, rolling her eyes. Anne didn’t know how to respond and spent the rest of lunch in staring at her plate. Anne arrived back in Mrs. Smith’s white classroom still a little shaken and confused. Just as Mrs. Smith was about to speak, an announcement came from over the intercom.

“Mrs. Smith,” said a booming male voice, “will you please send Beth Johnson to the front office for just a moment?”

“Of course,” Mrs. Smith responded to the intercom and nodded to Beth who stood up and walked out the door. There was a glimpse of fear on her face but she quickly replaced it with her normal calm demeanor. Beth strolled out the door without a glance back. Anne on the other hand was less than composed. Her heart started beating faster and faster and she even stopped taking History 10 notes for a moment because her hand was shaking so badly. Beads of sweat began to form on her forehead. She glanced at all the other teenagers in the room. They were all acting normal, like this was an everyday occurrence. It was true that students got taken out of class occasionally, but it had never been someone Anne was friends with. Many of the students had never returned and had instead gone to somewhere that was rarely spoken of, except when it was needed to tell Anne that she should try to behave. What if Beth was sent there?

“Mrs. Smith?” Anne said quietly. The students stunned by her audacity turned to stare at her and Mrs. Smith looked perplexed. It was unheard of to have a student speak when not spoken to.

“Yes, Anne?” said a hesitating Mrs. Smith.

“I was wondering where Beth went? Has something bad happened?” Anne asked.

“Oh no, not at all, Anne.” Mrs. Smith said, recovering her smile. “Council probably just has to talk to Beth for a moment. They do this often to talk about behavior of citizens and to suggest new and better ways to behave, so that that citizen can set a wholesome example for everybody else. I’m sure that when she returns she will be the best behaved student in the class, so try to follow how she acts from now on.”

“Yes, Mrs. Smith” Anne responded. She was still nervous, but she knew not to worry. Mrs. Smith wouldn’t lie. Beth was going to come back! And Mrs. Smith was right, during Science 10 Beth walked through the door with a huge smile on her face. Anne wanted to drill Beth for details on what had happened but decided to wait until the walk home from school, when they passed all the square, white houses and the square white buildings. She couldn’t risk getting in trouble from Mrs. Smith. Plus, it couldn’t have been bad. Beth beamed throughout the entire class!

“Tell me everything!” Anne said the minute they walked out the school doors.

“What ever do you mean, Anne?” Beth responded tilting her head. Her smile was beginning to look plastered on.

“What did Council say to you?”

“They were informing me of innovative and interesting ways to be a perfect citizen on Middleton.”

“I mean, what exactly did they say?” Anne asked.

“Anne, you should follow my example from now on. Maybe one day you will be asked to the front office where Council will talk to you. It is a great honor. The characteristics that you have represent some that a bad Middleton citizen might have. You need to behave better, or Council will get mad.” Beth’s smile now looked that of a creepy doll.

“You think I’m a bad citizen?” Anne said, her voice faltering.

“One trait of the perfect Middleton citizen is not asking questions and trusting other citizens and Council.”

“You’re not a perfect citizen either, Beth! What about the lemon pie?”

“Lemon pie… I have no idea what you are talking about,” Beth said, slowly turning her head to stare at Anne.

“The pie from lunch!” Anne threw her arms in the air in frustration.

“Pie! At lunch! Don’t be silly, Anne. That never happened, and never could happen.” Beth turned away from Anne and walked down her driveway, her smile frozen on her face. Anne stopped for a moment, searching her mind for answers. At first Anne thought that she must have imagined the pie. But, that wouldn’t make sense, how would she have imagined an entire event while she was still awake? But on the other hand, why would anyone bring a piece of pie to school? She took a deep breath and walked a few more feet and into her white, one story house with the white picket fence and the Middleton flag where Anne’s mom was home, preparing dinner.

“Mom, can I talk to you about something?”

“Of course, Anne. Discussion is the key to a happy, healthy household and town,” she responded.

“Well, something strange happened at school today…”

“What? You didn’t understand the material?”

“No, it’s not something that happened to me.” Anne said slowly.

“Anne, just spit it out.”

“Beth brought a piece of lemon pie to school. And then she was called up to the office and she came back all smiley and talking about how she was the perfect citizen, and how I was a bad one.” Anne sniffed, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Anne, it just sounds like you’re being paranoid.” Her mom said, rolling her eyes.

“Mom, no, listen to me. She was completely different and, frankly, quite insulting.”

“Anne, there are a lot of things you don’t understand…” Anne’s mom started pressing buttons on the oven.

“Like what? Middleton is supposed to be a town of equality, which means I’m equal to you, and I should know the same things.” Anne’s mom stared at her for a moment. Then she grabbed her arm and pulled Anne into her white, square bedroom

“Council only wants to protect us, which is why they do that,” the middle-aged woman said.

“Do what?”

“Well, to be truthful, I’m not sure exactly what they do, but it involves helping the citizens of Middleton understand what we should do. It’s for our benefit. If someone in Middleton does something disrespectful, like bringing an unequal lunch to school, Council is there to explain to them how to behave. That is why Beth was called to the office. They probably just explained some of the rules to her, and she went back to class a much happier person and didn’t want to worry you by telling you what actually happened. And we will all be much safer if you just forget this incident ever happened. Council does all they can to help us live a perfect, happy life” Anne nodded, beginning to understand, and walked out of the room and began her homework. She realized that one shouldn’t worry about such small and trivial things. Life was perfect, and always will be.

That night, Anne went to bed at 9:00 PM and woke up at 7:00 AM, just like everyone else. She had the same breakfast, lunch and dinner as everyone else. Anne lived in a small, one story, white house with a picket fence and a Middleton flag, just like everyone else. Anne forgot about the pie, just like every one else. Anne lived in Middleton, just like everyone else.

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