HEINZ'S DILEMMA
by Leslie

"I know why I'm here, but can't understand why you're here. I'm a cross dresser and I love my job as a sissy maid. I think it's great that the new government set up the Sissy Maid Service Corps in place of the old AmeriCorps. I love wiggling my hips like a girl when I walk and the feeling of my smooth nylon clad legs sliding against each other. I love the sound it makes too. I love the feeling of soft fabrics against my skin, wearing high heels and demonstrating my skill by walking in them with grace and confidence - especially while carrying a loaded tray. Very few people can do that as well as I. I love the gentle rustling sound of my petticoat swishing when I walk or brush against something, or someone, and the feeling of my hand brushing against my satin skirt. I even love the sweet embrace of my corset that gives me the shape that I have always longed for and have viewed since childhood as an ideal human body shape. And I love the power that I have to captivate the attention of others. You on the other hand look and act like a whipped dog who hates wearing that uniform and your makeup is awful. You act like you hate this job."

"Fuck you! Mind your own business."

"Don't talk to me like that you old fart. You look like hell in that French maid uniform, so it would be no loss if I kicked your ass. Speak to me like that again and I will knock the snot out of you. I was just trying to be helpful, and thought I might be of assistance. I'm really good with makeup. As it is, you make the rest of us look bad. I heard from one of the other maids that you used to be famous. I'm Missy, by the way and I only wanted to help you."

"Hello Missy, I didn't mean to be rude. Actually, yes I did. I just want to be left alone. Can't you tell from the pin on my collar that I hold the highest grade in the Sissy Maid Service Corps such that only the mistress of the house has authority over me? Not even her butler can give me orders. Your observations are accurate; I do look like hell. That's because I don't care.

You are obviously in the Service Corps by choice, but not everyone in the Corps is a volunteer. Not all of us wear this uniform by choice. Back in the days of the old republic it was common for local judges to get rid of troublemakers by giving them the option to either join the military or be sent to the county jail. As a vassal of a foreign power, we no longer need or have a military, but that same option is given to boys and sometimes even girls by juvenile judges and the Sissy Maid Service Corps makes them into good citizens. That's why we have a rank system and why some sissy maids who find it hard to lose the arrogance that got them in trouble at home, find themselves bent over a table, panties down getting a good caning at their mistress' behest. Usually the uniform itself is enough to instill humility and a work ethic. Threaten me ever again and I'll have your ass caned so hard you won't sit down for a year."

"I'm sorry Ma'am. I've never seen such a high rank insignia before and didn't know what it was."

"You are right to have pride in your pretty uniform Missy and in your appearance and I commend you for your commitment to serve your mistress. As for me, I'm a lost cause that they just put up with. I am basically a long term guest in Mistress's house because of who I used to be. I have no assigned duties. I'm kept in a sissy maid uniform only so I can't wonder off. Any sissy maid in public without a pass from their mistress is questioned by the police. I'm too old to wear heels, too frail to need a corset, and pantyhose are out of the question. I just putter around in Mistress's flower garden and grow vegetables and herbs for her kitchen. I try to stay out of the way but I'm basically just waiting to die and hoping there is no hell because that's most certainly where I'd end up. I'm not even good companionship for mistress because I'm uneducated in the subjects that stimulate interesting conversation. You're also right that I set a bad example.

Yes, I used to be famous. I was given Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar, a Grammy and all the other accolades bestowed on politicians who are useful to the powers that be - the billionaire class. But, I never intended to be in politics. It just happened. I didn't really make that crappy documentary that won the Oscar nor did I write that beautiful theme song that won the Grammy. Those awards rightfully belonged to other people, as did the Peace Prize. They turned me into the leader of a movement, but I had no idea where I was leading it. I was one of the founders of the new republic. Mine is one of only twenty signatures on the New Constitution.

I was briefly even a hero to the woman I loved. It was a great love story and the media ate it up. But, things don't always work out the way you plan, and even when they work out beyond your wildest expectations, there are always unintended consequences. We incur debts to Karma. And there are debts to the truth every time we tell a lie, and my lie was huge. I'm the fool who ruined everything for the love of a woman. No, that was the spin we put on it at the time. That's a lie. I must now be truthful. It was actually done out of selfishness."

