Of course, the police were at my house a couple of hours later. I was expecting them. I wasn’t expecting the multitude of reporters that accompanied them. A large circus-like caravan arrived at my house. The flashing lights of the police cars led them to my front door. News vans and police cars alike tried to find parking spaces on the narrow street where I lived. The police pretended to create some order by putting up the yellow police line tape and using a couple of the new hires to make sure everybody kept their distance so the detectives could do their job properly. It didn’t really stop anything; it just gave the media the best angle possible to record my arrest. It also allowed the mothers of the neighborhood to gather on the driveway of the house across the street and whisper about how they knew they were right about me. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but their furtive glances, and pointing fingers told it all. I knew I was going to be the subject of many conversations over the next couple of weeks in this neighborhood and many like it across America.
I spent that hour preparing for the finest moment in my life. I took off that hideous dress and threw it in the fire with Mr. Clicky-Pen and Dr. Blur’s clipboard. I wiped off all of the make-up to feel more human before I took center stage. I let my hair down to show the world I wouldn’t need to be blonde in order to be respected by people in this world. I put on a business suit I had sewn during my free time as I waited for this day to come. I told Brandon and the kids not to worry about me because there was nothing to worry about. I took my file and placed it in front of me on the kitchen table. I was ready for this.
All of the time I was preparing, police were setting up their three rings believing that they would be the ringmaster, but they didn’t know this role still had not been assigned. I knew the show had started when there was a knock on the door and a rough man’s voice said from the other side, “Open up, Police!”
Brandon had dressed in the meantime and was working off his hangover with a cup of coffee when this call came. He looked over at me with a worried expression on his face. I could just imagine what was going through his mind. He was probably worried he would lose another wife and mother to his children. He was probably thinking the children would have a difficult time recovering once again from this loss. He was also probably wondering if he would be able to find another woman to take the place of Abby and me. It hurt me a little to recognize these thoughts in him, but I knew what I was doing was the right thing, and he, Ben, Katie, and many other families like them would be better off for my actions.
I looked up at him. “Do you have that file I told you to keep?”
He nodded his head trying to hold back the tears about to come. I didn’t know how much I had become a part of his life until that moment. Even though I had been following my own interpretation of the standards laid out in the National Caring and Loving Behavior Act, I must have still been making an impact. It made me think about the damage I might be doing to this family again. Was I really helping them by taking down this absurd law or was I just another person playing the system for the benefit of my own agenda, not caring about who I stepped on through the process? It was too late to worry about that anymore because certain cards had already been laid on the table and there was no taking them back. I had to continue down this path and hope Brandon, Ben, and Katie wouldn’t think of me as just another individual who had let them down. I hoped maybe after the battle had been waged and all of the dust had settled they would see my actions for what I believed they really were.
I had a path to go down and now was not the time to second guess my actions. I continued along the path by ignoring the tears in Brandon’s eyes and saying, “Remember, I am the only one who can tell you when to bring that file out. It is very important you keep it safe until then. You will have to trust me. Also keep your head up because it is your courage that gives me mine.” I got up from the table and gave him a kiss. It might have been one of the most honest kisses I ever gave because at that moment I truly felt a love in my heart for Brandon. In fact, it might have been the most honest kiss I have ever given.
Another knock on the door came. “This is your final warning. Open this door now or we will break it down.” I couldn’t believe how much weight they put on my arrest. I was just a mother, not some criminal out to destroy the moral fabric of this country. Even though motherhood was still the buzzword of this time, I can’t still understand why they made such a big deal about this arrest.
I picked up the file from the kitchen table and walked to the front door. Before I walked outside, I looked back at Brandon. The kids had huddled around him, and I gave him a smile to bring him and the children courage in the dark days ahead. Then I shouted out the door, “I’m coming out. I have no weapons in my hands expect for my file. I’m coming out peacefully and am willing to work with the police in this matter, but I want you do the same.”
A voice came from the other side of the door. “We cannot guarantee that Mrs. Britva.”
