The Puce Letter (A Satire of the Scarlet Letter)

Smog filled the sky as the factories spewed forth the unwanted products of their work. Not more than 4 months ago, it was the middle of August and the air was hotter than ever. The occupants of Boston filled the streets, intently watching a young woman standing upon a nearby stage. Donning black shorts and a loosely fitting black t-shirt, holding boots in her hands, she stood there paralyzed. The local policeman stated forcefully, “You Mildred Prynne have violated one of the most sacred and long heeded laws of this land. You wore boots during the summer!” The crowd gasped and began whispering in surprise of the horror of her crime.

Parents covered the ears of their little children so they did not the hear any more of this horrible villainy. The policeman went on calmly once the crowd died down, “You could be shot for this heinous violation of ethical code, but instead, another fate has been chosen. You will be forced to wear a letter F, the color of puce for the rest of your life!” Again the crowd gasped. A strange looking older man, rather thin and pale, with glasses that caused his eyes to look extremely beady pushed his way to the front of the crowd. He walked up to another policeman standing proudly at the side of the stage.

The older man questioned the policeman, “Who is this young woman and what has happened.”
“She wore boots in the middle of summer,” the policeman whispered softly so that so no young, pure ears could hear him. The old man gasped.
“Did they catch her fashion consultant yet?” he questioned with a malevolent grin. ‘
“Where have you been for the past few months? Don’t you know that is what they are questioning her for right now?” the policeman said in a confused manner.
“I have been in a small African country where there was a severe fashion crisis and I was sent by a United Nations security council resolution to help solve the crisis,” The old man said.
“They haven’t caught the man yet and they probably won’t”
“He will be known, he will be known.”
“Quiet for a moment, they are questioning the lady now!” the policeman quickly stated.
“Mildred Prynne, you will wear this letter so that now you can never match because as we all know no color goes with puce. Your sentence may be lightened if you tell who your fashion consultant was when you wore the boots!” The policeman on the stage said in a clear, loud voice. Mildred looked through the crowd when her eyes affixed upon the older man. Her facial expression after making eye contact with the older man can only be described as that of someone about to be sent to eternal damnation. She quickly turned toward the policeman and stared at him silently. “Perhaps you will tell when you are not surrounded by so many of your peers.” said the policeman. The entire police force climbed up on stage and cuffed Mildred and removed the boots from her possession. Later that day as she sat in fashion prison across from people wearing all plaid, and others wearing florescent pants with a red shirt, and one especially confused individual wearing bell-bottoms and platform shoes.

A policeman escorting the older man entered her cell. “This man would like to talk to you,” the policeman said as he left and locked the cell.
“Hello, Mildred,” the man said.
“Why Bill I thought you disappeared long ago, so I got a new fashion consultant,” Mildred said quietly so none of the other inmates could hear.
“I merely went to Africa to help solve their fashion crisis. I need you to promise me something.”
“And what might that be Bill?”
“You must keep my identity secret.”
“Okay, I suppose, but why?”
“Don’t worry, but you will?”
“Indeed. Why do I feel like I have just sold my soul to the devil?”
“Not thy soul, not thine.” the old man said as he laughed.