The Vote (cont)

But we remembered. At first, the incident was only spoke of in hushed tones. It was precarious to step outside of the norm, to ignore the usual subjects of children or work and speak instead of something unknown, different. Any little misstep could suddenly disrupt the balance of our carefully constructed suburban community, and you did not want to be the one sent overboard. So at first we spoke carefully of the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Heinz, testing the waters and making sure the current would not suck us away.

            Margret Heinz was one of us as well. She had just retired, spending much of her life as an elementary school teacher. The last couple years she had wasted the days away tending to her garden or reading in her chair on their front porch. Mrs. Heinz was a quiet woman, shy and timid, and not many of us knew her well. She had taught some of us, and seemed very nice during conferences, but other than that, she was a mystery. Perhaps that is part of the reason why we believed the rumors so easily.

            No one quite knows where the rumors started, but a logical hypothesis could be formed. The risk of forming such thoughts, even in our own minds, was almost too large of a risk. Had we been braver, had we been more foolish, we could have called out one Mr. Ronald Black, the neighbor of Mr. and Mrs. Heinz and a ranking government official, but we didn't dare. Mr. Black knew the rules of this game better than any of us, and we all knew this. He played us like a well tuned flute, his fingers lightly forcing out the notes of his choosing. Of course, we, like the flute, did not mind being played if it meant that we could retain our existence in this world.

            In the end it hardly mattered where it had started. There was blood in the water and all of us smelled the opportunity. We approached cautiously, fearing for our own safety, wondering if it was all just a trap. Once it was clear, however, which one of us was bleeding, we all pounced, tearing in and refusing to let go. The whispers that Mrs. Heinz  had done away with her husband in the dark of the night, under the very noses of everyone in the neighborhood, were soon being uttered in quiet tones in every household.

The End

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