Muttering heard among the drinkers,
whispered rumors down side streets
and market stalls. Certain technologies
forbidden, certain practices banned.
The dock workers and stevedores. The chemists
and armorers. The translators. Perhaps
the entire clerical staff, including those few
who can repair the pneumatic system.
The shortages, to which correspondents have
alluded, understood to be worsening, despite
official silence. Officials silenced after
their resignations are not accepted, their
offices maintained by underlings, if not, in some
few instances, downright imposters. Nothing
censored — certainly not the balladeers and
gazettes. An increase in the number of
speakers at the Five Corners. No
noticeable increase in the constabulary.
Fewer diplomatic missions. Fewer
marriages recorded, but then again,
fewer divorces. Much more spoilage of
meats and produce. More breweries and
distilleries applying for licenses. Fewer
beggars. Fewer buskers. More feral

Norman Finkelstein (© 2012)