Friday, February 4, 2011

The Police Station

The cuff's cut into Ana's wrists. Fifty years ago, she would have demanded they be loosened, demanded a phone call, demanded to be treated with respect! But now, she sat silently on the low wooden bench and leaned her shoulder into the green wall behind it. She listened to the unfamiliar sounds and thought about the family that had been left behind.

"You're Ana?" The voice was filled of incredulity, the eyes disbelieving as they scanned over Ana's aged body. Ana looked up and met his eyes. She didn't deny or confirm the accusation. "Ana Spader?" the man asked again.

Ana continued to stare at the him. He was tall, at least from her seated perspective. His hair was slicked back against his scalp. Little lines of scalp  showed between the stiff rows of almost black hair. He was dressed in the usual royal blue of the department and carried a clip-board in front of him. She wondered if he was purposefully blocking his ID tag or if it as an unconscious action.

He reached out and placed a hand under her arm. Applying more pressure than necessary, he pressed his thumb into her armpit. Involuntarily, she stood as quickly as she could. The pain caused her to inhale sharply. Ana felt a slight resurgence of her post-women'- rights-anger return. She stumbled beside the man, careful to stay on her toes to keep from feeling his thumb sharply implanted into the tenderness of her armpit.

They walked through a blue hallway and into a small space. She knew fifty years ago, she would have been brought into an interrogation room. She would have been offered a chair, had a table, and possibly coffee. Now she found herself ushered into a cage. Her eyes grew wide at her surroundings. Her mouth pulled tight, the placid face now displaying a hard scowl. Bars criss-crossed to form walls. Even the floor and ceiling were made from bars. In the corner, a mat lay on the floor. It was no different than the kennel she had used for training her puppies when she was in her early 20's. 

The man let go of her arm. Grabbing one shoulder, he turned her to face him. He looked at her deep wrinkles and her thin white hair, still trying to convince himself that she was the bag of flesh, bones, and inspiration that had roused two generations of women to rebel against a system that was built for their own good. He couldn't find the evidence in her face. He exhaled deeply, shaking his head slightly before moving on to reading Ana the charges she had accumulated.

"Ana Spader, you are charged with inciting violence against the state, one count for each 20 years of activity; you are charged with conspiring against the government in proposing your own agenda for equal treatment of women, one count for each speech and document you sent to officials of the state; you are charged with voicing your opinion in a public format, one count for each radio, television, and personal interview you gave; you are charged with the organization of women's groups that did not meet the requirements as determined by the state, one count for each organization; you are charged for operating as a therapist, a counselor, and an advocate after the state repealed the right of women to work, once for each year of activity under the law; Ana Spader, you are also charged with treason against the state, against the women you told you were helping, and against the men who then had to retrain those women. There are likely to be other charges filed. Until then, this will be the space that you will occupy. Your meals will be brought here on a schedule and you will also be allowed to use the bathroom to de-pollute yourself on a similar schedule. Otherwise, you will remain here in solitary confinement as you are considered a danger to the other incarcerated women. If you have any questions or would like to make a statement to be considered at the trial, I am prepared to take that for you."

After the long speech, he looked back to the old woman. She was standing taller than before and a large smile now rested on her face. She spoke softly, so softly that the officer found himself leaning in close to hear what she had said. "Child, was your mother a happy woman?"

He stared at her, unsure of what to say. Memories flooded him. His mother was capable and she had smiled a lot. But he never believed she was truly happy. His wife, he felt, acted the same way. Her soft voice worked into his thoughts. "I see," she said. "I see. As I am guilty until proven innocent, then I lose nothing in telling you that I still have not accomplished my goal. But that day is coming soon young man. When that day comes, you will see what a truly happy woman looks like. It will melt your heart and make you question the things your great-grandfathers have done."

Ana turned from the officer and walked to her mat. She sat down and leaned her shoulder into the bars.

***Daily Writing Practice ***


  1. Intriguing piece, but didnt quite click with me. Mainly because I cant imagine a world that repealed women's rights. If I read this right, then this is a dystopian future. I'd be very interested in knowing what led to these drastic measures. This is one where i need more backstory to make it click.

  2. Heather I really like this piece may I share it with others?

  3. David- I'll leave this comment on Daily Writing Practice as well, but there are some bills dealing with women's rights that some in congress are attempting to overturn as we speak. (The one that specifically sparked this piece was the one on redefining rape which is closely tied to abortion and a woman's right to decide what is done-- or not done-- to her body.)

    Vicki- Please feel free. Should I fix the grammar errors I found first?

  4. I love 'what if' stories. They always make me appreciate the rights I have. Great story, Heather.

  5. Thank you Monica. I keep looking for your next installment. I am waiting patiently. I no whatever you write will be worth it.

  6. Heather I started to write what you wrote to David but felt that it was up to you to.

    I would like to add that there over the past few years have been proposal for bills that would limit the ability to peacefully demonstrate. So there is more going on out there that is a bit frightening for individual's rights.

    I wouldn't worry about your few errors.

  7. Wow, a really interesting counterfactual history! I know you haven't specified a time period, but when I read it it feels a little like history; I think that's because I'd really rather not imagine it as a future!


  8. I loved the short mention of men having to `retrain` their women - it really captured the theme of the piece nicely.

    I`m with Greg on the past rather than the future thing. Though I`d like to think they couldn`t get away with such nonsense these days, I`m aware that humanity will never cease to amaze me, for better and for worse.