Friday, December 10, 2004


Winston pulled his coat collar around his neck as a gust of wind and rain swept against him. He reached the door of his apartment building as another tenent was heading out. He ascended the steps to his third story flat, bypassing the elevator which again was out of service. Winston had given up complaining about its malfunctioning, after being told that "you have to go with the elevators you have."

He was almost into the relatively safety of his flat when the daughter of his neighbor and coworker at the Ministry of Truth, Matthew Drudgery, rushed into the hall waiving one of those plastic models of the Ministry of Peace's latest gadgetry of shock and awe. "I've got you in my sights and will vaporize you, yeah!!" shouted the child. The child's mother appeared at the entrance of their door, slightly embarrased, and shooed the child back in. "They start them so young, you know," Mrs. Drudgery said in resignment.

Feeling slightly flustered, Winston entered his flat to the sound of the Faux Telly Screen bleating out the latest reports from the Party's ministries of Peace, Love, Truth and Plenty. The report from the Ministry of Peace was reassuring. The Party was now projecting that the number of troops stationed in Eastasia (Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia) would drop to
550,000 by the spring. Although Winston was well aware that the original number of troops sent to Eastasia had been 90,000, and that this number had been projected to decline till all the troops were back home, in some previous year long forgotten...Winston couldn't remember exactly.

Winston sighed (a dangerous tendency given the Faux Telly Screen's ability to both transmit as well as receive images and information) as he reached into his tiny refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of gin. Winston was on his lunch break. His duties at the Ministry of Truth involved maintaining the Party's news archives. Actually, Winston was responsible for changing historically reported events and information to conform with the current reports and estimates from the Party's other ministries.

This morning, for instance, Winston had been sent an archival document from last summer in which the Ministry of Plenty's spokesperson, Scotty McClemmons, had given a statement projecting the expected deficit in 2009 to be $850 billion. The Party was predicting that it would succeed in cutting the deficit in half by the end of the decade. This was now incorrect. The latest estimates were that the budget deficit would reach $1.3 trillion, and the older report would have to be edited to make it appear that last summer's estimate had been for a 2009 deficit of $1.7 trillion and that the new estimates showed the Party was now ahead of schedule. One of Winston's colleagues in the Ministry of Truth, Lush Bimbo, had remarked to Winston what a good job the Ministry of Plenty was doing this year, while they had coffee in the Ministry's cafeteria. "The Ministry of Plenty has really outdone themselves this year, haven't they, Winston?", Lush chimed. "They're projecting a cut in the deficit from $1.7 trillion to $1.3 trillion." Winston secretly disliked Lush Bimbo. Lush was the type of Party member that swallowed the Party's pronouncements with the most gullible acceptance, but also the type upon which the Party was most dependent on for its support.

Winston returned to the last sips of gin before turning to his next task. Arranging himself at his desk just out of the vision of the Faux Telly Screen, Winston cautiously reached into the drawer and pulled out a worn but unused notebook, the kind that had been popular some years before, but which now, because Party members were not permitted to write, were hard to come by.

Winston pulled out a short, broken pencil, of the kind that also used to be common, that he had found on the street two days ago.

With both the decrepit pencil and the worn notebook, Winston began to write.

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