“Keep in mind there is an army of reporters parked on my front lawn recording every move you and I make.”
The voice from the other side of the door returned. “We can guarantee a peaceful arrest, Mrs. Britva.”
“Good.” I opened the door and walked out onto the porch. There were six police officers dressed in riot gear standing on my front porch. The one in the lead held a pair of handcuffs in his gloved hand, and motioned he was going to have to put them on me.
He looked at me said, “Mrs. Britva, you are under arrest for violation of the National Caring and Loving Behavior Act.” He grabbed my hand and was bringing down the handcuff to place it on my wrist.
He stopped when I said, “Officer, you can’t arrest me yet.”
“Why can’t I arrest you yet?”
I had done a little homework before this day came, and I knew the arrest was inevitable; at the same time, I needed it to happen in the right place, at the right time and this wasn’t it. I had another card in my hand I needed to show before all of this played out. “Officer, what is your name?”
“Officer Provata, have you read the National Caring and Loving Behavior Act?”
“Well, yea…umm…well…no, I haven’t.”
“Well, if you had read it, you would know there is a provision saying arrests of non-proficient mothers can only be made after the reasons for non-proficiency have been discussed in a private conference with the assessor making the claim of non-proficiency.”
Officer Provata stood there with his mouth open, the handcuffs in one hand and my wrist in the other. “Huh?”
“In order to formally charge me with being in violation of the National Caring and Loving Behavior Act, my assessor needs to explain to me in a private meeting the reasons why she thinks I have broken these rules.”
I couldn’t believe this was the type of person in charge of enforcing the laws of our land. “Legally, I need to have a private meeting with Dr. Blur before you can arrest me.”
Something clicked within the deep recesses of this man’s mind. “Ohhh, Can you hold on for a second?”
He let go of my wrist and put the handcuffs back in his back pocket. I smiled at him to reassure him I understood what was happening. “Of course, Officer Provata.”
He turned around from me and started talking in a mumbled voice into his walkie talkie. Another voice, clearly female, returned from the other end, “What?”
Officer Provata once again mumbled something incoherent into his communication device and was rewarded with static. He waited patiently and turned to me to give me a smile. He tapped his feet as the rest of the officers looked around aimlessly. One of them waved to the reporters on my front lawn. Officer Provata grabbed the other officer’s hand and pulled it down to his side. He turned back to me and smiled again. The walkie talkie beeped and Officer Provata answered it, “Yes?”
“Bring her to me,” came the voice from the other end of the walkie talkie.
“Okay,” Officer Provata replied. He then turned to face the reporters who had assembled on my front lawn. The mothers who were waiting to see me dragged away from their neighborhood also leaned in to hear what he was going to say.
“Ladies and members of the press,” Officer Provata started, “it has come to my attention that Mrs. Britva is entitled to an assessment review to be delivered by her assessor. Because of this, we are unable to arrest her at this time.”
There were groans emanating from the crowd. One of the mothers stomped her foot in frustration and one of the reporters holding a microphone tossed it on the ground. Cameras were turned off and people started to shuffle away from the scene. I could even hear a producer from one of the production vans saying, “Great, I guess we’re going to have to go with that panda video on YouTube as our opening story.”
Officer Provata brought them all back before they left the scene for good, “Ladies and members of the press!” They all turned back around to hear what he had to say. “Just because we can’t arrest her now doesn’t mean we can’t arrest her after the assessment meeting.”
One of the reporters looked up and said, “You mean we might still be able to get footage of an arrest today?”
One of the mothers in the neighborhood said, “You mean we might still be able to get rid of the white trash living in that house?”
Officer Provata raised his hands to quickly pacify the crowd, “Yes, ladies and members of the press, your wildest dreams may still be granted today. You just need to follow me to the next stop.”
A loud cheer went up from the crowd and they all rushed to their cars. Officer Provata looked back at me, “Well, Mrs. Britva, are you ready to go to your assessment review?”
I looked down at the file folder in my hand and then up at the policeman, “Yes, Officer Provata, I am.”
