Comrade Jemima's Double

Jemima walked round to the front of the building and saw that the wooden board in front of the entrance, which used to bear the legend,  ''Baroness Thatcher House'' now proclaimed that her place of residence was ''Engels Block 353''

She stepped into the foyer.  The first thing she noticed was that the lift was missing its usual ''Out of Service'' sign.  She pressed the button, and the lift doors slid smoothly open - not a hint of their usual grinding squeak.  She stepped in, instinctively holding her breath against the expected stench of urine... and worse, then realised that there was no need.  The interior was fresh and aroma-free. 

At the 32nd floor she stepped out, ready to dodge the piles of litter on the way to Flat 329.  Another shock.  There were none at all.  She also noted that the front door of each flat, where they had previously been painted in different colours, were now all the same shade of crimson.  How random is that?  thought Jemima.  It don't even smell of paint... must be some smell-free brand or summat.

She was about to put her key in the lock of the red door at the end of the corridor, when it opened...and her own face stared at her.  Jemima's mouth dropped open.  The other Jemima's mouth stayed firmly closed and she looked at Jemima for a long time with narrowed eyes. 

''Gemma.''  she said, finally,  ''You are in SO much trouble it doesn't bear thinking about.'' 

She turned her back and walked into the kitchen, where she went to the sink and proceeded to dry some red mugs - with the same hammer and sickle symbol she had seen on the rooftop flag - which stood on the draining board.

''Jeremy was looking for you all last night when you didn't come back after curfew.'' the alternative Jemima whined, as she placed the dry mugs on a shelf which contained matching plates and bowls.   She turned round and glared.

''You've put us all in danger.  Where have you been anyway?''  she looked Jemima up and down.  ''And for Statessake, Gemma, where did you get that terrible clothing?''

You can talk, Miss!  thought Jemima, looking at the other girl's  boring, shapeless grey overalls. 

''I think you'd better go to our room and think about what you've done.  You can save your explanations for when Jem and mother get home.''  When Jemima didn't move, she shook her head, sadly.   ''Go on,get out of my sight!   I'm ashamed to call you my twin.''  She turned her back and resumed her mug-drying activities.

Jemima opened the door - red, of course, to her bedroom.  There were two identical single beds in there, made up with identical scratchy-looking grey blankets.  The second thing she noticed was that someone had nicked all her Mika posters.  The only thing on the wall now was a big photograph of some old bloke with lots of hair and a big white beard - a bit like Father Christmas only not nearly so jolly.   In fact he looked positively fierce.

Jemima sat on one of the beds.  What had she got herself into this time?

The End

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