“Who are you?”
“Hmm... Well, I am a man, caucasian, ask me my age and maybe I'll tell you... I am rather handsome...”
The grin that had formed on Stanton's face as he was describing himself swiftly turned into a wince, as a knuckle sandwich punched his visage. However, his demeanour rapidly returned to the cocky attitude he was holding.
“Who are you!?” asked in a louder voice the interrogator, “Who do you work for!?”
“Okay, okay... I'll tell you... your momma hired me, she doesn't want you to be a naughty boy no more.”
Another fist irrupted the perimeter of Stanton's face, a face that was getting darker by the second. The interrogator then gave a look to the two gorillas behind Stanton. Both of them promptly seized and dragged the latter into a new room.
“I already had a bath today,” said Stanton.
“Who are you? Who do you work for?” was the only response he got.
Stanton was gasping for air after being plummeted in a water tub. His eyes looked down at the water's surface, one which now also contained quite a bit of haemoglobin. But water and blood were far from being the only substances lurking in this pond of sorts. Chlorine and whatnot harshly ripped through his throat.
“Okay, I'll tell you what you want to know... but only if you throw some bubbles in this mix.”
“I am not amused... and I am getting really bored.”
Electricity and water are not a good combo. Screams filled the room completely as sparks flew from a taser gun and through the wet body of Stanton. “Seems you are getting dry,” whispered one of the two guards in Stanton's ear, just before pushing his upper body into the tub once more.
This time Stanton said nothing.
“Make no mistake, I will break you... it's up to you how much pain you desire to endure.”
Three more times Stanton was dipped into the tub, electrocuted and asked his identity and allegiances. Three more times, his throat suffered the taste of the compound in the tub, burning slowly as it filtered to his guts. Three more times screams were eaten by the blackness of the dark.
“Enough... I'll be honest this time... it is not going to work honey, I'm already on a relationship.”
“You are rather funny. I will give you a comedy to die for then.” The interrogator had a faint smile on his face.
Stanton was dragged once more to another room. Strapped to a chair and unable to move, he was preparing for the worst. The interrogator brought a little table with knives and blades of all sorts. Stanton could not help but wonder if those instruments were sterilized. He grinned again.
“I already had my annual check-up chomp.”
“And maybe it was the last one you had in this life... congrats.” A more prominent smile formed on the interrogator's face. Screams continued for a while.
“How did it go?” asked a man to another, outside a room from which laments could be heard.
“Good,” answered the other man, who was holding a blood-soaking scalpel, “I think he is ready.”
“Did he talk?”
“Perfect, then he is ready.”
“Well, I guess you will live for another annual check-up mate.”
“Hmm... how cute,” responded Stanton. He was lying on a hospital bed, bandages covering his thorax, a tube sticking from his nose. “Was the... surgery really necessary?”
“He avoided all vital parts.”
“Yet he touched all the sensitive ones.”
“I know... but it is ironic isn't it?”
“That I have to hurt you to make you stronger?”
“No...” said Stanton, and after laughing a little continued “that you tortured me with that idea... and that I feel weaker than ever.”
“You will get better, you just need to rest a little,” finished Lieutenant Gray as he moved towards the room's door. “I hope you understand. As soon as you are in top-notch condition you will be briefed.”
No more than a month later, Stanton was back on his feet. He had prepared for almost seven weeks to go undercover. He was not quite sure what the mission was, but Lieutenant Gray emphasized the fact that he would have to be ready to overcome great pain.
No more than a month later, Stanton was getting all the information of what would be the most important mission in his career... in his life. He was told that his torturing was an important preparation as well... in case he got caught.
No more than a month later, Stanton was ready for an extremely dangerous mission that would most certainly end his career... and maybe his life.
No more than a month later, Stanton was walking home in his last night before going undercover. He just wanted to rest. No more than a month later, irony came knocking.
“Give me all your money,” said eagerly a male voice from behind Stanton. A cold artefact was touching Stanton's occiput, so he slowly started reaching into his back pocket. “Hurry!” shouted the voice pointing his gun at Stanton.
“Easy now cowboy,” said Stanton. He did not feel threatened by this petite thief. He did not feel afraid or anxious. He was very calm and in control of the situation. In what looked like the movement of a superhuman with enhanced abilities, Stanton turned around and took the gun from the hostile aggressor. He never made it to his back pocket to acquire his wallet.
“It is ironic you know,” continued Stanton, “the Southeast cartel's drug business is the reason why this city is crumbling. It is the reason why people don't have any honest jobs and are reduced to assault and thievery. It is really none of your business, but I can assure you we are making all we can to stop them. You have inadvertently tried to stop the sorry situation in which you and many others are... it is ironic and sad”
“You want to know something even more ironic?” said yet another voice, again coming from Stanton's back. “We work for the Southeast cartel... so thank you very much for the tip lad... we really appreciate that you, so... inadvertently, have helped our organisation” This time not only did Stanton feel a cold artefact on his occiput, but also a very hot piece of lead rushing through his cranium. He was not going on a mission that would most certainly end his life anymore.
Short Story. May, 2009.