This is, of all things, a Urinetown fanfiction. There will be a couple of slight spoilers, so be warned!


Josephine Strong glares out from beneath her heavy curtain of faded auburn hair. "Mrs Josephine Strong," she snaps, pulling her threadbare cardigan tighter around herself. "Forty-three. Whaddaya want?" Her voice is a strange mixture of terror and defiance.

"We gotta tell ya somethin'," says Officer Lockstock, pulling out a notepad. "About your husband."

"Yeah," Barrel chips in, leaning his muddy shovel against the ground. "About Joseph "Old Man" Strong."

Josephine sags slightly. "What's Joseph done now, officers?"

Lockstock smirks. "He broke the Public Health Act."

"And the Water Preservation Act," adds Barrel.

"Yes, thank you, Barrel," says Lockstock impatiently. "And the Water Preservation Act. Intentionally."

Josephine bites her lip. "Where's my husband? What have you done to him?" she asks croakily.

Barrel smirked. "He's been exiled, Mrs Strong."

"To Urinetown?" Her voice cracks on the final syllable, and she breathes deeply for a second before shaking her head. "You can't do this," she says finally. "My Joseph's a good man. He'd never intentionally break the laws. Sure, he's been a little nutty lately, but he'd never-" She stops as Lockstock smirks, shaking his head.

"We have a transcript," he says, handing her the notepad. "Here. Read."

Her eyes flicker across the page, but her face remains steady. She hands it back. "I don't believe it. One of your stoolies must've written this so you'd have a reason to take my Joseph away. You've always had a grudge against him, haven't you, Officer?" She glares at Lockstock. "Ever since his team beat yours in that quiz night, before the Stink Years."

"This has nothing to do with that," Lockstock says coolly. "And you should watch your mouth around us, Mrs Strong. It certainly did happen, and your son would tell you the same."

Josephine's hand flies up to her mouth. "Bobby," she whispers. "I have to find Bobby."

Lockstock looks at her. "I hope you realise your predicament," he says finally. "Mrs Strong, your husband's already in Urinetown. If you're not careful, if you don't keep your mouth shut, you'll end up in the same place." He nods to her. "Good day, Mrs Strong." He and Barrel walk off without looking back.

Josephine sinks to the ground, her hands clenched in fists. "Oh, Joseph," she whispers. "Joseph, what did you do?"

"He peed on the pavement," said Little Becky Two-Shoes, limping past. She sits down next to Josephine. "Right in front of everybody. Everyone was freakin' out about it. 'Speshly Bobby."

Josephine tucks her hair behind her ears, pressing her lips together to keep them from shaking. "I see. Becky, how's the baby going?" She looks meaningfully at Becky's stomach, which is heavy and swollen with pregnancy, and then at her left hand, which is bare.

Becky shrugs. "Okay, I guess. The father don't want nothin' to do with it, though."

Josephine smiled tightly. "At least Bobby's father wanted something to do with him."

Becky grins. "Old Ma Strong, you got a bun in the oven before you were married too?"

"Oh yes." Josephine stretches out her legs in front of her, and her eyes take on a dreamy cast. "It was the Stink Years, ya know. Loads of people did stuff they wouldn't've done if they hadn't've thought they was gonna die. Why, Ms Pennywise-" She cuts herself off. "Naw, I promised her I wouldn't say anything. She'd kill me with her bare hands if I did." She shrugs. "But yeah, I got pregnant. Didn't matter so much 'cos me and Joseph were engaged anyway, I guess. But it would've caused some real problems normal times. My pa was the minister here, ya know." She grins, looking almost like the girl she'd once been. "So he'd've been furious 'bout it if he hadn't died, and my ma before him." She rests her hands on her stomach in an almost wistful fashion. "So when Bobby was born, I named him after Pa. Like a tribute or something, I guess. He's a good boy, my Bobby. And he's got morals, like his grandpa before him. But now his Pa's gone, and I really don't know how he's gonna cope with it. He really loves his pa."

Becky sighed. "Well, at least my baby's daddy ain't dead."

"Dead?!" Josephine leaps to her feet. "Don't say that, don't you dare say that! Joseph ain't dead, he's just been sent to Urinetown!"

"Don't you know what Urinetown is, Old Ma Strong?" Becky stands up, leaning against the wall. "Everyone knows it, they just don't want to say! Urinetown's death!"

"Don't say that, Becky, don't say that!" Josephine covers her eyes with one hand. "My Joseph can't be dead."

Becky shrugs. "Why'd you think Barrel was carrying a shovel when he was talkin' to ya?"

"He ain't dead!" Josephine insists. "He can't be!" She walks away quickly, hand to her face so Becky won't see her tears. "Oh, Joseph, oh Joseph," she murmurs to herself. "Oh, Joseph, what's become of you?"