It was a bright cold day in January and the clock struck thirteen. Anthony Charles Lynton Smith sat in his room and poured some bottled water into a cracked cup. The room was small, the magenta paint peeling slightly in the far corner. Tony had returned from his work in the records department of the Ministry of Truth half an hour previously. He had left some box files on his desk. They would keep. They had kept for some time. Now, though, was his time.
The flat screen which dominated the wall opposite his door flickered into life. Three women sat on chairs. They seemed to be staring at him. And then one turned and seemed to whisper. Her voice was inaudible. Birdsong filled the room. It was calming. He sat there often. Watching them sleep. Watching them eat. Watching them dream.
Tony kept the screen on through the night. As he sat he did not always feel the need to watch. He read. He ate. He drank: bottled water; and Victory Gin. Tony picked up a book, a battered copy passed from functionary to functionary within the Ministry. He read,
IF THERE IS HOPE IT LIES IN THE PROLES.
Tony nodded. It was right. Appeased by the lottery, sated by a ready diet of titilating pictures and stories about Oceanic actors and singers, it was peculiar to view the proles as the engine for revolution. But, only the proles could throw off the shackles and demand something more.
Yes, he thought. If there is hope it lies in the proles.
Tony glanced at the screen, grimaced as the face of one girl contorted, her teeth bared. Tony looked back at his book.
If there is hope it lies in the proles.
He looked up again, shook his head.
Sod that, he thought. I’ll give the book back to O’Brien.