He motioned towards his car sitting in my driveway, “Then Mrs. Britva if you would be so kind as to accompany me, I’ll drive you down to your meeting.”
I walked down to the passenger side of the car. Officer Provata followed closely behind me and opened the door for me. I entered the seat and got myself cozy for the voyage ahead. He quickly ran around to the other side. He entered, started the car and backed out of the driveway. He slowly drove out of the neighborhood. I turned around in my seat to see the caravan following closely behind. There was a group of television vans following behind and numerous mini-vans and SUVs behind them. It was a bizarre procession traveling down the usually sleepy streets of my neighborhood. It was like watching a group heading towards a cemetery to bury a loved one. There was a police car in the front leading all of the mourners through the streets of town allowing them the right of way. The only difference was the way most of the people in the cars felt. The only ones who were grieving about this parade were back at my home, wondering why they took another mother away from them. The rest of the group was happy at the eminent demise of the person leading the motorcade.
I turned around to enjoy the free ride I was getting.
Officer Provata broke the silence in the car. “Mrs. Britva, I know it’s my job to bring you in, but I have to say I admire you for whatever it is you did today.”
I looked over at him, “Excuse me?”
“I mean I have been arresting mothers for the past six years for Nancy, and I have never seen her this mad before. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen her get mad. She is just one cool customer. I’ve never seen her get upset about anything, but you did something today that just sent her over the edge. What exactly did you do?”
I chuckled a little at this. “I’d love to tell you, Officer Provata, but I don’t think it is wise of me to disclose that information to anyone at this time.”
“Oh yeah, because of the Miranda Rights and all that kind of stuff. You’re probably right. But hey, you can tell me. I promise I won’t use what you say against you.” He looked over at me to see if I would tell him.
I just shook my head.
“Oh well, it was worth it anyway. The other guys at the precinct have been wondering if she would ever crack. We were talking about how she was like a bottle of soda that would eventually explode all over the place. There is no way anyone could ever hold that much in and not find some way to release it all. I’m glad to see somebody was able to break through her veneer.”
I gave the police officer my most endearing smile. “I’m glad I was able to give somebody some pleasure out of this experience today.”
Officer Provata let out a belly laugh as he pulled into one of the busier streets of the city. “Oh I’m going to laugh about this for years to come. She comes running into the police station with her hair sticking out all over the place, mumbling something about the death of a Mr. Penn. Anyway, it set the whole police staff on edge the moment she showed up. We didn’t recognize her at first because her hair was all a mess, her clothes were ripped and stained and she wasn’t even wearing any shoes. In fact, she had a potted plant on one of her feet.”
“That would be one of my ferns.”
“I’d love to hear how that got on her foot.” He looked over at me as if I would tell him, but I sat in silence and stared out the front window, “Anyway, my first initial reaction was that this woman was one of the homeless, crazy women wandering the streets of Denver. Granted, she might’ve witnessed something truly horrendous like a murder, but we would have to calm her down in order to get any good information out of her.
“I went over to calm her down. We kept on asking her who this Mr. Penn was, where his body was, and if she knew who had committed the act. We couldn’t get anything coherent out of her and she continued to wave around this package of ink cartridges as if that explained everything. That’s when I recognized her. When she heard me say her name, she ran over to the corner of the room and started shaking while huddling down; her arms wrapped around her knees.
“We left her in the room while we talked about what we were going to do with her. We obviously couldn’t report this to the press because it could possibly destroy the integrity of the Department of Motherhood. We couldn’t really go out and arrest anybody because nobody had heard about this Mr. Penn she was babbling on about and our databases only showed one person living anywhere in the state with that name. We called the individual and when he told us he was alive and well, we couldn’t quite figure out what to do about the situation. We needed her to collect herself so she could tell us exactly what was wrong. Until then we wouldn’t be able to do anything.
