20 Loshis 2719
Agatha Maplethorne hated the 20th of the month.
The 20th was the day the Seventen came by to make sure the elderly lady wasn't doing anything illegal. Of course, they sometimes dropped by unexpectedly, but they always came by on the 20th.
So Loshis 20 found Aggie up at dawn, doing some deep cleaning and pushing down her aggravation and resentment over these checks. She never let the house get too messy in the first place, but the deep cleaning gave her an outlet for her frustration that the mere fact that she owned a house had put her on a watch list.
It wasn't like her house was a godsdamned mansion – it was just a slightly better house in the Dives. But Lady forbid any human have even the tiny power of being able to die in a house they had lived in for decades. She didn't have to fear a golly pushing her out if she became ill and couldn't pay rent. She could afford to feed herself and keep a roof over her head. The fact that most gollies thought that was suspicious enough reminded Aggie why she joined the Resistance in the first place. It had taken her and her husband ten years of eating little besides bread, bean soup, and half-rotted vegetables to save up for this place.
Aggie's frustration was deepened by the fact that she knew being on the watch list was part of the reason the Resistance had started ignoring her. As the older generation died off, the generation that knew Aggie always managed to keep her house safe for Resistance people, the younger generation saw her as a liability.
Of course, Betsy and the mimeograph were securely locked away in the root cellar. There was no outside entrance to the root cellar, so a ragged rug over the door in the floor was enough to hide its presence. She had Brent help her move the heavy dining room table back over the rug, since she had moved it once Adam had started renting the mimeograph for whatever he was doing. It left her back aching, even with Brent's help, since they had to lift it instead of just pushing it along the floor. They didn't have to move it far, but she couldn't risk the neighbors hearing the scraping sound of the table going across the kitchen floor.
After that, the frail, white-haired woman had sent Brent out for the day, telling him not to come home until dusk. He had to go deliver papers anyways, but ever since Adam's first visit, he had simmered with anger. She couldn't afford to trigger a search by either of them being anything less than completely friendly and polite to the Seventen officer that would visit. She and Brent could be pissed off later, after the Seventen left.
Aggie hadn't figured out how to help the boy deal with his anger yet. She could pour her frustration and helplessness and utter emotional exhaustion at having to do this stupid dance for the gollies into scrubbing the counters and the floor, cleaning the sinks and toilet thoroughly, and beating out the threadbare rugs that were scattered around the house (with the exception of the one under the table, which should look dirty). But that wasn't the sort of thing that helped a teenage boy deal with his anger at the unjust nature of the world.
By 11 o'clock, the house was spic and span, but Aggie was hurting so much that it was all she could do to hobble over and collapse on the couch. She couldn't lie to herself in these moments – she wasn't sure how long she could keep this charade going, how long she could keep cleaning her house on the 20th so she would look like a "respectable" human. Maybe the Seventen wouldn't care if her house was perfectly clean. It was likely they just assume that her house wasn't as clean because she was old and frail. But she would care. She felt like she'd lose a tiny part of herself by not being able to put her best foot forward, even in the face of golly bullshit like the house check.
The aching woman curled up in a corner of the couch, a few tears of pain streaking down her cheeks. She didn't sob outright, but she let herself cry. She was angry and hurt like someone had beat her with a bag of rocks and she was oh so tired of this bullshit. And, anyways, it's not like the officer would care that she had been crying. If they questioned her – and she'd probably die of a heart attack right then and there if they did – she could and would just say she had a fight with her boarder. Everyone knew teenage boys were testy, right?