I couldn't admit that I was wrong and I convince the whole world that I was right, even though I wasn't. I convinced them, but I never convinced her. I said I did it for her, but she knew I did it for myself, because I couldn't face life without her. She knew I was a coward, a liar, a thief and eventually a murderer, but to everyone else I'm still a hero.
Then, at the height of my power it happened. It was like the Charles Dickens Christmas Story where Scrooge is visited by ghost and taken away to see an alternative future. When it happened to me, I saw the true magnitude of my crimes. Shaken by the experience, I confessed my sins, but nobody wanted to hear it. They were all just as bad as I or even worse, so I was told to shut up. Suddenly I was dangerous. Then I was cancelled. So, here I am, in exile in this maid uniform - invisible, left to rot on this beautiful estate in the middle of nowhere.

The news media reported it as a vivid dream, but it was no dream. It was real. The doctors called it a psychotic episode. But everyone knows how anything that doesn't conform to the party line is a psychotic episode and the miscreant is shuffled off for treatment never to be seen again. I should know! I was the one shuffling them off. Now I'm an embarrassment to the government and to all my friends, but what I saw was real. I was somehow sucked into an alternate timeline where I met that damn druggist and returned to our reality. He didn't remember me. I was the man who ruined his life and he didn't remember me. In his timeline it never happened, there was no theft, no revolution, and my wife died at age 60 instead of age 68."

"What did you see?"

"Are you serious Missy? You don't know the story? You don't know who I am? You don't know the man with only one name? The man whose dilemma changed the world?"

"Sorry Ma'am, but no I don't."

"Geez, you are that young aren't you? You're only a child. You couldn't be more than sixteen. You wouldn't know because schools are now prohibited from teaching history. Why dwell on the past when we can "move forward together building a brighter future"?"

"Why do you look so sad when you say those words? You say them sarcastically; almost choking on the words. Even I know the prohibition on teaching history is a good policy. The study of history is divisive and therefore bad. It is a threat to our sense of community. Everyone knows that. "Move forward together building a brighter future" is our national motto".

"I know that Missy, I'm the one who made it our national motto. Those are my words. After all, we couldn't stick with that "In God we trust" nonsense, could we? Get real!"

So who are you?"

"I told you, I'm the man with only one name - I'm Heinz."

"You're "THE Heinz"? The man who took down the greedy druggist, the pharmaceutical industry and ultimately the whole system - the father the revolution? It's truly an honor to meet you sir. I apologize for the disrespectful things I said. I didn't know or I would never... Please forgive me. Oh, I'm such an idiot. I'm so sorry for speaking to you so disrespectfully. Yes, everybody has heard of "Heinz's Dilemma". I can recite your ethical dilemma verbatim.

Your wife would die without a drug that only one druggist could make. The druggist charged ten times his cost of materials for the drug but you couldn't afford it. After pleading with the druggist to accept a lower price, the druggist refused, so out of desperation you stole, I mean expropriated the drug and administered it to your wife who recovered fully. You saved her life.

We are taught that is school. Under the old system of absolutes, it would be unethical to steal, but under our system your actions were justified. The druggist was greedy and deserved to be punished. Everyone knows "From each according to their ability and to each according to their need", She had the need and he had the ability. He had no right to condemn her to death. You showed the rest of us the way to deal with greed." It was as simple as that."

"Yeah Missy, that's the story, and it's best if we leave it at that. We never hear the druggist's side of the story as I did in the alternate timeline, and there's no need or see how my actions changed our world, or my wife's opinion of me. Let's just leave it at that."

"If there's more to the story, I'd like to hear it. Please tell me the rest of it, Mister Heinz."

"Don't you have work to do? You might be sorry if I tell you. You won't believe me anyhow. You know the old saying; "Ignorance is bliss." Sometimes it's best not to know things. I'll tell you more, but you must keep it to yourself for your own safety. I'll tell you because in my old age I have gained a new found respect for the concept of truth, but that doesn't mean you should. We used to say "The truth will set you free" but now the truth might get you killed, so listen at your own risk. I am doing you no favor because knowledge can be a terrible burden.

Things moved so quickly before the revolution. It's hard to believe that was 30 years ago and I was in my mid 50's and my wife was 60. She was diagnosed with a very rare fatal illness and one druggist was said to have a drug, technically a "nutritional supplement" that he offered with a money back guarantee if it did not cure people of the illness. He was an ornery obnoxious jerk who hated the government, so he would never go through the process to get governmental approval as a drug, but he wanted a million dollars per dose put in an escrow account.

