Style No. 39: Interrogation

Standard

Darkness. Pacing. Cigarette smoke. A metal table. Folding chairs.

The interrogation room is located atop the Qutb Minar, Delhi, on the Yellow Line just one stop past the mall.

The interrogation room is located atop the Qutb Minar, Delhi, on the Yellow Line just one stop past the mall.

“Who was it you saw in the street that day?”

He looks away, sighs. “A kid.”

“Hmm. And what was he doing?”

“Whistling.”

“I see. And his appearance?”

“Orange as a traffic cone.”

“Right. Anything else?”

“Preoccupied. He was preoccupied.”

Silence. Preoccupied. More pacing.

“And he was the only one you saw?”

“No, there was a friend.”

“A second boy?”

“Yes, a friend. That’s what I said.”

“Who was he, this friend?”

“I don’t know. Just a kid looking off into the crowd.”

More silence.

“Don’t bullshit me, pal. Give me a name before I break your skull on this table. Who else did you see?”

“Hey, we’re all amigos here. Take it easy. I was just about to tell you the rest of the story.”

“Oh yeah? How’s it go?”

“Like this: an old lady waddles by with a package wrapped up on her head like a Christmas fruitcake.”

“A fruitcake? How do you know it was a fruitcake?”

“It’s an expression.”

“‘Wrapped up like a Christmas fruitcake’ is an expression?”

“You wanted the story, I’m giving you the story. You can thank me later.”

“Oh, you’ll get your thanks. Don’t you worry.” A lighter. Inhalation. Fresh smoke. “So then what?”

“Then nothing. Just some guy in the background.”

“A guy in the background?”

“Yeah, some whackjob with a screw-eye, that’s all. It’s all I know, I swear.”

“You swear?”

“I swear.”

“Then you better scram before I get the screw-eye, myself. Get the hell out of here.”

 

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