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Jun 26, 2022 10:21 AM
someone should just STAB chris parker
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"Absolute bastard," she agrees.

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"And to tell you the truth I think Hickey's a Stalinist."

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"Christ."

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"I don't know what the Wobblies are coming to."

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"And of course the other guys are all idiots." She sighs. "I almost wonder if we'd do better with an honest Stalinist-- the idiots can wind up in the Stalinists' pockets, and make incompetent decisions besides."

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"Hang on, an honest Stalinist?"

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"I know, I'm getting too cynical."

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Sometimes it sure feels that way. "What are the kids up to?"

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She laughs. "Charlie has decided that he only wants to play the cops when he plays cops and robbers because the cops fight bad guys."

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"He mentioned that the other day. Sometimes I worry about the movies he sees. They're starting young with the propaganda."

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"If only our propagandists were as good. But we don't have the budget that Hollywood does."

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"We don't." He's not quite comfortable with the idea of making propaganda. "The sooner he learns to read the better."

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"I've been teaching him." She sighs. "I hate compulsory schooling."

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"Yeah, it's pretty grim."

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"It's only going to get worse-- I suppose the children are soon going to get to an age where we can take them to meetings."

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"I imagine so." When was the last time Oscar went to a meeting? So long that he's kind of ashamed to turn up again.

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"...I'm tired. I want to go to bed."

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"Good idea. I can watch the kids if you need?" It's been pretty nice having a conversation that wasn't about the Roby case but he is also quite tired and wants to go stare at a wall.

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"That sounds lovely." She kisses him with genuine sweetness.

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It's been a while.

That night, Oscar dreams.

It's cold outside and the bedroom window stands wide open. The curtains sigh into the room. He watches himself sleeping, wrapping the sheets more tightly around his shoulders, and he sees they’re ripped, shredded into long streamers. He rises from bed and stumbles out of the room. Along unfamiliar corridors and across large chambers, he notices marble, carpet, pass glass, velvet hangings, brick and porcelain, oil, and gold wood. One of him is muttering: “It’s all a distraction. All a distraction.” There’s a mask on the wall and he takes it up, puts it on. He sees a sword and picks it up. The robe of tattered cotton plays out behind him, lending him a dignity commensurate with his task. And then he sees someone in a side corridor watching him. His doppelganger, eager and worried. Suddenly furious he hurries over, gripping the sword tightly: “You think you can stand in judgment over me? You think this has nothing to do with you?!” He wonders just what he's capable of. “It is my crown! Mine!"

Another dream to report to Sal.

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In the morning, when he arrives at the shop, there's a sign that says CLOSED BY ORDER OF SCOTLAND YARD and a police officer standing out front.

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Oscar's stomach sinks.

Doesn't he recognize that cop? He's pretty sure he does. he bribed him once to look the other way about a shipment of some anarchist pamphlets.

"Thomas?" Oscar says. "Can you tell me what's going on here?"

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"Mr. Latz," the cop says disdainfully.

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"I'm just wondering why the shop's closed."

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"Illicit distribution of obscene material."

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