What You Wish For

A room that isn’t any larger than 10 feet square. Two metal folding chairs face one another. Acoustical tile ceiling. Windowless. One door. Might have been a storage closet in some previous incarnation but found its true vocation being what it is now: a minor interrogation room for those whose assumed intelligence remains of dubious import.

Jeremy’s interrogator does not lift his eyes as the prisoner is escorted to his seat. The interrogator is a pale man in his late forties or early fifties. Short gray black hair receding a good way back on his scalp. Clean shaven. In process of flicking his cigarette into a paper cup on the floor beside a chair leg. Beige chinos and a red short sleeve golf shirt. He easily could be a manager for any big box store in any mall anywhere in the United States.

Jeremy sits and waits. His interrogator consults memos attached to his clipboard. He lights another cigarette. Disposable lighter. Black. Brown filter on white cigarette tube. Yellowish, not perfectly aligned large teeth.

“Cigarette?” Right handed. Stubby digits. Good deal of hair on fingers and back of hand as well as on wrist.

Jeremy has been trained to notice things. Little things. Big things. He wishes he’d taken courses in identifying American regional accents. His interrogator sounds like every television newsreader. Could be from anywhere. Wait for more data.

“No, thank you.” No reason to let your opponent set the agenda. Begin the interrogation yourself. “Why am I here?” Jeremy doesn’t have many tools at hand.

Flipping through a few more papers, the inquisitor points his cigarette at Jeremy and finally raises his eyes to the man opposite him. “You thought you won, didn’t you?”

Although Jeremy didn’t know the accent, he certainly recognizes the tone. It was the voice of an eventual winner who, after suffering a temporary loss, has come back even stronger than before to teach the peasants an unforgettable lesson.

What had been an overwhelming victory suddenly became a crushing defeat. This is America. Change is supposed to come through the vote. When the people speak and elect their representatives, their choices are to be accepted. None of them expected what happened once Bernie actually won. The man who’d been elected President had promised a revolution. He’d delivered a victory but the counter-revolution was something nobody anticipated.

“In case you’re wondering, we have no interest in any of your contacts, or in anything you can tell us, for that matter. You being here is simply routine. Nothing else.”

Jeremy thought his more vocal opinions probably contributed to his ending up here. They hadn’t anticipated the coup. Nobody on his side had fully appreciated how deeply entrenched the corporations had become within the military. Only a few days after the election results were certified, before Bernie could take the oath of office, the incumbent declared martial law, nullifying the election and Bernie was soon behind bars. The corporate military was now slowly rounding up his more vocal supporters.

Another terrorist plot against free market capitalism had been thwarted. Jeremy is learning the new drill.