His refusal to play the game was the problem. Sometimes you have to give and take but he stood firm on his principles. Property rights he called it. The drug was his property and it was his right to set the price - no compromises. Well, we taught him.

The story is true; I could only raise half that price even with friends and family helping, and he refused to reduce his price. So I broke into his shop one night and stole one of the glass vials from a little glass refrigerator behind his counter. He caught me and did nothing to stop me. He said I "would discover that I was much worse than a thief" and I called him a murderer and fled.

There wasn't even a lock on the little refrigerator that held a few vials of his million dollar drug. The next day, after giving me plenty of time to use the medicine, he reported the theft to the police and gave them my name and even a surveillance video. It was like a miracle. Once I gave her the injection, my wife was immediately cured and walking around in mere minutes. A week later, she had completely recovered and was pain free.

The DA refused to prosecute and after it turned out he was charging ten times his production costs, the media got hold of the story and I was made into a folk hero. The guy was public enemy number one. There were pickets at his home and shop and he became the poster child for the pharmaceutical industry and greed. The fact is; his property rights should have been protected by government. The DA ignored his duty. I should have been arrested but the DA knew no jury would convict me. I should have apologizes and offered to make partial payments to the man that saved her, but I didn't. Local government failed in its obligation to him and so did I.

Then the Federal Government got involved. The FBI raided the druggist's home in the middle of the night terrorizing his family and shooting his dog. They seized his research records and the remaining drug. Not long after that, he killed himself, but that wasn't enough - drugs had become big social justice issue. To placate the mob in the streets, Congress nationalized the entire pharmaceutical industry just before the Ebola Flu Pandemic hit. This had the opposite of the intended effect. The government owned pharmaceutical industry's response to that pandemic was abysmal and the victims of the nationalization who had not been in the streets then took to the street so each action placated one faction and enraged the other. The best course of action is usually to do nothing, but politician can't resist the urge to solve all problems often with the most inappropriate tool - force. Eventually the old republic collapsed as it became more authoritarian and we were in the right place at the right time to pick up the pieces.

At the end, the Capitol was a fortress waiting for an attack that never came. It was a pathetic display; a government whose authority came from consent of the governed that now feared their own citizens. That barbed wire was proof that they no longer believed in their own legitimacy. The states just flew away by centrifugal force like parts of a giant disintegrating machine. I'm a construction worker. I knew nothing about government or economics but I had a seat at the table when the new republic was formed. I did my best, but my only reason to be there was that I rejected another man's property rights which started the whole chain of events.

But what the druggist said to me the night of the theft was prophetic, "You will discover that you are much worse than a thief". Before I even left his shop, I lied to him. He wasn't a murderer. He hadn't given that illness to my wife. He is actually the one who saved her. I showed no gratitude for his discovery. I knew nothing about the man I vilified and the media didn't care to report his side of the story, because my story was more sympathetic and fit the narrative they wanted to tell. They used me to justify the idea that "need grants license". That was the Germans' justification for starting World War 1. Germany needed farmland to the east to feed their growing population and Poland wasn't using the land they had. Germany had the need and Poland had the ability. It was that simple."

"What's a world war?"

"Oh, never mind Missy. It's just more of those harmful bits of divisive history that we old farts remember. It's unimportant. My point is an honest person who knows right from wrong always has the freedom to choose to do "wrong" and that's exactly what I did. But instead of admitting my immorality, I blamed the victim and said I was right. I turned the system of ethics that our culture was based on for over two thousand years onto its head. My decision was based on emotion and self-interest, I wasn't thinking clearly. I dehumanizes the druggist with the lie that he was greedy (bad), and therefore unworthy of ethical treatment. Dehumanizing intended victims as greedy, exploitive, racist, sexist, rich, white, black, homophobic, fascist, or some other pejorative is a tactic that was being widely used at the time, so that's what I did.

I have since learned that "price" in a free market is nothing more than a method of rationing scarce resources, like his extremely scarce drug. A high price insures it's not wasted. The cost of production is relevant only for setting a base price, yet we used the irrelevant fact that his price was ten times his material cost to base our entire argument on. To believe that my theft was "right" requires flawed ethics, ignorance of economics and selfishness. Theft, ignorance and selfishness didn't equate to moral superiority as the news stories got people to believe.

