[An intriguing prompt today from The Daily Post — interview your favorite fictional character]
The young man leaned enthusiastically over the metal table, his pants swishing audibly on the long bench. “So tell me, Smith — what’s it like, working in the Ministry of Truth?”
“Minitrue.” Winston Smith drew back from the table reflexively, his face as gray as the table between he and this young man, the new Outer Party member looking for an appointment in one of Oceania’s ministries.
“Sorry, sorry!” The young man’s energy constrasted with the dark tones and unsmiling faces in the Minitrue cafeteria. “You’re in — Recdep, is it?”
“Yes.” Winston’s body seemed to relax upon hearing the Newspeak term for the Records Department.
And then immediately stiffened again as the young man pointed at him. “So it’s your job — to monitor newspapers, and ensure their accuracy?”
Winston opened his mouth to speak, then blinked, sealing his lips. The young man saw his throat swallow, as if constricted by an invisible hand. “Precisely.”
The young man slapped the table, metal utensils jumping and clattering down on metal cafeteria trays around them. “Excellent, excellent! And you like your job, yes? You enjoy working with the written word?”
The middle-aged man across the table blinked, his eyes suddenly filled with impatience. “You must be careful with that word love, young man. One must not use it casually, like some child playing at jacks. At Minitrue, we are to love Oceania, love Ingsoc, and above all else, love Big Brother.”
“And of course, I love — “
“But love is a finite thing.” Winston Smith’s voice was calm, dispassionate. “Man has a limited capacity for love, and if we admit to loving our jobs, or the food we ate, or the woman we’ve married — by law, we limit the love we have for those things that — ” another throat-constricting swallow — “truly matter.”
The young man stared back at Winston, slack-jawed, unspeaking. “I have — ” Winston’s voice grew in strength — “worked diligently at Minitrue. I can confirm that there are appointments available in Recdep. And that is all I can divulge.”
The middle-aged man rose from his bench suddenly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me — I must return to my post.”