Disclaimer: I own nothing except for my new character, Anita. Everything else, the plot and some of the dialogue, belongs to Aldous Huxley.
Author: born to be hanged a.k.a. Meltintalle
Title: The Soma Distribution
Rating: PG-13 (for adult themes)
Genre(s): Drama / General
Compact Summary: At the soma distribution when John makes a scene. This is a short tale of Anita, one of the red-haired, freckled Delta twins, and her own introspection as a possible individual. Rating for adult themes in Huxley's novel. Enjoy!
Author's Note: I wrote this for my Honors English class as an assignment. I was supposed to try to imitate Huxley's style. I thought I'd have an awful time writing it, but I actually ended up having a lot of fun, so this is why I thought I'd post it. Anyway. It's kind of sad that there are only two stories in this category, mine included. Oh well. To anyone who reads, please enjoy! And if you feel the desire to review (which I'm sure you do :P), please do. Constructive criticism is welcome, and also reactions.
To littlevictories: Thanks for reviewing! Actually, I had to record the vocabulary that I didn't know when I was reading the book, and then use 30 words in this.
To Mlle. Verity: Thanks, I hadn't really thought of that. A good point. But I suppose that anyone, even an Epsilon, would have the ability to think; I guess their conditioning prevents from thinking about thinking. Hehe.
To Amry: Thanks! I'm not sure about deep (lol); I'm not very good with deep, though I try. I was actually thinking something along the lines of that when I was writing the story, except that I was thinking about anyone in general in Huxley's novel. Hehe. That's why I made that ending. Seems suitable. Thanks for reviewing!
To Crystal: You make me blush. :P Hehe, yep, my English teacher thought it was a pretty good imitation, and I did get an A. I'm glad you enjoyed!
To kesterel2106: Isn't the book marvelous? It's really amazing, that Huxley wrote something like that during that time. Hehe, I'm flattered. There's no more as of now, but perhaps if I get a flash of inspiration after finals and SATs are over, I'll write more. Thanks so much for reviewing!
The Soma Distribution
"No, I can't believe that!" Anita exclaimed, drawing a pale hand through her thick, sleek, copper hair.
"Believe it!" the nurse replied vehemently. "The poor things have been traumatized, seeing one of their own being slapped around by that Savage."
"He slapped one of them?" Anita asked, horrified. "That is just too awful. I would report it. That kind of behavior could destroy a year's worth of death conditioning, especially with his maudlin conduct and whatnot."
"Oh, I know. Hopefully it wasn't too terrible for the poor things. I did give them chocolate éclairs," she added thoughtfully.
A deep, growling voice accompanied the sharp jab of an elbow in her side, and Anita quickly clutched it, smoothing the rumpled clothing over her torso. She spun around, automatically ready to reproach the offender. "That was rude-"
Her voice failed when she saw that it was that Savage, the one who she had just been talking about. She eagerly looked over her fellow Deltas' shoulders, trying to get a good view of his profile as he shoved his way through the throng in the vestibule. His usually pallid face was florid with emotion, his stance filled with apprehension, anxiety, and ire. When he straightened his spine, he stood taller than all of them. She watched as he roughly made a path for himself through the assembly of people.
"Who does he think he is, shoving people aside like that?" she said indignantly, turning to look at the nurse.
The nurse wasn't there anymore. Anita shrugged inwardly, then turned back to watch the Savage in fascination. However, he was quickly stalking away from her view. Knowing that she couldn't very well follow him, she allowed her thoughts to settle reluctantly on the soma distribution that she had been waiting for all day. However, these thoughts seemed somewhat trivial in comparison.
'My, it's been such a day,' she thought disinterestedly, trying to shake the feeling of imminence that seemed to be clinging to her thoughts. She began to smooth her khaki apparel, noting with pleasure that the synthetic material was flattening with a light touch. She tucked a stray lock of her copper hair behind her ear, smoothing it carefully.
A murmur carried through the crowd. She looked up, her curiosity acute. He was standing amongst the multitude, contemplating she was sure. His unanimity seemed to separate him from the rest of the people. It seemed to her as if he were standing in the midst of a burgeoning ocean of living entities. He opened his mouth to speak.
She tilted her head, interested to hear what he had to say despite herself. His eccentric presence seemed to be calling for her attention, and she let her curiosity capture her.
