You might think that it was Peach's surreptitious nighttime B&E adventures and subsequent leavings behind of the frogs. It wasn't. It was another thing entirely. With the coming of autumn, also came election season. And Peach, being a dyed-in-the-wool particicrat, brought out the vote.
Leaving his apartment, he walked down the street to the corner, took a left, walked along the edge of the park, took another left, walked the length of the grade school and fallout shelter, and walked down the stairs to his local polling place. He was hellbent on voting.
Earlier in the fall, he'd been unable to vote because, even though he was a particicrat, he wasn’t affiliated with a specific party. It being the primaries at the time—when party-specific candidates were selected for the later general selection—he wasn't allowed to vote because he was unaffiliated.
He didn't know that would happen until he had left his apartment, walked down the street to the corner, taken a left, walked along the edge of the park, taken another left, walked the length of the grade school and fallout shelter, and walked down the stairs to his local polling place.
Once down the stairs and in the close confines of his local selection place, he learned from the elderly, disorganized, and chatty volunteers, that he wasn't listed in any of the party's rolls. So he had to leave. He did so, took a left, walked along the length of the school, took a right, walked along the edge of the park, took another right, and returned home, slightly disillusioned by his country's themocracy.
But this selection, being a general selection, was different. As an unaffiliated particicrat, Peach could vote. And so he did. Early and often. Once logged in and safely in the cozy confines of the polling space, he paused. He concentrated. And he became aware of the other polling machines. He could sense fingers poised on flip switches, switches about to flip, and switches in mid-flip.
And he pulsed. While the machines reflected the votes cast to the voters casting said votes, the machines recorded other votes. Peach's vote. His votes. Peach voted for one, tens, and hundreds of voters while he paused, concentrated, and pulsed. And when he felt as though he'd voted enough, he stopped pulsing and concentrating. Then he voted, one last time. His time.
Stepping out of the polling space, he made eye contact with the elderly, disorganized, and chatty volunteer collecting polling cards from the gathered particicrats. She didn't appear pleased. He walked past the line of people waiting to enter the polling space once he was done, casting his eyes to the concrete floor.
He walked up the stairs and followed the route, a route with which you should now be familiar, and went home. Particicrats, decide.
23. A Brief Announcement from the Management
There is no chapter 23.
24. Meeting in Secret
A lot of strikeouts have yet to be implemented. Imagine that all of the identifying details have been stricken out.
Minutes of meeting between Peachpit Sebastian and unnamed representatives of the United Places of America at the Starvation Army Recruiting Station on Main Street in Libertyville at 3 p.m., Nov. 11.
- Peachpit Sebastian
- Good Unnamed Representative
- Bad Unnamed Representative
Minutes taken by Abe Foreu, notorious publicistnotary public. Dicated, not read.
Good Unnamed Representative: I'm glad you could join us, Peach.
Bad Unnamed Representative: Boo! Hiss! Pfft!
Peachpit: Well, I must say that I was intrigued by your letter. What skill could I possibly have that the Government is interested in? I am but an out-of-work astrophysicist.
BUR: I wonder why you're out of work!
BUR: I said, "I'm surprised you can't find work."
GUR: Don't mind my colleague. He got up on the wrong side of the wrong bed this morning. We're very interested in learning what you're able to do. And how. Because we think that you may be able to help us with a problem.
Peach: As a registered particicrat, I'm always happy to help the Government. What would you like to know?
GUR: Did you vote in the most recent selection?
Peach: I did.
BUR: How many times, I wonder?
GUR: Never mind him. When and where did you vote?
Peach: It was late in the day, and at my polling space. On the other side of the park by my apartment.
GUR: Were you an informed voter?
Peach: What do you mean?
GUR: Were you aware of the issues at stake?
Peach: Yes. I make a point of knowing as much about the plandidates as possible. Where they stand on the issues that matter to me and the community in which I live. And whether their stances would affect my—and my family's—life positively or negatively.
BUR: Self-interested sperm.
GUR: "Responsible one," I think he said. How long did you take to vote?
Peach: Hmm… I was probably in the polling space for 15 minutes.
GUR: Do you usually take that long to vote?
Peach: Well, this was a particularly important selection. There were a lot of options to weigh.
BUR: Pansy ass.
Peach: What did you say?
GUR: "Such as?"
Peach: Well, in addition to the general selections, there was the Traffic Island initiative.
GUR: The Traffic Island initiative?
Peach: Surely you're aware of it. Did you vote?
BUR: Dipshit. Hell no.
GUR: "I did. As soon as I could go."
Peach: I see. Well, it was to determine whether we would to start to populate and defenestrate Traffic Island, which is protected land. And whether we would tap into its natural resources to meet the needs of Libertyville.
GUR: Do you know why Traffic Island is protected land?
Peach: It's worth protecting.
BUR: "It's worth protecting."
GUR: Worth protecting… why?
Peach: Because it's not currently populated?
GUR: Why would that be?
Peach: Because it's… worth protecting?
BUR: "Because it's worth protecting?"
GUR: Let's move on. What if I were to say that I have a video tape, or two, or three that made the time you spent in the polling space seem somewhat suspicious?
Peach: I would say, "Let's go to the tape."
BUR: I'm not sure that's such a good idea.
BUR: Seriously, how much are we going to tell this guy?
Peach: What are you talking about?
BUR: We're talking about the future of Libertyville. And the destruction of Freeburg.
BUR: Come on, you ponce. Let's wrap this up. This Peach-SHIT isn't going to help us.
BUR: Do I have to do everything?
GUR: Right, right. OK, Peach, you have a choice. Let's say, a vote.
Peach: I'm confused. But I'm a confused particicrat. So, what's the choice.
GUR: You can come with us.
BUR: Or you can go to jail.
Peach: Are you two going to jail?
BUR: Um, no.
Peach: Then I'll go with you.
BUR: You mean, like, go out with me?
Peach: No. We're not going out. But I'd rather go wherever you're going—then, well, go to jail.
GUR: Huh. OK, Peach. You've made your choice. You're a better particicrat than I anticipated. We have no choice but to…
BUR: Make you pass out with this blast of unawareness gas. Pfft!