Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day Twenty-Five

Day 25: 26 Aug 2010

After today's meal -- same as yesterday's -- a bucket slid into the room. I guess I'm meant to stay a while. I'd already. . . refilled yesterday's water bottles, and was getting pretty close to having to use the bucket when the door opened.

Another man in a black suit walked in, also dragging a chair with him. He set the chair in the middle of the floor, like before. However, he didn't gesture at me to sit down. He sat in the chair himself, and pulled out a pack of smokes. He lit one and inhaled. He tipped the pack toward me, but I shook my head.

"Suit yourself," he said. His voice was deep, accented, but quiet. He came from somewhere in Eastern Europe, I'd guess. He was just as muscular as his friend from yesterday, but slightly taller.

"Don't suppose you want to tell me what I'm doing here," I said after a few moments of watching him smoke.

"Interesting," he said. "The girl hasn't told you yet."

"She's been a bit light on the information, yeah."

"We don't know very much about her. My guess is she's working for the Chinese, but she won't say anything."

"Like I said, she hasn't told me very much," I said.

"We're holding you because, at the present time, you're worth quite a bit of money. You'll be worth even more soon, but now. . ."

The man in the black suit shrugged and took a long drag.

"OK. I'm a little slow here. Why am I worth money? And to who?"

"To who," the man in the black suit said, chuckling, "to anyone who has enemies, my friend. And especially to the West Coast people. They wouldn't want to lose their edge."

"I'm still not following."

"Let me put it this way. You remember the Cold War, yes?"

"I know about it. The USSR broke up when I was three."

"Ah, the fortune of youth. I, myself, lived through it. But no matter. Why does the United States have so many nuclear weapons, my friend?"

"Well, because Russia -- the Soviets, I mean -- had a bunch. We couldn't let them have more than us."

"Exactly. Now, what if America never developed the nuclear bomb, but the USSR did?"

"I guess the USSR would be running things right now," I said.

"Exactly. Our situation here -- it is very much the same thing. Except. . . you're the bomb. The second one. The one that can balance out the power structure."

"Why me?"

He looked at me. And not just for a second, either -- for a long, uncomfortable moment.

"The Chinese girl really didn't tell you, did she?"

I shrugged.

"Get some sleep, and we will talk more soon. I was afraid you would be a threat, but I am assured you are not. I will have some furniture brought in, give you some access to facilities, as long as you promise to behave yourself."

He didn't wait for an answer -- he just took his chair and left.

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