Sunday, September 23, 2007

Nobody Expects

This is a dark room, in an unlisted building, on a nondescript street – one of many such in an unnamed and imaginary state. A few people (it is hard to tell how many are in this dark room) are present: an Inquisitor, a Subject, a supervising medical officer, and some other figures with brutal silhouettes.

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Inquisitor: What is your name, rank and serial number?

Subject: Wolf, Lone, 008.

I: (motions to unseen presences)

Beating ensues.

I: (pleasantly) Let's begin again. What is your name, rank and serial number?

S: E Rhodes Stitt, Rear-Admiral, 18671948.

I: Whoever you really are, you will address me as sir, sir.

S: Sir, sir.

I: (motions to unseen presences)

Beating ensues.

I: (pleasantly) Let's continue, sir.

[This sequence, from the motion to unseen presences to the continuation, repeats several times. We will henceforth refer to it in this transcript as Refrain, by which is meant that the sequence repeats as transcribed with no deviation.]

I: What is your primary mission, sir?

S: As stated in my deposition. Sir.

I: Please state it again for the record, sir.

S: To carry out an holistic programme of education resulting in the development of premier doctors, scientists, authors, and suchlike. As in my deposition. Sir.

I: Why do you use the article 'an', sir?

S: The Greeks used a small mark to indicate the presence or absence of the aspirate and so the 'h' in words like 'historian' and 'hologram' does not exist as a proper letter. Indulge an old man in this. It is nothing more than...

Refrain

I: I put it to you that it is not consonant with the vows you have made to this country that you should use invisible letters thusly, sir. And furthermore, you are wasting public funds in providing extraneous and irrelevant educational components. Sir. Why do you use the word 'premier', sir?

S: We seek to produce graduates who are in the top 0.02325% of the national population. This is considered by many to be 'premier' grade education. Sir.

I: This is elitism, and we are a democracy, sir. But who do you mean by 'we' and 'many'? Sir.

S: I mean myself. There are no others. And 'many' is statistical...

Refrain

I: Who are 'we', sir? Who are the 'many'? Sir.

S: [Transcript shows heavy censorship here.]

I: Thank you, sir. And what is your main activity in pursuing your mission? Sir.

S: (sounds a little dazed) We groom these young people to be...

I: (interrupting) What did you say you do to them? You groom them? Unspeakable. Vile.

Refrain (x3) [At this point, the supervising medical officer intervened.]

I: We will return to these issues again, whoever-you-are sir. And it will not go well for you if you continue to digress. I am not here to be educated by the likes of you. Sir.

Exeunt Inquisitor and entourage.

S: (to himself) Heh, at least I got him to beat me up so that I could avoid calling him sir.

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