“I let her have my office so she could collect herself. I had another officer give her some coffee and talk her down from her hysteria. When she had calmed down enough, I was able to get one name out of her and how we needed to arrest that one person. That person was you, Mrs. Britva. I asked her what I was to charge you with because murder was definitely not anything I could connect to you. She told me I could arrest you for being an improper mother and that is what brought me to your door this afternoon.
“I still really want to know what you did to make her go crazy. I don’t suppose you’d like to tell me.”
I smiled at Officer Provata, “I think that is between Dr. Blur and me, but if it ever comes out in the press, I’ll make sure you are one of the first to know.”
He conceded my point by saying, “You’re probably right, but I have never met a person I’d like more to get what’s coming to her than Dr. Nancy Ann Blur. She has been a pain in the ass for the police department ever since that stupid act became a law. We’ve had to make more arrests than I know what to do with. Most of these arrests are not even worth it. I’ve been arresting mothers for the stupidest reasons while gangbangers, drug dealers, pimps, and corrupt corporate officers wander around free. One of my officers even had to go and arrest his own wife because she wasn’t able to pass her stupid assessment. I wish we could just get back to doing the job we were hired to do and quit worrying about all of this bureaucratic bullshit. Come on, most of these mothers are just trying to be the best mother they can possibly be. It’s not an easy job. I see my wife struggle with my five children every day. Her heart is in the right place. I don’t really see what all of these standards have to do with being a good mother or not.”
Officer Provata pulled into the parking lot of a large office building. The caravan following us pulled in and quickly took up the remaining parking spots. The circus had only been delayed for a little bit, but they were getting it ready again.
I patted Officer Provata on the knee. “You have a right to be worried about your wife and the standards they are trying to make her follow. They really have nothing to do with her being a good mother. Nobody can really see it. There is more to this than just the raising of our youth. As long as you, your wife, and everybody else who sees this injustice keeps fighting for the youth of America, we’ll fix this system that has been set up against us.”
“I hope you are right,” he said as he turned off the ignition of his car. “Are you ready to have your assessment meeting?”
“More than you really know.”
“Well then, let’s go.”
He opened the car door. I came out of the passenger side and followed him as he led me to my meeting with my nemesis. The golden clad mothers from my neighborhood had already created their gossiping circle on the corner of the parking lot. Many of the television stations were setting up their cameras. A couple of the more ambitious reporters had a cameraman follow them. These reporters had microphones in their hands and made their way to the building entrance in which Officer Provata and I were headed. They shoved their microphones into Officer Provata’s face and started asking him questions.
“What is Mrs. Britva being charged with?”
“How poorly did she score on her assessment to have this immediate reaction?”
“Will they yank away her privileges as mother to ensure she never corrupts the minds of our youth again?”
Many more questions were thrown in the officer’s direction but he continued to ignore them as he made his way to the entrance of the building. Before he entered, he turned and faced the throng of reporters. “Mrs. Rachael Britva is not being charged with anything formally at this time and will not be until she has had her assessment meeting with Dr. Nancy Ann Blur. At that time, there will be more information available, but until then you are just going to have to wait until she has been given due process as guaranteed by the United States Constitution. Thank you.”
He opened the door for me and ushered me inside. I could hear another collective groan from outside as the reporters were made to wait to see if they really had anything to report or not. I knew from experience, though, they would continue to postulate on the proceedings of the afternoon in order to keep their viewers interested.
Officer Provata led me down the hallway to a door that only had a brass nameplate on it. It read, “Secretary of Motherhood, Dr. N. A. Blur.” He knocked on the door, and was rewarded with a “Yes?” from the other side.
Officer Provata said in a loud but controlled voice, “Dr. Blur, I have Mrs. Britva here for her assessment meeting.”
“Send her in,” came from the other side.
Officer Provata took hold of the door knob and looked back at me standing in the hallway with my hands clutched around the file I brought with me. He smiled before opening the door and said, “Good luck.”
“Thanks,” I said and took a huge breath before continuing. Officer Provata opened the door for me and stood on the side to allow me to enter.
I walked into the room. She sat behind her desk. I was clocking her eyes like she was clocking mine. She was sitting there wondering, what is it this girl thinks she is doing; doesn’t she know who is in control.
