Detergent

In sixteen year old Beadtris Dryer's world, society is divided into five fashions, each dedicated to a particular virtue, in an attempt to form a perfect society after a terrible fashion show. (Divergent parody)

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1. ONE

 

There is only one washing machine in my house. Our fashion only allows us to wash our clothes on the second day of every third month. I watch carefully as my mother takes out the washing and wrings the clothes, water dripping onto the concrete floor. She is well-practised in the art of doing laundry. I can’t say the same for myself. The other fashions wash their clothes often, but we don’t. It would be a waste of water.

They say the fashion show was terrible, that everything else in the world was destroyed. Our founders built the belt to protect us and divided us into five fashions to keep the peace. Today is the day that I take the Appearance Test. I’m scared it will tell me that I’m not Abnegucci, and that I will have to leave my family, but I’m even more scared it will tell me that I am, and I have to stay and learn to do the laundry.

“Are you nervous?” My mother asks, as I help her hang up the clothes.

I bite the inside of my bottom lip. “Nope.”

It’s a good thing I’m not Candior because I’m a terrible liar. Tomorrow at the Clothing Ceremony, we get to choose from five fashions. Candior, they are the honest. If you ask a Candior “Does my butt look big in this?” they will answer you honestly. Then there’s Erodarte, the intelligent. They know how to make the clothes. Armanity, they are the kind and farm the land to provide cotton. Then, there’s Dauntlouis Vuitton, the brave. They hardly wear any clothes. My fashion is Abnegucci, the selfless. We wash dirty clothing and give some of ours away to the Fashionless.

“Thank you for washing my clothes, Mom,” I say, kissing her cheek because I don’t know if I’ll get to do it again. My mother is so beautiful, but the dull grey of our dirty clothing does nothing to compliment her beauty.

On the way to school, the bus smells of soap powder. It is cramped and full of people from Abnegucci and Candior. For my brother Cleanleb, being Abnegucci has always been easy for him. He inherited my mother’s talent of selflessness, giving his coat to a Candior man on the bus. They only wear black and white but accept grey clothing because it’s a mix of both. As we go further into the city, I can see the Peg emerging, a tall black skyscraper that looks just like it sounds. Erodarte are the only ones who own cars and I have never been on a train. Only the Dauntlouis ride trains. My father says they ride trains in their underwear because no one can see them. I’m not sure if that’s true.

“Appearance Test today,” I tell Cleanleb as we walk the halls to class. We will probably not walk these halls again once we choose tomorrow at the Clothing Ceremony. “You aren’t worried?” Cleanleb and I will choose together. He is a little older than me but we are in the same year at school.

He doesn’t seem fazed. “Are you?” Suddenly, I feel stupid to have asked. Cleanleb will choose Abnegucci, I am sure of it.

 “Nope,” I lie again, as we part in the corridor. I walk towards Fashion History. The corridor is unusually packed. I assume people are stressed, excited, nervous even, about the tests later.

“Out of my way Sniff!” A Candior boy bumps into me. That’s what the other fashions call us, 'Sniffs.' Apparently we smell because we don’t wash our clothes so much. Well, I’d rather smell of natural body odour than Persil. At exactly 7.25, the Dauntlouis prove their bravery by jumping off a train and arriving to school in style. They bear piercings and tattoos on every inch of their skin that they expose, and they expose a lot of it. Their fashion values courage and I understand why when I sneak a peek at a Dauntlouis girl frantically putting on a skimpy black dress over her underwear, which is also black, just before she jumps off. For some reason, I have always been drawn to the Dauntlouis, so brave and free.

As I enter Fashion History, I think about what Cleanleb told me, “Trust the test Beadtris.” Trust the test. The test will tell me who I am and where I belong, something I have wanted to know for a long time.

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