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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Left Edge

“I demand to know why you have brought me here?”

A soft chuckle rises from the man in the gray uniform sitting opposite. His uniform is sparsely decorated but he is an imposing man nonetheless.

He turns to a man sitting at a small desk with a curiously small typewriter. “Did you take that one down?” he says as he leans back in his chair and swings his hand in the direction of the clerk and brings it back around his head in one sweeping motion until he sits in his previous position, his head resting on his right hand leaning to one side of his arm chair. He laughs again to himself.

“This is a violation of my rights.”

“THIS IS IN VIOLATION OF NOTHING!” The uniformed screamed so loud that even the clerk jumped and there was a brief silence until the clerk began typing and after a brief moment the typing stopped. The uniformed man sits across from Comrade Stewart who clutches his gray cap in his hands, which he hides under the table. The room is dark and the brightest light, which is directly above Comrade Stewart, seems to take the color from everything in the room. Everything except the clerk who sits at the queer typewriter. He is illuminated by a light that Comrade Stewart can not see. The clerk’s uniform is green and his skin is of a peach-like hue. His hair is a mix of blonde and brown hairs, a stark contrast to the jet-black hair and the beady eyes of the uniformed man that sits so comfortably in his armchair.

“Comrade Stewart,” the uniformed man finally breaks the silence, his tone of speech is rather lazy and comforting, “the state has gone through great pains to see that you are comfortable. We have made so many sacrifices for you and now you sit before me an accused traitor to the state! Why?”

“Traitor?”

“YES! Treason Comrade Stewart! You are to be held on trial in front of a tribunal and if found guilty you will be hanged to death!” There was a long pause as the man allowed the words he had spoken to settle in the dank room. “If you choose to cooperate however, perhaps we can reach an agreement.”

“What kind of agreement?”

“Life in prison, labor camps, thought rehabilitation.”

“Thought rehabilitation?”

“Yes. It’s a new development in science. It’s a very expensive and exhausting treatment, but since we understand your contribution to society as a patriot, we understand the importance of not having the embarrassment of punishing a man of such high standing in the community.”

“But what have I done?”

“Comrade, there are certain, how shall we say it, undesirables in the country. People whose thoughts and words contaminate the psyche of the people around them.”

“But I haven’t done anything wrong!”

“Comrade,” the uniformed man breaks from his pose and motions towards the darkness and a man appears, another uniformed man appears, he has the same features as the man in the chair except that his hair is white, “bring the tape.”

The man with the white hair retreats into the darkness and reappears with a small box like device that fits in the palm of his hand, hands it over to the man in the chair and takes a good long look at Comrade Stewart. A look of pity and remorse. A look of hatred and sympathy.

“That will be all.” The man turns and walks back in the emptiness of which he came. It makes Comrade Stewart wonder how large the room is. He looks up and all he can see is the blinding light. He hears a click and looks in the direction of where the clerk used to be. Even the man in the uniform has receded into the darkness. All that Comrade Stewart could see was himself, the table before him, his hands griping his hat and the tape recorder across the table from him.

And then it began.

Seemingly without the aid of human touch, the recorder played with a loud booming voice that sounded like his own, Comrade Stewart’s voice filled the void in front of him.

“I hate this country. I will do everything in my power to stop its evil path of destruction. It is an entity that destroys its own people. It is at war with its own. It has separated the poor from the rich and has exploited the poor for years. It is a racist entity that thrives on hatred and ignorance. I will undermine the authority of this-”

A hand reaches out from the darkness and pushes a button on the player.

“I think we’ve heard enough. Lights please.” Such a large amount of light comes on that Comrade Stewart must close his eyes so that he does not loose his sight. When he slowly opens his eyes he sees a group of men sitting at a table and an older man standing at the end of the table where the uniformed man once sat. This older man is in green uniform and looks with pity at Comrade Stewart.

“Dawson?” Comrade Stewart seems to recognize this man and he is indeed an old friend, a friend who he was to have over for dinner the following night. His friend turns his back, frowns and walks over to the clerk with the odd-looking typewriter and whispers into his ear. Then the man walks past under the intent gaze of Comrade Stewart; he then sits down in a chair perpendicular to Comrade Stewart and next to the man in the uniform who had interrogated him earlier.

The clerk pulls a sheet of paper from the typewriter and walks over to a man who sits in a dark robe, white wiry hair emanating from his head, and sits down again prepared to type. The man in the robe sits among six other men in robes. The room they are in is decadently decorated akin to the art deco style of the 1940s, an age long lost from Comrade Stewart’s standpoint.

The man in the robe speaks, “Defense! How do you plead?”

The man who had interrogated Comrade Stewart stands up slowly and says, “Guilty your Eminence.”

“Prosecution?”

A man sitting to the left of Comrade Stewart stands up, he is much like the man who had brought the tape player, his blonde hair combed over in the same style. “The prosecution recommends thought rehabilitation and hard manual labor to make up for the accused ‘s debt to society.”

“I have before me a full confession by Comrade Stewart that these thoughts are indeed his and I will thereby punish him to death by hanging.”