Things Left Mostly Unsaid (05)

§05 — The interrogation would undoubtedly be difficult to navigate. There wasn’t any kind of sensible story to offer up. Some impure version of nothing was the only message available. That would seem odd. They’d want something.
He paced back and forth agitatedly, softly tortured by anticipation. “What if they ask about it directly?”
“They won’t.”
“But if they do?”
“Say as little as possible. Avoid lying, though, if you can. Lies are vulnerabilities. They tend to come apart under pressure. They release information when they break.” She paused a moment before continuing. “They can’t force you to talk.”

“That’s true, probably,” he admitted, not entirely without bitterness. “But what would silence sound like to them?”
“You can’t afford to worry about that.”
“What can I afford?”
“Caution,” she said.
“That’s it?”
“That’s enough.”
It seemed unlikely. “I’m assuming they’re good at what they do.”
“Asking questions?”
“Roughly,” he accepted. He meant approximately.
The word took her elsewhere. “Not especially roughly,” she countered. “Their freedom is tightly constrained.”
Torture was close to the last thing he wanted to talk about. Yet, here they were.
“I’d tell them everything, if I could,” he muttered, unnecessarily.
She smiled thinly. “Thank you for the honesty.”
“Not that it matters.”
“Quite,” she agreed.
“There have to be words that would work,” he mused, “but how to find them?”
“You think there’s a method?” A method you could conceivably follow in time, she might have elaborated, which would have been colder.
There was no answer to it, in any case.
“Inaccessible possibilities seem like a theme,” he grumbled. “It starts and ends with them.”
“They divert you too much. You should concentrate upon what you can do.”
“You mean, what I can avoid saying.”
“Why reach for more than that – especially now?”
“‘Now’ is kind of the point, though, isn’t it?”
“Not unless you want to trip yourself up, at the worst time.”
“Yes, it would be better to forget.” The irritability had drained out, leaving only gloom. “Another inaccessible possibility,” he added.
She tapped her watch. Time’s passing. Words would only have softened the message.
“How long, do you think?” he asked.
“An hour or two, maybe,” she guessed. “Not long enough for this.”
“Or, maybe, for anything useful?” he said. “The opportunity cost of digression could be zero.”
“Only if you’re already fucked,” she said, her patience broken.
“Sometimes there’s nothing that can be done.”
“Isn’t that what you’re supposed to be planning?”
“Yeah, I guess,” he said, smiling awkwardly at her joke. He seemed bored by his own predicament.
“Best case you’ll get through on sheer apathy.”
“You think they’ll spin it out?”
“Why wouldn’t they? But it’s you who’ll be doing the spinning.”
“So the less I give them, the longer it takes,” he mused. “It’s a siege.”
The insight was too inane to remark upon. She felt mild relief he hadn’t posed it as a question.
“Not giving them anything is simply what’s going to happen,” she said. “That’s baked in. You have nothing. The problem begins when it seems you’re keeping something from them.”
“Which they have to,” he said, completing the circle.
“You see how easy it is to get nowhere? Keep that up at the right time, for a maximum of – probably – six hours, and you’re through.”
He groaned at the schedule.
“You’ll have to step-up the manifest compliance,” she added. “Any time that they think has been spent playing games won’t count.”
“Round and around,” he said.
“That’s the way. It’s not as if there’s another.”

February 5, 2020admin 1 Comment »

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