Lemuel raised a fist, brought it back, then forward swiftly. He rapped four times on the door – four chosen for its commanding nature, unlike the polite three or the over-bearing five. Four times. “O-pen the door.”
The door opened, and a young, androgynous child stood before him in a dress, hair a basic bowl cut, looking like the child’s parents had literally placed a bowl on its head and cut around that.
Lemuel considered offering a citation for cross-dressing. But this might be a girl, he thought. The face was boyish, but he had known some mannish women in his time. There was a place for everyone, and a need for them as well.
“Good afternoon, little girl. I have come to collect any copies of banned media from your house.”
“Umm,” the girl said. “What’s that?”
“Did your parents collect movies, music, and books last night?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
“And where did they put them?”
“By the door,” the girl pointed.
“Okay, I’m here for those.”
“What’s a fascist punter?”
“Excuse me?” Lemuel was stopped by this question.
“Mommy said a fascist punter was coming to take away more media, and that the digital world was allowing for a neo-Nazism. What does she mean?”
Lemuel smiled grimly. He crouched down, putting himself at the child’s level. “She means that you shouldn’t repeat the things you hear in your home. If you hear your mommy say those things again, tell her you mentioned it to me, and tell her to be very, very careful what she says from now on.”
“Because bad things come to those who think.”
“Oh. Okay.” The girl turned and ran into the house.
Lemuel took a deep breath in, knowing he should report this to the superintendent, but unwilling to bring himself to do so. Three other reports that morning were already weighing heavily on him. Instead he simply stepped inside and picked up the box, hopeful they had put everything on the latest e-mailed list in there, and that he wouldn’t have to return for a few weeks.