Tinker, Tailor, Pudding, Spy

Penned by Attempted Murder

“You Commies and your fancy pudding,” Ralph said quietly to himself as the nurse placed the chilled dessert on his lunch tray. He stared down at the plate. Peas, mashed potatoes, a piece of Salisbury steak with gravy, and the pudding in its opaque container. Oh, the pudding. Deep down, he knew, it was all a plot, a scheme, to keep his patriotism underneath the boot heel of “The Liberals.”

He had seen the memos: ‘Watch out for old Ralph trying to sneak out of his room at nap time’ and ‘Ralph only eats vanilla pudding at lunch.’ It was a code among the nurses to police his thoughts and actions. However, those memos that were left unguarded were his ticket to undermining their efforts. He caught onto their plans and with enough time and effort; he could break free of this prison. He had a source on the outside who called himself “Starnes.” Ralph frequently snuck out of his room to pass information to this “Starnes” via the payphone in the waiting area in the hope of bringing to light the plans of the Commies.

Before he brought to much attention to himself, Ralph muttered an almost silent “thanks” as he shuffled to find a spot in the cafeteria. He looked around nearly empty room and took note of the sheeple who so blindly followed what the nurses and attendants prescribed.

There’s Ned. He had the gall to remain seating while the anthem played during a college basketball game. Sure, he only had one leg due to the war and needed assistance standing, but he’s obviously not patriotic enough. And Betsy, oh old Betsy, she’s in cahoots with the nurses. Ralph remembered seeing her lean in to talk with the nurses, probably sharing the secrets that she was able to gather that day. The snitch probably pretends to sleep while listening to the conversations in the room.

Ralph shuddered, tightening his grip on the bathrobe that was his only armor against the Liberal controlled environment. They always kept it colder than his liking, another method to subvert him.

He wandered over to the corner table and sat with his back to the wall. “No Commie is going to stab me in the back,” which drew a look from his neighbor at the next table over. Ralph quickly looked down at his tray, stirring the potatoes in order to deter suspicion. After a moment, his neighbor went back to eating their own lunch, managing to spill the peas onto the table in the process. Ralph chuckled spitefully to himself when he noticed what had happened and that a nurse had raced over to assist the elderly woman.

The sudden realization that he hadn’t contacted Starnes in over a week ended Ralph’s good humor immediately. If no one else was going to stand up against the Commies and their agenda, it had to be him and here he was, casually eating lunch amongst his enemies. Scrambling to think of what he had seen over the past week which he could report to his contact, Ralph’s eyes fell upon his pudding cup. His eyes narrowed as he stared at it and a broad grin spread across his face.

“Chocolate,” the lid read. He sneered derisively. This was the last straw. His path forward was clear and he had the courage to follow it.

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