Static Conversation

Bands of rope tightly wound around my wrists and burned slightly as I shifted in the chair. Upright and restrained, my back muscles tensed under the anxiety. It felt like being in front of my high school speech class again, only this time the idea of dying might be more literal. That wasn’t including the confusion of winding up here.

This headache was the worst ever. Liquor has done strange things before, but maybe someone hit me from behind? It’s anyone’s guess. Too drunk to feel anything then, I certainly do now. My surroundings make for what’s known at the moment. There is no reason for me to be here. Misunderstandings happen all the time. This has to be one of them… I hope. Where is this place, anyway?

The room dealt with shipping, as crates stacked three to four pallets high lined the walls. This had to be some sort of warehouse. A slowly-swirling vent fan made for the sole light source in the building. Its blades became a distorted starfish pattern on the floor in front of a table with what seemed to be homemade devices. That doesn’t make one comfortable in the least.

To add stress, an unwelcome visitor decided my leg was an interesting landmark. Long whiskers grazed the front of my shin and a furry muzzle felt at my ankle. “Shoo!” blew in short puffs while I tried to wiggle free. That merely managed to frighten the rodent, and it made a response in the form of teeth. Feeling a stinging sensation gave me the spirit to yell and bobble the chair a few inches backward. My captor(s) now realized I was awake.

“I hope you don’t mind the basic accommodations, Mr. Ellison.” A shade-blackened figure stared at me from over the table. The glint of the sun seemed to focus on his bald head. Even after hard concentration, his voice and figure did not hold any clues to his identity. From what could be seen, the illuminated skin was eggshell, a hallmark of a desk job. “We were in a bit of a pinch.”

“Who are you? Why did you call me that? Why am I here? What do you want from me?” That seemed to cover all of the bases for the time being. Whether they’d be answered sufficiently was another matter entirely.

“You know who has interrogative authority in this situation, Mr. Ellison. This histrionic behavior will not go unpunished.” With a slight wave of his hand, he emphasized the devices on the table. Pausing for a moment, he looked down at them too. Grabbing what appeared to be a coffee grinder with wires, he approached my chair. There he threaded the copper wire around my fingers. Sparks erupted from the box when he spun the handle around. It scraped like an old magneto telephone.

The shock was beyond painful. There wasn’t much to do, save bending over as a reflex and making guttural noises. A sigh came from above me and he rested himself on the edge of the table. The sound of my breath kept the room from being silent.

“Since you seem to have selective memory, I’ll lay out the details of what we already know. Your name isn’t Harold Katzinger; you’re Finbarr Ellison. You’re wanted by INTERPOL on a long list of espionage charges. You’re currently in America to sell sensitive information, namely coordinates to our confidential weapons development facilities, to a private buyer. To be brief, Mr. Ellison, we want to know who that buyer is.”

“You’re full of shit, buddy. Gyaaaaaaaah!” That wasn’t the wisest answer in the world.

“One last time, Mr. Ellison,” the voice was now through gritted teeth, “to whom are you going to deliver those coordinates? You might as well tell us now, and you may get a fair trial. We’re nice like that. If you won’t cooperate with us, we could simply leave you in any remote area we please to let you starve to death. I’m partial to the Mojave, but Alaska has a certain charm. Nobody will ever find your body either way. “

“I am Harold Katzinger. I’m an American citizen. I’m not a spy. I don’t have any coordinates, and I don’t want to know any coordinates. You’re hurting an innocent man. Let me go. You’re violating my rights!” How could anyone confuse me, the man who once affixed a rafter square to his forearm with superglue, for some cunning secret agent?

Uttering a string of profanity, my companion grabbed the coffee grinder and violently twisted the handle more times than I could count. Any more than once was way too many.  My arm hair bristled with current as my limbs went numb.

“MOTHERFAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!” I was convinced my fingers fell off. It took forever to stop, and once it did, there wasn’t much fight left in me. My muscles relaxed and my head fell forward again. Feeling the heat from my eye sockets, my breath became more stable. The stench of burnt hair reached my nose but I was too tired to care. Fading out from exhaustion, I could hear parts of a new conversation.

“What do you think? Is he telling the truth?” A voice with heavier footsteps came in from my right. We weren’t alone.

“He’s definitely hiding something. I’ve never met a more natural liar.” The interrogator turned his back to walk out.

“What do we do with him now?” The deeper, husky voice was obviously a subordinate.

“Keep him here for all I care,” came the reply. “He’ll doing the same thing soon enough.”

© 2014 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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11 thoughts on “Static Conversation

  1. kerbey says:

    I blame you for any nightmares tonight.

  2. authormbeyer says:

    Wow! Very intense. Your adjectives could curdle milk at twenty paces.

  3. […] was a flash fiction challenge yesterday from Opinionated Man of which I had not participated. I had already posted yesterday’s flash, which was for another Reddit contest (did not win/no honorable mention). That’s not to say […]

  4. Rob Heckman says:

    Having zapped myself on the fingers with low-amp high voltage more times than I care to remember, I can confirm the disquieting smell of burning hair/skin in such a scenario. This is among my favorite of your flash-fics so far!

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