Yes, I knew who was in control.
I was in control.
But it was time to let her know who was in control.
Before she could speak, before she could say a word, before she could bring my actions down as something absurd, I laid the file on the table, just for her to see what was really happening and the way it was going to be. A picture of her and Sam Hogston in the throes of passionate sex slid out and presented itself to her on the edge of her desk.
She let the picture lay there on the table.
By acknowledging its presence, she knew it was her turn to be the loser.
She opened her mouth. She started to speak, but I stopped her quickly before an utterance could be made.
“I think you know what that is.”
I didn’t look at the picture when I said it. I didn’t let her forget that it was there. I stared her down until she turned to look at what I was talking about.
She looked up from the picture and said, “So, it is a picture of two consenting adults making love. What’s the big deal about that?”
I walked over to the blinds behind her desk and pulled them open. The window behind the blinds was tinted so nobody would be able to see inside, but I was able to see the circus as it continued to set up.
“It is an interesting picture is all. I was wondering how the press outside would react to such a picture.”
I could hear her take in a quick breath as what I was saying started to sink in.
“I know it is no big deal, and it would probably blow over in a month or so because you and he are both not married, but that is not the real shocker; is it?” I looked away from the window to see what her reaction was. Dr. Blur gripped the picture in her hand and stared down at it. I could see her contemplate what this meant for her as a politician.
“The real shocker is who he is. I mean here is a man who is one of the leading figures in a different political party than you, and the two of you are in bed together. That’s quite a shocker. The press would have a lot of fun with that and what would the leading powers of your party think of you having sex with Sam Hogston?”
She looked up from the paper. “It’s nothing new. Do you think I’m the first person to be caught in bed with a member of the other party? It happens all of the time. Yes, we have our ideological wars taking place on the front pages of the newspapers and the headlines on the ten o’clock news, but if you really look at what the political parties do, there isn’t much difference between the two of them. Some people would even go so far as to say we are just two different arms of the same beast.”
I didn’t know if what she was telling me was a bluff or if she really believed all of the things she had just said. It didn’t really matter anyway. The picture was just the first layer of the corruption cake I was laying on her desk. It was the other layers that mattered. “It would still be a shocker to have that picture plastered all over the news. After what you just explained to me, it also just makes the rest of the package even juicier. The news will just use that picture while they explain all of the other stuff tucked away in that file.”
She reached over to the middle of the desk and grabbed the file. She opened it up and looked at the first page.
The heading on the paper caught her eye. It made her realize this visit was official. There would be no turning back from what was being learned today, and the reality was her world was quickly changing. She no longer had control of the situation and she suddenly realized who had all of the control, me.
She flipped through the file to the second piece of paper. Contempt painted itself across her face. Her hands betrayed that contempt. They showed the fear growing in her heart. Ever so slightly, ever so quietly, they began to shake.
She read on.
I read her eyes.
They let me know about the fear growing inside of her.
She tried to hide it with a practiced cold stare. She looked up from the file and icicles darted from her eyes. Her icy stare attempted to freeze my smug expression. But nothing could freeze the warmth of joy created in my heart. My smile melted those icicles. My eyes melted her eyes. My confidence melted her confidence.
I knew this was true.
She tried to pretend this wasn’t the case.
“What do you want me to do with this?”
She knew what I wanted her to do with it.
“Look at it.”
She put it on the desk.
She flipped it over.
“Don’t forget it.”
She took some files from one part of her desk and placed them on top of it in the middle of her desk.
“Because no matter how much you don’t want to face it, it is a part of who you are. You can’t deny it. You can’t bury it. And no matter how much you don’t want it to exist, it does, and it always will. I’m here today to make sure you’ll never be able to ignore it.”
