They came for the pizza; a modern fable about democratic socialism


Three roommates called Earnest, Vic, and Patsy spent part of every day gathering returnable bottles and cans they found littered about their college campus and surrounding environs. By mutual agreement, they brought their stash to the redemption center twice a week in exchange for cash which they dropped into a large envelope stored in a kitchen drawer.

One December evening at the start of reading week, the three roommates decided to take their accumulated cash out of the envelope and stop for a pizza on the way home from the monthly Indivisibles meeting.  Thanks to their daily efforts, the trio had enough money to buy a loaded pizza and some breadsticks, too.

They got the pizza back to their suite and were just about to sample the steaming pie, its gooey mozzerella dripping as Vic separated the pieces, when there came a knock at the door.

Before Earnest could even shout, “It’s open!”, in walked the neighbors from across the hall, Bossy, Bully, Rob, and Rek, who had seen them at the Indivisibles meeting and noticed their subsequent visit to the pizza parlor.

“Hey guys, what’s up,” said Patsy, grabbing some paper plates.

“We came for the pizza,” proclaimed Bully.

“Huh?” said a bewildered Vic.

“The pizza,” said Bossy. “Hand it over.”

“Um,” said Earnest, “we saved for months to buy this pizza. We got up early and collected bottles and cans every day and we earned it. Want some breadsticks instead?”

“Wait, we cleaned up litter every day! The whole campus is better off for what we did!” cried Patsy.

“You didn’t earn that,” sneered Bully. “You exploited the collective actions of the entire community and kept the profit for yourselves.”

“Breadstick?” said Earnest, extending the bag toward Bossy, who brushed it aside and said, “Let’s take a vote. All in favor of us taking that pizza, raise your hand.” Four hands went up. “Four to three,” said Bossy. “Hand it over.”

Rob strode to the table where the pizza box lay open, but he was blocked by the trio who bought it. A distressed Patsy objected, “Why should we hand it over?”

“Because,” said Rob, “democracy.”

The four intruders surrounded the three roommates. At that moment, Rek produced a cudgel from behind his back and smashed Patsy’s yogurt maker on the kitchen counter. Vic shuddered and silently surrendered the pizza box to Rob.

“Good,” said Bossy. “Gotta run, we’re late for the Democratic Socialists of America meeting. You can keep the breadsticks,” she oozed as the four Democratic Socialists stomped out the door.


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