Marge liked the weekly shopping trips. Not the ones where they all shopped for food for the commune, but the one each week where she walked to the general store, a couple of miles down the road, and bought the various stuff the communards wanted for their snacks and recreation. She bought lots of candy bars and beer and several types of vitamin pills. She also bought fashion magazines for several of the women--and Chuck as well.
As she was looking through the magazines she spotted several that were trying to appeal to the adolescent set. Prominently displayed was the latest issue of Angsty Teen Magazine featuring one of the newest TV idols on the cover. The headline read, “Where is Jason Summer?”
For some reason, Marge was drawn to the magazine and skimmed through the lead article. It seemed that star on the cover had walked off the set of the soap opera he was in and hadn’t been seen since. His fans were very distraught.
Marge kept looking at the cover. The guy’s face looked very familiar. He was wearing an outfit that made him look both macho and fragile and he had short, styled hair and a well trimmed beard, but the more Marge looked at the picture, the more she thought it looked like the new guy at the commune who had long, flowing garb and long, flowing hair.
She bought a copy of Angsty Teen Magazine along with the usual fashion magazines and candy and beer, but she didn’t show it to anyone. She hid it in her room and spent a long time reading and re-reading the article on the missing Jason Summer.
Marge didn’t like to do anything quickly. She spent the night thinking about it and waited until the next day to go looking for Winter. She saw him at breakfast and asked if she could meet with him privately at his convenience. He agreed to meet with her after lunch.
Marge was usually on top of things and took charge of organizing the cleaning and housework. But when Marge assembled the team that morning, she was a bit off her game. Grace noticed Marge looked distracted and was a little concerned.
“Is there anything wrong?” she asked Marge.
“No, no,” Marge said. “I’ve just got some things on my mind. Hopefully I’ll feel much better this afternoon.”
“I was at the store yesterday, when I saw this,” Marge said to Winter when they were alone in one of the unused rooms in Siberia House. She passed the magazine over to him.
“Drat,” he said. “There’s no escape.”
“What do you mean?”
“I came here because I just got sick of it. I couldn’t go anywhere without all the kids mobbing me, wanting my autograph, wanting a lock of my hair, wanting part of my life. I didn’t have any privacy and then this director wants me to be kissy face with some icy cold starlet who wouldn’t even talk to me off of the set. I had it. I just had it.
“I wanted to get as far away from the Golden State as I could get. I figured no one would have heard of me in a commune in the Green Mountains. I mean you folks don’t even have a television set. Do you?”
“Not that I know about,” Marge said. “We’ve got too much to do to spend our time watching television. Especially soap operas. They’re on during the day, aren’t they?”
“Yeah,” said Winter. “Some of my biggest fans were bored housewives. Between the anxious adolescents and the suburban soccer moms, I couldn’t get any peace. I didn’t have a life. And now look. I’m working on mushrooms with Birch and Patsy, and growing herbs in the Ecogreenhouse with Luna and Viv, and comparing dresses with Chuck, and having fun, and nobody knows that I’m anything but Winter, another guy at the commune.
“I love it.”
“I’m glad you’re really enjoying it here,” Marge said.
“Please don’t spoil it,” said Winter. “Please don’t tell anyone who I am. I know that they won’t care but I don’t even want anybody to know. I just want to forget that life. Please?”
“I won’t tell anyone,” Marge said and handed her copy of Angsty Teen Magazine to Jason. “Here. Take it. Get rid of it. It will be our secret.”
“Thank you,” Winter said.