I walked over to her side of the desk and sat on the edge right in front of her. I picked up the file and started to flip through it. “You see these papers tell a lot about what is going on in the Department of Motherhood. Not just why it was formed, but exactly what its mission is. You see the Department of Motherhood was designed to capitalize on one of the last refuges of human existence not able to be exploited by the corporations of this country. There was so much money to be made from the parents of this world and it wasn’t fair these fat bigwigs weren’t able to collect all of that money just going to waste. They wanted –no, let me rephrase that- they needed to corner this market, but there was no way the American people would ever accept this as a legitimate business. It needed a piece of legislation to make it legitimate, and that is where the National Caring and Loving Behavior Act, the Department of Motherhood, and the Secretary of Motherhood came into being. But you know all of this already, don’t you?”
She sat in her chair and scowled up at me.
I showed her the first page, and pointed to the bottom of the page. “You were there during its conception. At least that’s what this signature says. This whole idea was cooked up in the little town of Jeffery City, Wyoming when some young, up-and-coming politician took on the corrupt corporations taking over the land. It was the perfect story to tell because here was this opportunity for this young and innocent girl to look like the hero in the eyes of the nation and to start to champion this idea so it would be accepted by all. Were you that innocent figure who this nation just yearned for, that innocent figure they wanted to lead them in to a bold and bright destination?”
Dr. Blur continued to scowl in my direction. I thought she might try to bite off the finger I waved in her direction. But I wasn’t ready to stop.
“The government was only half of your devious plan. The other half involved a person to create a corporation willing to take on the burden of training these mothers who had gone astray. Who would be that person able to reintroduce these women to a society so desperately needing these mothers in order to make the world work right again? The answer was in the other half of that two fisted monster you mentioned earlier. Sam Hogston was no longer going to be the mayor of that little town made famous as soon as all of this came to light. Nobody knew what happened to the man after he lost the election. Well, these papers right here showed he started a limited partnership corporation called Capital Limited with another entrepreneurial individual.”
She actually took her stare away from me at that moment. This was more fun than I thought it would be.
“But that’s not the end of the story, is it?” I got up from the desk and walked over to her seat. “No, because, in order to make sure the Capital Limited Corporation made the money it was entitled to, they first needed to raise some capital. I wonder how they went about raising that capital. Do you know, or should I check the file again?”
I could hear her teeth grind as she tried to control her anger.
“It seems there was a small rodeo ground built in the town of Jeffery City, Wyoming. Now why does that name ring a bell? Oh, isn’t that where you’re from? Weren’t you the mayor of that town? I seem to recall that you were. In fact, I think it was part of the deal you helped orchestrate that made sure this complex was created. I do remember there being some kind of controversy about the cost of the complex, something about the cost being a little higher than what it should have been. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was about, but what I can put my finger on was who the contractor was who built this stadium. What was the name of that corporation again?”
She turned in her chair to face me with the scowl still on her face.
I walked around to the other side of the desk, “Now I remember the name of that company, Capital Limited Corporation. And who is the head of that company?”
Through gritted teeth, she said, “Sam Hogston.”
I looked down at the file with a mock look of consternation plastered upon my face. I pointed at the file and said, “That’s the crazy thing about this piece of paper I’m looking at. You see when the corporation was created it was a limited partnership corporation. That means there were at least two people who headed the company. Who was that other person who headed up this corporation, Dr. Blur?”
She leaned across the desk. She rested her elbows on the table. She rested her chin on her folded hands.
“What do you want from me?”
I closed the file. I smiled. I looked down my victim and laughed. “I want your demise, Nancy. I want your utter destruction. I want the National Caring and Loving Behavior Act to be destroyed once and for all so mothers can go back to doing the one thing they are not allowed to do under this absurd law, to be caring and loving mothers. The best part is I have the papers right here to do just that, and I have a captive audience out there waiting to hear what I have to say. But most of all I was waiting for this moment, the moment I can watch you wallow in your own pain and agony, the moment I can watch your spirit destroyed in the same manner you destroyed so many innocent women because you cared more about your pocketbook than the thing you actually claimed to care about. Thank you, Nancy, for giving me this opportunity. I am truly treasuring it.”
With that I turned around and walked out the door.