Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Snow, chapter 18

The psychologist never liked walking down whitewashed hallways. Everything was white: all the white brick walls. Here, in this polished place, are the scum of the earth: People who made fools of the American government, heh. He straightened his lab coat in preparation. Why do they make me wear this? Of course, this wasn't some looney-wing of a hospital, however. NORAD had allowed many new people in since the attacks had subsided. The country had been crippled, and Doctor Kay was the most qualified to find out where they had began... as though it matters any more.

"So what do you make of this, Doctor?" his field guide to the 'exhibits,' Mr. Bledsoe, said. He was only a student, but he was respectable, and so Kay kept him on his team.

"Well, he's obviously antisocial," Doctor Kay said, staring straight ahead. "Other than that, this guy has no story."

The hall was so white. It reminded him of one of the most clever con artists he had ever interviewed. The man he had interviewed all those years ago was not a typical obsessive-compulsive: he had social skills to a high degree. Enough, apparently, to infiltrate the CIA after a few years of trying. Clean cut, a compulsive groomer and cleaner; they never saw it coming. This whiteness always seems dishonest to me. Of course, who was he to claim purity?

Kay arrived at the cell, somewhat nervous. He pressed the call button, and the wall separating him from the prisoner became transparent.

"Hello, I'm Doctor Kay, and I'll be taking care of you for the next few months. Your name is... 'Fog'? I hope you feel like talking today, Fog. I want to hear what you have to say."

The man looked up: He was an intimidating figure even in his condition. They stared at each other for a while, which was fine with me. Kay was getting paid whether his subject said anything or not, but they only call back those who get information from their 'clients.' Kay held his wallet closer than anyone else in his life.

Fog had painted a picture with his remaining arm. It was just eyes, and Kay gathered that Fog had drawn it in a hurry. He took my coat off and slung it around the chair they placed in front of the plexiglass cell.

"Put down 'delusions of persecution' too, Bledsoe," Kay whispered.

"You like my painting, doctor?" A vague European accent that Kay couldn't place.

"Yes, it's interesting. Is someone watching you?"

"Oh yes. I do not think I will be in this cell long."

Kay waited a moment, just in case he wanted to answer his own statement. "Why is that? You've been here for eight months. Is someone coming for you?"

"Is not someone always 'coming' somewhere? Heh, heh, heh."

Kay make it a point to never laugh at a sociopath's joke, or any joke made by an insane person: It gets in the way of conversation, and that gets in the way of Kay's business. He waited a few moments. Fog was now looking in my direction very intensely. Kay tried the same line of questioning, just in case it bore fruit.

"Is someone going to arrive here... 'soon,' you said?"

Fog looked straight at the wall and said, "Why am I in prison?" and shuffled in his simple bed. It was as though he asked the wall the question.

"Er, I think we both know the answer to that, Fog..." Kay tried not to shift in his seat. He just watched fog lying there, as though he couldn't move. In spite of all this, he looked so relaxed that it was as if he would melt through the concrete walls and escape.

Fog lay there, silent. Kay knew that he would be one of the 'silent types,' but even they loosen up eventually: They all want their story to be known, or some shit like that. They all want to be famous. Kay packed up my things and gestured to Mr. Bledsoe to call in to re-opaque the wall. As he walked away, the doctor had a strange feeling that Fog knew far more than he was letting on.

No comments: