District 13

“What the hell am I going to do with these people?” George shook his heavy, balding head into his left hand while staring blankly down at the cluttered desk. “I’m the damned Minister of Internal Populations and these freaks are living in holes.”

“They aren’t exactly living in holes, sir,” a young man countered from a green wing-backed chair across the large desk, “not all of them at least.”

“Fucking hobbits, is what they are, Tom, nothing but fucking hobbits living in holes. What the hell am I going to do with them?” cried George. “These freaks probably aren’t even paying taxes.”

“That isn’t quite true, sir,” Tom suppressed a grin, “they are paying both income and property taxes. It’s just that their incomes are so small the revenues from the former aren’t really amounting to much.”

“I bet they don’t even vote,” snorted the more senior official.

“Actually, District 13 has consecutively had the country’s highest rate of voter turn out for the past five elections. Pretty impressive considering turnout rates have been dropping in every other district these last six years.” Tom arched his thin eyebrows and looked at George. “Moreover, elected representatives from District 13 are among the most active parliamentarians.”

George gaped vacantly in Tom’s direction.

“It’s just they aren’t voting for us, sir,” explained Tom patiently, “as a matter of fact, the constituents in District 13 refuse to vote for any party. Political parties are like an anathema to them. They say a party-based system isn’t really a democracy, so every elected representative must agree from the outset not to join a party. Instead, the individual politicians form some sort of coalition in order to advance local agendas.” Tom stopped his explanation to assess his boss, whose face was rapidly loosing colour.

“What am I going to do with these people?” repeated George with a growing look of horror. “The Prime Plebeian is not going to like this.”

“Well, sir,” began Tom hopefully, “I’m not sure you need to do anything just now. The media hasn’t seemed to pick up on District 13 just yet. In fact, the anti-commercialism of the community there, makes District 13 just has abhorrent to the media as to political parties,” Tom laughed. “I’m afraid that if we kick up to much of a fuss about the district, more attention might be paid to them.”

The colour in George’s face had still not returned. “You’re saying we do nothing about this, Tom?”

“Yes, sir, for now.”

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