But, what happened next was an unintended consequence that turned my wife against me. There are some people who contribute more to society than others and like it or not, one way to determine how much we contribute is the amount of the money we make. That was the criteria the druggist was using to allocate his drug. So which person, who had contributed enough to society to actually pay the high drug cost, would now have to die without the medicine I stole?

The Ebola Flu Pandemic with a 20% mortality rate was much worse than COVID and it killed almost a billion people worldwide. It contributed greatly to the fall of the old republic. One woman, a virologist, mitigated the disaster with sterling leadership and good science. Governors of the states that faired best gravitated to her for advice. She saved tens of millions of lives and was a beloved hero. Sadly, during the pandemic, she contracted the same illness my wife had and the last dose of the druggist's seized medicine had been used up, so she died at the age of thirty five. She might have lived another fifty years as compared to my wife's eight years.

My wife said we had taken the dose that would have gone to the lady virologist and her death was on our hands. I was now a murderer too. The druggist's blood was already on my hands. But believe it or not, my history of cowardliness, thief, lies, and murders was small potatoes compared to what was to come. You have no idea how evil one small act can be.

You have sissy maid duties to perform so I'll tell you about the alternate timeline I was pulled into tomorrow. Let's get together tomorrow during your lunch break. I'll prepare sandwiches and we'll eat out in the garden."

"Hi Missy! I'm over here. Well, it's a beautiful day for a picnic. Please sit down and help yourself to sandwiches, deviled eggs and ice tea and I'll tell you about my so-called delusion. All of a sudden I was in my old work clothes on a construction site on a beautiful campus and I saw the druggist giving orders to my boss, but he was much older. How could that be, he was dead? So, I asked him who he was. He didn't know me from Adam and I noticed that the flags of the old republic were flying on the flagpoles. I asked him what this place was, and he proudly told me about his research university.

I asked him specifically about the drug and the disease that my wife had and he was very sympathetic, but said he made all of that drug he could possibly make without endangering his health because it was made with his own blood that had a genetic abnormality. He needed all the money he could get from it to make more drugs for similar illnesses using his unique technique.

The drug was the culmination of generations of efforts combating a disease that had plagued his family. His family had lived in poverty devoting all of their resources to this one drug that was the first of many successes. All the money he made went to endow a great university that would cure all disease, bring world peace, give humanity an endless source of non-polluting energy and solve world hunger. In that timeline I was on his campus. The druggist had achieved his goal and his university had achieved all those goals he had set out for it.

But, as soon as I saw his vision, I was returned to our world where we had seized his "greedy profit" at my behest and his university was never built. The cures, peace, energy and abundance were not achieved here. All of this was lost so I could impose my flawed sense of social justice, tainted with selfishness onto that poor idealistic stubborn fool.

But, there were additional economic consequences. Other druggists seeing the high profit potential would have been prompted to work long hours and develop even better drugs to compete. Prices would have fallen drastically because of competition and quality would have improved. That's the free market at work, but it doesn't happen if the profit motive dries up. When we seized the druggist's formula and forced him to work for a price we dictated, because we had need and he had ability it was slavery. But the obstinate fool wouldn't play along and killed himself as a final act of defiance. I lack the courage to do the same.

There is a final irony. Having seized the industry, politicians of the old republic funneled the drug profits to political allies. Having arrogantly substituted their uninformed judgment for free market forces of supply and demand, prices stayed high and quality low. They never were able to duplicate his drug and his genetic anomaly like his great research university might only be a figment in my hallucination."

"Mr. Heinz, thank you for telling me your story, but I think it was most likely a vivid day dream or hallucination and you would be better off believing that too. I noticed you are paying closer attention to your uniform which looks much nicer today. Talking to you has made me wonder about history though. If history is fascinating stories like this one, how would one interested in the study of such a subject go about it? I would like to know more about that old republic too."

"Well, Missy, It's not illegal to study history, just discouraged. I could help you with that. We could learn together and I'll take you up on your offer to help me with my makeup and appearance, so I won't be such a bad example for all the other maids as you suggested. Mistress is a very kind and smart lady. She has a fine library with lots of old history books and I suspect she would be happy to help you too. Who knows, maybe we are starting another movement right now and your name will be on a constitution some day."

The End

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