Roddy's Ramblings

Thoughts and tales; some of them may even be true.

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Location: Australia

Hopefully whatever there is to know about me will come through whatever is written below - whatever that may bring...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Tale... A day at the office

“Good morning,” he smiled at the receptionist as he came through the sliding doors.
“Good morning.” She replied formally, presenting him with the signing in book. Placing his briefcase on the floor, he looked at the clock on the wall and in careful, meticulous script wrote down the time. He smiled again at the receptionist before typing in a code on a numeric pad embedded within the desktop. Taking the book from him she examined the page then the screen hidden from his view on her desk.
“Please continue on, Sir.”
A door opened silently against the far wall and picking up his briefcase, he walked briskly inside.

The large, white room was brightly lit with no furniture apart from a single metal trolley and an armless office chair in the centre. One of the walls was crammed with a mixture of colour and black and white photographs; giving a mosaic of dark gray, white and red. If the man sitting on the chair took any notice of his surroundings, he showed no indication of it.

On entering the room, he placed his briefcase on the floor, removed his overcoat and placed it on the case. His smile was no longer there. He stood straight and examined the man in the chair. He had some fading bruising around his face, but fortunately there was nothing serious which might have prepared him. It was always better if they were fresh. Visitors are like fish, his mother used to say to him; no matter how nice they are, after three days they start to leave a bad smell. He caught himself; it was unusual for his mind to wander; especially to his past. Pushing it aside, he approached the man in the chair. He showed no signs of panic, not even signs of worry. Some people whom he faced were almost wild animals, straining against the cable ties on their wrists to try and get out of the chair. Their fear carried on their sweat. Even those who tried to hide it had the distinct odour around them. They would thrash their body around, sometimes upsetting the chair; whereupon usually they would stop moving and the sobbing would start. The pleading; it was like a slab of meat pleading to the butcher. But the calmness of this man was something he rarely encountered. The photographs on the wall were visible to him. Stretching his hand out, he lifted the man’s chin to look into his eyes.
The sunlight was piercing, before his pupils shrank and he squinted his eyes against the rushing of the wind. The sky was a perfect blue around him as his hands held the wheel of the open top car, it’s small, sporty engine straining at maximum revs. The green countryside flew past him with the smell of Spring assaulting his senses. Blink; white room; his hand gently supporting the man’s chin. He took an involuntary step back, then turned his back to the man in the chair. He caught his breath, keeping it steady. What was happening to me, his thoughts quickly passing through his mind. First, my mother and now this. He’d never even owned an open topped mini. He had to steel himself, he was the one in charge; if that slipped, everything would be lost. His voice arrived, calm and hard as steel.
“You know why you are here, I assume. You’ve seen the montage of photos and you know what is to happen to you. I am not the interrogator, but merely the message carrier. My managers have to know that you are telling the truth and for that they rely on my judgement.” He paused, then turned to the man in the chair, “I will know.”
The man looked at him, impassively. But not for much longer I would imagine, he thought to himself. For this type of character, he would need to start strong to break whatever kind of mental displacement he had hidden himself in. Reaching to the table, he picked up a pair of pliers and squeezed them twice in front of the man’s face, which showed no notice of them even being there, then he went behind the man and took his hand in a strong grip before applying the edge of the pliers to the nail of his index finger. He tugged hard and the suddenness of the scream that erupted caused him to drop the pliers and fall back a step. It had been so unexpected; picking up the pliers, he then extracted the nail from his thumb. Another scream and the droplets of blood started to form a puddle on the floor. He took a deep breath; clearing his head as he could feel a headache starting. This was not going well, except the for the quickness of the breakthrough; but he had to make sure it was not a cover; standard procedure. He walked back to the trolley and faced the now impassive face of the man in the chair. Then he saw the corners of the man’s mouth were slightly uplifted as if holding back a smile. He replaced the pliers and picked up the butane torch, lighting it with a quick flick of a small switch. The languid yellow flame flew from the tip. His thoughts came back to the girl whom had sat in the same chair, her hair gone, only blackened, blistered skin in it’s place. He had known she wouldn’t have talked and her strength was deep within her; it was her vanity which had caused the final crack and she had been so very pretty. He chastised himself for drifting again. This was not how it should be. He slowly turned the handle watching the flame tighten into the small blue tear drop, tear drop, he briefly wondered, then looked at the man in the chair. Who suddenly looked up at him and spoke, his tones showing anger barely held in check.
“Did you enjoy it? Did you even know why she was here?”
“You are not here to ask questions,” he replied instictively, “and I would take care not to anger me.” But how did he know he had been thinking about the girl. He gave the man in the chair a look of contempt then crouched down to his knees and pointed the end of the flame upwards at the base of his kneecap. The scream erupted again. He could feel his hand shaking, but he held the torch in place watching the first the trousers burning away in a perfect circle and the skin blackening then splitting away. Suddenly he turned it off, but the scream lingered. He managed to place the torch back on the trolley and grabbed the hammer and chisel. He looked back at the face of the man in the chair and his face dropped in fright. The expression of anger was still there on the man in the chair’s face with a twisted grin in place on his lips. Then the grin broadened, he dropped the tools and the pain started; looking down at what he had done to his own hand, his own kneecap. Pain flooding his body, the screams his own his body writhing. The man in the chair stood up, his wrist pulled from straps never tightened. And his voice could be heard, though his lips never moved.
“It was difficult to hunt you down, but you had to know who you maimed, before they threw her into an incinerator with a snooker ball in her mouth to stop her screaming. You will know now that it was her eyes that you saw through driving through the countryside and you will know now that you will suffer like no other has beneath your knife for what you have done.” Their faces were almost touching as the man leaned over the bloodied figure lying on the floor.
“Her only crime was to live in the wrong apartment and to look through the window and see what she didn’t even understand.”

The man didn’t look behind him as he left the room, leaving behind a prostrate figure lying on the floor in a mosaic of blood. The receptionist jerked slightly and looked to see something over her shoulder as he passed; not even knowing he had been there. He pushed open the door and stepped into the night.


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