She was too far from him to hear. "Excuse me, pardon me. Oh! Pardon me," she said almost urgently, dipping down under people's arms and slipping through the labyrinth of Deltas. Her anticipation grew as his voice became audible to her ears.
"…goodly creatures are there here!" His peculiar voice reached her ears, and she wondered why his tone was so derisive of his words. He was shaking with emotion. "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world…." The words seemed to be an axiomatic yet ironic truth to him, though she found it odd.
'What in the name of Ford was that supposed to mean?' she wondered as she observed him. He stared around himself, his expression changing from confoundment to abhorrence and absolute loathing. For a moment he seemed to be looking straight at her. But before she could react, he appeared as if he was looking through her, as if she were a glass demijohn.
"Soma distribution!" The slamming of the door and the booming voice of the jaunty brunet Alpha calling for their attention interrupted her thoughts abruptly. She watched eagerly as a small chair and a flimsy table were brought forth for him, all thoughts of the Savage flying from her mind for the moment.
The clap of the black iron box on the wooden table made the crowd quiet. Almost every pair of eyes was on the young Alpha as he unlocked it and opened the lid.
"Oo-oh!" Anita's voice went along with all of the other Deltas' voices.
"Now, step forward, please," he said clearly and peremptorily. "One at a time and no shoving."
Anita followed the example of her fellow Deltas and took her place in line calmly, albeit readily and without delay. She folded her hands in front of her, trying very hard to be patient. She watched as the first Delta took his ration for the day.
"Thank you, good sir," he said cheerfully, but she found his voice dull. Anita sighed impatiently. She needed some soma. She was already beginning to feel bored, and she knew what emotion would threaten to surface if boredom ensued.
"O brave new world, O brave new world…."
Anita turned to her left. The Savage was standing in tumult with himself, the only person outside of the line. 'Don't look at him,' she commanded herself. She wished the Deputy Sub-Bursar would hurry a bit. She certainly did not like what the Savage was doing and saying. She tried to concentrate on the ensuing elation that the soma would soon produce. Her desire for the soma was only a small portion in the palpitating crowd.
"No shoving there now!" The Deputy Sub-Bursar shut the lid of the box furiously. "I shall stop the distribution unless I have good behavior," he said sententiously. The Deltas quickly composed themselves. Upon seeing this, he reopened the lid and continued to distribute.
'Ah, just one more to go, then it's my turn,' Anita thought gleefully. The Delta man in front of her took his ration, and she stepped forward. She eagerly held out her hand for the pill bottle, and smiled as it was dropped into her palm.
Anita jumped, nearly dropping her pills.
"Ford! It's the Savage," said the Deputy Sub-Bursar. Anita just watched as the Savage pushed his way to where they stood, horrified.
"Listen, I beg of you! Lend me your ears. Don't take that horrible stuff. It's poison, it's poison."
Anita put her hands over her ears, not wanting to hear what he would say next. How could soma be poison? She shook her head as if to throw the thought away from her. But she couldn't help hearing what he said next.
"Throw it all away, that horrible poison." He said the word 'poison' in a plangent voice.
Anita put her hands down, feeling her blood begin to boil. She felt herself become part of the angry vibe that traveled through the throng in the vestibule. She simply couldn't believe his callow words. Soma? Poison? This was impossible. She couldn't even believe that he was saying such things.
She listened as the Savage called them slaves and babies, becoming more enraged by the minute. She listened in rage as he began to prattle about freedom. 'As if you know anything about freedom!' she thought furiously.
Suddenly he grabbed the soma pill boxes, opened one of the windows, and was throwing handfuls of them outside. Anita, along with the mob, fell silent. Her astonishment was growing by the second. She backed further away into the crowd, feeling more secure with the other Deltas around her.
There were shouts as another man leapt forward to help the abject Savage. Helmholtz Watson – yes! Helmholtz Watson – was also throwing the soma out the window. They shouted that everyone was free. But Anita rushed forward with the crowd in a fury. The condensed anger of the Deltas had finally fulminated. The Savage's solecism had to be set right; he simply had to learn that he could not call soma a poison, then throw it away carelessly. This turpitude would not be forgotten easily, and it seemed the two men would not be deterred with only cajolery.
Before anything truly drastic could happen, great clouds of soma vapor were upon them all. Anita felt herself relax into a peaceful state. In response to the Voice of Reason, she felt herself begin to weep. She joined in an embrace with several other Deltas, glad that all of them felt this way too.
