“You’ve been busy haven’t you?” He stated, looking over the colors and notes. “Looting, murdering… houses, cars, livestock… every opportunity you had, am I right? He pondered as I looked at the map. If this was the incident map for this area, then I and everyone else around here had been very, very lucky to still be alive and have what we still had. The map was virtually covered with spots they thought I’d been and where incidents had happened.
“You missed one.” I said and saw a restrained motion from the Flannel Man out of the corner of my eye.
“Here is what I don’t get,” He continued on un-phased. “You’ve managed to do all this for this long, and you haven’t made a name for yourself.”
“What’s not to get?” I asked honestly.
“No calling cards, no boasting at the local bars, stores or trading places.You did all this, and still stayed under the radar enough to keep from getting caught.”
“Not well enough it seems.” I laughed to myself and received a kick to the ribs from behind me. Damn that man was vicious.
“Who helped you?” The Suit asked raising the level of his voice to be sure I could hear him though my wheezing.
“No one. You said it yourself, you get known and you get targeted.” I winced trying to regain my breath.
“So why then? What’s your angle?”
“The fuck angle you think I need other than staying alive?” I lashed out in frustration.
Was this smart man so dumb that he thought I had some intricate plan I was working at? He thought I wanted to be famous? I was the last person who wanted to be me right now.
“Where does the satisfaction come from then?” He continued on as if he hadn’t heard me. “Were you just on a free for all spree once you thought you weren’t accountable to anyone? You wouldn’t be the first you know; we’ve seen that all across the country.” He paused briefly to look at his watch, and then went on.
Something was wrong. Was I hallucinating again or were they playacting? No, I was lucid enough to know that this was real. The blows to my body by the Flannel Guy told me that much right away. But something was off. The questions weren’t fitting together… or was my mind not fitting them together? Maybe they really didn’t know anything about me. Or maybe they actually didn’t know what they were doing here with me, I finally concluded. They were blindly doing the job for someone else that hadn’t told them how or why.
If these guys weren’t experienced interrogators it could actually be a bigger problem for me than if they were. The Flannel Man said he worked at the base, maybe they were just prisoner handlers. That would explain why they weren’t getting actual information, they were going the wrong direction for that. Using empty threats, brutality at the wrong times, asking the wrong questions… and that was what was dangerous for me. There was a very real possibility that they would screw up and kill me without getting anything real out of me. So what do I do now?
“What do you feel when you shoot people?” He asked, surprising me out of my own scattered thoughts. I didn’t fall for the line he was looking for, but I thought to myself about the real terrible answer: Pleasure. Pleasure of stopping the attack, relief that they died and not me or my friends…
“What was the last set of orders you were given?” I hear him say, realizing I had momentarily lost my concentration again.
“I never got married.” I replied quickly, trying to buy time to see where he was going with this.
“So no wife, no parents, no supervisor? Who do you answer to I wonder?” He continued off on this new, weird track.
“You are always accountable to someone.” I strung him along. At this point his questioning was losing credibility with me.
“That is true isn’t it? Are you a religious man?” He eyed me with renewed interest.
“Then who is it that you are accountable to, hmm?” He mused rhetorically.
Arrogance had always annoyed me and even with a guy in the room who had proven that he was more than willing to beat me to death with his bare hands, I hated arrogant people and was not eager to make their jobs any easier.
“Like a president or general or commander?” He optioned, waiting for me to grab on to one.
“Or wife, or father, or woman, or man, or boy, or girl…” I listed lazily, trying to sound disconnected and crazy.
“What about laws? There are laws you know. Things are getting better and people will have to answer for the laws they broke, as you are now finding out.”
“Well now that’s really just a matter of perspective isn’t it?” I played. “Don’t tell me you haven’t requisitioned stuff for your own use.”
His eyes narrowed but he again changed directions.
“And what about God? Where does God fit into all this?”
“He comes into play later.” I was tired of him and it was time to start playing to my own side, I thought.
“But you said you weren’t a religious man.”
“I will be if I ever meet him. Hey for all I know its been God’s, Allah’s, Buddha’s, or the Dread Over Lord’s will that I get killed, but its not my fault that the people they keep sending to do it suck at their jobs.” I was gaining traction in the discussion and he was too wrapped up in himself to realize it, so we kept going.
“So who told you to do these things? We all have our orders. Were you just following orders?”
The two “interrogators” together were making a predictable team and I knew better. They didn’t know enough to actually humiliate and degrade me to the point where I lost my resolve. This wasn’t standard questioning and there was no confession to sign. Good thing for them because I probably would’ve stabbed one of them with the pen.
“I do what I have to do, no orders, no contract, no price.” I stated defiantly.
“Every man has his price.” He barked out.
His speech patterns were changing. Even after the blows to my head I was picking up on it. This measured man was on the verge of breaking his character. I could hear it as he talked and saw it in the glistening sheen of sweat beginning to pop on his forehead.
“That’s for sure. You’re here doing this, so we know someone found out what your price was. Was it as high as it should have been or were you excited to get paid for doing the dirty work you always wanted to be doing anyway? You wanted to be in control, take charge and beat up on people…” The Flannel Man was inching closer to me and I did not really want to take another hit from him, but I kept pushing. “Are you ok with selling your soul to torture others or is this a form of self torture in itself? What wrongs are you punishing yourself for, or do you just like hurting people?”
“Its part of the job” He shot back.
“It’s why you took the job.” I countered.
“Every man has his price.” He repeated himself, this time not as loud as before and even less evenly.
“That may be, but it doesn’t mean that you have the brains or the balls to find out what my price is.” I defied.
Hell this was easy; I lived my life on a constant plane of frustration and irritation, give me a few more years and someone would probably figure out that they needed to do a case study and write a book on the art form I had developed out of pissing people off… if I lived that long.