I was raised by a coin operated mother called Capitalism. She looked and smelled, felt and sounded just like a traditional mother, all except for the coin slot in her head, the twitching meter in her right eye and the words “Product Of The Free Enterprise Corporation” stamped on the sole of her right foot.
And, just like a traditional mother, she cooked and cleaned and washed and walked me to and from school. Just like a traditional mother she tucked me into bed at night;
told me stories or sang me lullabies and hugged me tightly while telling me she loved me more than all the world.
But, unlike a traditional mother, I knew that the only reason why she was looking after me was because I was pouring money into her coin slot head and what I longed for, more than anything; what I lay awake dreaming about in my bed at night, was a mother who would care for me because she really loved me.
I must admit that we had some really fun times together; me and capitalism. She could do lots of cool things that an ordinary, human mother couldn’t do. She could sing like a choir of angels; dance like a prima ballerina; do mesmerizing magic tricks; juggle and do acrobatics. She was really a one woman circus; could do almost anything you asked her to except feel love.
She was really quite beautiful too, in a skin deep sort of way. She was as beautiful, warm and motherly as any hollywood movie mother and one could easilly have mistaken her for the Virgin Mary if one did not know that she was closer to Mary Magdalen.
I remember that, by the time I was six years old, I had almost convinced myself that I was really happy but then I met Miss Socialism or, rather, Miss Socialism saved me from drowning.
It was my own fault really. I should have been more careful crossing the weathered concrete stepping stones that run across the centre of the lake in the park, but I thought that I could run across them and then my foot slipped on the third stone and I went falling, heels over head, backwards into the lake and I’d never learned to swim.
“Mother!”, I called out, as my head went under the murky, slimy waters of the lake.
My mother had always been an excellent swimmer; practically an olympian in the water and she could have easily leapt in an saved me but, when my head bobbed up for the third time, I saw that she was busy talking to a young man in an expensive suit who was eagerly feeding her head with coins and the look in her artificial eyes was like love at first sight.
I went down under again; water going into my mouth and nostrils; my arms flapping madly as I screamed and spluttered “Mother!”, but my mother was in a world of her own, kissing that young man with so many shiny coins.
Then, the next thing I knew, Miss Socialism was dragging me out of the lake and I was vomiting up foul tasting water onto newly mown grass.
“It’s a very good thing that I was passing by”, she said, helping me to my feet, her voice full of real concern, “Otherwise, you might have drowned”.
It was then that I knew that I wanted Miss Socialism to be my mother.
She wasn’t pretty or elegant like Capitalism. She was very ordinary in every way, right down to her factory overalls, but atleast she was a human being.
I immediately threw my arms around her waist and hugged her for dear life and she hugged me too and it wasn’t as soft or warm as the hugs of Capitalism but I knew that it was full of real affection.
“Where are your parents?”, she asked, crouching down so that her eyes were level with mine.
“My mother is over there”, I said, pointing to my mother who was giggling, girlishly as she embraced the young man with all the loose change.
Miss Socialism looked gobsmacked, “Didn’t she see you fall in the lake?”, she asked.
Then, I told Miss Socialism all about my mother and about the coin slot in her head.
“That’s awful”, said Miss Socialism, “A coin operated mother can’t look after children”.
But, suddenly, Capitalism caught sight of Miss Socialism holding my hand and, turning away from her rich young man, started over angrily, across the park, toward us.
“What are you doing with my son?”, she said, scowling; her eyes, that normally sparkled like venetian glass, suddenly becoming as hard as hail stones.
“I just saved your son from drowning in the lake”, she said, glaring back angrily at my mother, “Which, if you were a real mother instead of a machine, you would know
because you would have been paying attention to him the way you ought to”.
Suddenly, my mothers hands flew out, grabbing Miss Socialism round the throat and squeezing, trying to throttle the life out of her, “You really have to be careful who you talk to”, she told me, as Miss Socialisms face started to turn blue.
I knew that I had to do something to save poor Miss Socialism. Capitalism may have looked like Mary Poppins, but underneath all her soft skin and crinoline, she was more like The Terminator. With the delicate, gloved hands that were now wrapped around Miss Socialisms throat, I had seen her squeeze billiard balls into a fine powder
and tie up steel bars like silk ribbons.
Miss Socialism wouldn’t have stood a chance against her. That’s why I had to pick up that rock that I saw lying in the grass, by the lake side and bring it down, hard, upon the back of my mothers head, smashing it against her mop of delicate brunette curls.
It took three strikes before I heard her ceramic skull crack and saw her wrench like grip upon the throat of Miss Socialism slacken. Then she fell back onto the grass of the park, her arms flailing madly the way my arms had done when I’d been drowning, her cracked head spilling out shining, tinkling coins, like sparkling Perrier gushing from an underground spring.
I don’t know why but, the moment that I realized what I had done, I started to cry uncontrollably, though I had never cried before.
“Why are you crying?”, asked Miss Socialism, rubbing her throat, relieved to be alive and astounded by the sight of Capitalisms cold, dead doll like body spilling out so much copper and silver from her gaping head wound.
“I have no mother. No where to go.”, I sobbed, wiping my tears upon the sleeve of my shirt.
“Well. You can come and live with me, if you like”, said Miss Socialism, taking my hand in hers, “It won’t be an easy life but I’ll always stand by you”.