A minute later, a new box of soma pill boxes was brought forth, and the distribution continued. Anita left the Park Lane Hospital for the Dying in a teary and blubbering state.
Anita quickly shut the door to her apartment. She sank into the pneumatic pillows of her sofa, her fingers already grasping the pill box in her purse. She shook it, relishing the sound of the little pills clapping against each other.
She pushed the lid down to open it, but stopped.
'What did he mean by poison?' The thought coursed through her mind uncontrollably.
Anita scowled, flicking her copper hair behind her shoulder. 'That's ridiculous,' she thought decisively. 'Soma is- Well, I really can't describe, that's how wonderful it is.'
She twisted the cap.
'Poison to the soul as well as the body.'
'That is the silliest thing I have ever heard.' Anita opened the bottle, wondering what she could do tonight. Perhaps a night at one of the clubs would be nice. Oh, or she could ask that one fellow out to dinner, the one she had met while she was on her way to work that morning. He had given her his number. She wondered where she had put it.
'But you completely missed his point.'
Anita could not stop the thought from running through her mind. She closed the bottle despite of herself, putting it roughly down on her mosaic coffee table. She glanced at the large glass window that looked out over the city. Quickly, she walked towards it, noting that the silky curtains were asunder. She looked down, watching the many vehicles racing down the swarming streets. A particular automobile caught her eye. The driver stopped at a red light. It was an old flivver, standing out greatly while it was next to the new automobiles, sleek and dark. She immediately decided that she would hate it. Why should she like something that was old when she could like the new flashy cars?
'But why not?'
Anita frowned, not liking where her thoughts were leading her. She knew she had not missed the Savage's point, and she was sure that this was the reason why she was thinking these peculiar thoughts. That was why she was thinking these abnormal thoughts.
'And why in Ford's name would understanding that Savage make me think like this?" She watched the old flivver chug away slowly, while the shiny black convertible sped past it.
Suddenly feeling self-conscious because of her private thoughts, Anita quickly closed the curtains. "This is silly," she said aloud. She strode over to the coffee table, reaching for the soma tablets. But she didn't pick the container up.
'You're just evading the truth.'
"That's not it!" she cried when this last thought surfaced. "I am not evading anything! I don't even understand it." She turned abruptly and opened her cupboard. She extracted a bottle of fine wine, and poured herself a glass, vaguely realizing that she was having a drink alone for the first time in years. 'But is solitude so horrible?' she asked herself. She knew that to a good sociable English girl the answer would be yes. 'But what is your answer?'
Anita frowned, taking a sip of the wine. 'I guess it's really not that bad,' she thought hesitantly. 'But what does that have to do with soma?' She took another sip, allowing her eyes to flicker towards the pills on the table.
'The freedom to choose.' Freedom. That was the Savage's word.
Anita poured herself some more wine. 'To choose between what? Between taking soma and refusing it?' She swallowed a large mouthful of the beverage, savoring its taste. What was soma to her? She looked at it, sitting on the little table peacefully, calling for her to take a few pills.
'What would refusing soma do?' Anita found herself wondering. She really had no idea. She had never refused soma. There was never any choice for her. Everyone took it, everyone used it. There wasn't anyone who just didn't use soma.
'Except for the Savage.'
'Yes,' Anita thought slightly bitterly. 'The Savage obviously doesn't use soma. And look at him. He's completely mad.' She held up her wine glass, looking at the way the glass reflected the light. But what had the Savage meant by freedom? In her mind, she thought she might have an idea, but she was too hesitant to bring it forth. To be proud of one's individuality was just too much. In fact, it was directly against Ford's ways.
'But in a way isn't everyone an individual?' Anita wondered. 'Aren't I an individual? I, the English girl who is sitting alone in her apartment, drinking to herself, with not a soma tablet in her stomach, thinking about the absurd things that the Savage said. If that isn't an individual-'
Anita suddenly felt horrified. She put the wine glass down.
"Oh, how could I?" she wailed. She rushed across the room to the little table, and grabbed the container vigorously. She popped open the lid, not hesitating to pour out a couple of pills.
'How could I think like that? To think that I was contemplating the Savage's words, to think that I was taking him seriously! Soma? Poison?'
"Isn't that the most absurd thing you have ever heard in your life?"
Anita threw the pills into her mouth and swallowed.