A Satire by Stefanie Freele
Ballpark, Michigan: Mary Martha Seaton, age 42, eight months pregnant and proud mother of seven, pushes one full grocery cart and tugs another through the “Bed and Bath’ aisle of her nearest Walmart, ten miles away from her home in Ballpark Michigan. “I’ll be so glad when they build the new Walmart two blocks from my home.” She wipes her brow and one of her baby’s cheeks with her sleeve. “Between you and me,” she whispers, “I have more money now than I know what to do with. I mean, how many trailers can one person live in?”
Mary Martha Seaton is just one of the newly affluent mothers who have taken advantage of the government draft program, ‘Young Guns.’ For each child she signs into the military to join the forces in Iraq, she receives $25,000 tax free. “Danny Jo here is one of the first military personnel drafted en-vitro.” she pats her belly “She’s going to work in ballistics. I just know she’s got a head for detail.” The other seven, Jeremy, age 8, is planning to be a paratrooper; Joey, 7, is interested in submarine warfare; Cindy Mae, 6.5 (“.5”, she emphasizes) plans to be in the Coast Guard because she loves water; Timothy, 5, will be in charge of cloud seed-planting and other offensive weather tactics; Zach, 4, isn’t sure what branch he’d like to be in, but would like to carry an M16.
“The money isn’t just for diapers.” Mary Martha points out. “It’s to help me help my children help the government. I’m so proud of them.” She hugs each one cheek to cheek for the camera.
Washington rumors include an increase from the $25,000 to $30,000 after the first of the year. Congress is currently approving a measure to double the incentive for any children born with clefts in their chin. Senator Shitake explains, “Men and women with clefts in their chin are looked up to. It is a strong leadership symbol. If you think about it, who would say no to John Travolta in a uniform? Even Sandra Bullock would be intimidating with an AK47.”
Some say project Young Guns is taking the financial incentive idea a bit too far. Jerry Littleseed, Walmart shopper in the ‘Lamp and Light Bulb” aisle, is infuriated. “Children should know there are other options. Who will be a barista or an arcade attendant, if all the children are in the military?”
Senator Shitake pshaws such nonsense. “Babies have a natural sense of fight in them. After all, for nine months they’ve been held captive. Their born with the zest for battle. It’s usually suppressed after birth by the excessive presence of pastel.”
Seaton agrees. “My infants were each wrapped in Confederate flags at the hospital. Every moment of their lives is leading toward preparation to fight in Iraq. For dolls, I only let them play with Taliban figurines and Army men. I’m really excited to see that Walmart is now carrying the ‘Prisoner-Of-War Torture Variety Kit’. I’ve been looking for it everywhere.”
Walmart officials are ecstatic over the Young Guns policy. “We are expanding Walmart to every nook and cranny. Not just medium-sized towns anymore. Parents have so much extra cash to spend and are plopping out so many rugrats that we’re expanding to any town that has at least one intersection. Eventually, everyone in the country should be able to walk to the nearest Walmart after the planet runs out of oil,” Night shift manager Ed Grease reports.
How long with this go on? The Treasury Department, already printing bills as fast as their machines can spit them out to cover war expenses, will be expanding soon. “Let’s just face it,” says an anonymous Washington DC aide. “The Iraq war will not be coming to an end in any of our lifetimes. There is far too much at stake here to end a war now. If it were up to me, the war in Iraq definitely wouldn’t come to a halt until there is a Walmart near my house. I’m sick and tired of driving fifteen minutes to get my favorite frozen wontons.”
Stefanie Freele is the author of the short story collection Feeding Strays (Lost Horse Press). Her fiction can also be found in lovely literary magazines such as Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, Vestal Review and Night Train. Stefanie is the Fiction Editor of the Los Angeles Review. Visit her website at: www.stefaniefreele.com
Photo from PeopleofWalmart.Com
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