Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Category: Short Story Winners, Issue 2

The girl is in a small room, seated at a heavy bare table facing an opaque glass wall. A heavy-set pleasant looking man with glasses comes in and sits across from her. “Hi” he says “how you doing?” “Speak French” she says “I don’t speak English good.” “Okay” the man replies speaking French now “I just have a few questions for you, then you can go. “You killed my friend” she says “kill me.” “Just relax” he tells her “nobody’s gonna do that…you, want some coffee?” “You know who that was” she says “my cousin Jori; his father’s deputy defense minister, head of special forces.” “Nobody killed your friend” says the man “the boy’s fine; really, he’s okay. You can, go see him…when we’re done here” “When his father finds out” she continues “he’ll come here, and he’ll kill you; and your wife and your children and your parents and brothers and sisters.” “What, brings you to America?” he asks. “Are you married” she asks him “you gonna go home, tell your wife you killed a young boy and a girl, so you could pump more oil, make more money, get a promotion. Is that what you gonna tell her?”

“You’re…in our country illegally” he says “why.” “Check my passport” she says “it’s stamped.” “Who…are you here with” he asks her “and what…” “And when you kill me” she tells him “none of you will ever, ever be safe again. My people…will come here; they’ll blow up your nuclear plants, your bridges, your railways, your houses” she says, looking at the man’s face “and it’ll never end.” “We’re not…concerned with all that now” he tells her, soothingly “just, wondering, what you’re doing here, is all.” “You have a son?” she asks. “Why should your boy live, and Jori die; why not the other way around.” “If you don’t…want to talk to me” he says flatly “there’re other people who… have some questions for you…maybe not so nice, though.” “I’m talking to a dead man” she says “call your wife, tell her she’s a widow; and that she’s gonna be next; tell her that, and your kids too.”

The rodent-faced man in the expensive suit is Culver Hayden, the undersecretary; he’s watching the girl from the other side of the glass window, and he’s had enough “oh Jesus, get in there Patterson; we’re not running some fucking debate society here; go get some answers.” The door opens to the little room and a great large young man with short hair walks in. His face is all red and beat up from the fight on the ferry boat. He motions with his head and the other man leaves. “So” says the girl “you gonna rape me now, or what?” The big man comes over and spins her chair around to face him, then he grabs the neck of her sweat shirt and tee shirt and rips them open from top to bottom with his huge hands. She kicks at him hard as she can, catching him in the throat, and he drops back and sits on the floor, clutching at his neck. The force of the kick throws her off the chair onto her back and she looks at the man and then quickly crawls under the table. The big man grabs ahold of the heavy table and throws it again the opposite wall, his face all red from trying to get his breath back.

Then Hayden walks in “Patterson! out” he says “now.” “I’ll kill that little bitch” says the big man, wheezing as he leaves. “Yeah, if you still have a job” the other man says. He turns to leave and then looks at the girl, huddled into a corner, clutching at her torn clothing and shaking. Good, he says to himself, not bad for an initial interview.

Posted by Mikael Covey on 05/23 at 12:00 AM | Permalink
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