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Final Thoughts Of A Trapped Man


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The first thing I noticed when I regained consciousness was the distinct smell of urine and a wet spot on my crotch.

“Goddamn, where am I? What the hell happened?â€

I didn’t know. The light was dim. I was groggy. The last thing I remembered was wandering around my apartment with nothing to do – the normal habit of an unemployed 23 year old male slacker. Things started to come into focus. Holy *******, I was tied to the chair I was sitting in. The room was small. A voice:

“Look, the little fucker wet himself.â€

Another voice:

“The drugs will do that. You know that. Now shut up, he wakes. Business.â€

The voices had bodies, apparently. They were behind me, and then they were in front. Not particularly big men. They didn’t look threatening. But I was terrified of them. I knew when I saw them that these were two people who I wanted to be as far away from as possible. I struggled, despite knowing that I wasn’t going anywhere. The first man – the one who marveled at my released urine – laughed.

“The little fucker thinks he’s going somewhere.â€

I wanted to talk. I wanted to ask why I’m here, who they were. There had to be some sort of mistake. But as my mouth moved, no sound came out. The other man spoke:

“You’ve been dosed with a powerful depressant. Your speech will come back, in time. But right now I just want you to listen. We know who you are. We know what you did. And you’re going to make up with it, or we will kill you. No doubt when you committed the deed, you knew who you were messing with. Now you will find out how goddamn stupid you were. Admit to it, and things will go smoothly. If you don’t, well, that would be stupid too.â€

I managed to croak out: “What?â€

The first man laughed again. The second was not so amused.

“Alright then. We should have figured on dealing with an idiot. So, let’s play.â€

He disappeared. The first man laughed. Louder and louder. Maniacally. The laughter was torture in itself. I wanted him to shut up. I couldn’t think of anything worse than his taunting, insane laughter. There was no pleasure in it beyond sadism. You could tell. No, nothing could be worse, right? Oh how wrong I was.

The second man came back. Jumper cables. Dear God. My voice was back. I pleaded:

“No! Whatever you think I did, it wasn’t me! My name is Brandon Johnson. I live in an apartment in downtown San Antonio. I take classes in community college and my girlfriend pays my rent. Whatever the hell you think I did, it could not have been me!â€

“Do you think we’re as dumb as you?†replied the second man. “There’s no pleading now, you’ve chosen this route, not me.â€

He plugged in the cables. Slowly. Everything he did was slow and calculated. Please, just hurry up. I know what’s coming, just do it. He walked over. Attached the cables to the metal frame of the chair. There was a switch by the door. Flick.

There aren’t words for such pain. The English language was not created by a masochist. I can’t describe it. I could barely hear my own screaming over the beating in my skull, my core, my very self. And then, it stopped.

“Hurt, didn’t it?†laughed man number one.

“Have you come to your senses? Will you admit your sins?†asked the second man.

I was shocked to hear the following come out of my mouth: “No.†I knew more pain was coming, but for Christ’s sake, I had nothing to admit.

The pain came back, and more. I didn’t think it could possibly be worse than last time, but it was. I was pain. My entire essence was pain. My identity had been stolen and replaced by pain. Again, it stopped.

“One more time. Admit your sins.â€

“N…. no.â€

This wasn’t pain. This was death. I knew it. It had to be. I could not be alive. I was dead and in hell because I did not admit my sins. And then:

Door slamming. Gunshots. The pain stopped. The two men dropped and many more rushed in. Saved! The second man looked up at me. Through blood he gurgled:

“You poor bastard.†Dead. My tormentor, dead.

I looked up to thank the men who saved me. A pistol butt came rushing towards my skull. Darkness.

I have been in this room for God knows how long. I have neither seen nor heard anybody, except for whoever keeps slipping food under the door to keep me alive. I have stopped taking it. I would take the pain of the chair over this solitude. This purgatory. So I will die. For whatever I did, or whatever people think I did, I will die. I look forward to it.

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Exceptionally vivid writing, Tim. I really like the space left for the reader's imagination. I tend to read critically, even while remaining within the narrative and quotation portions. The weakest point I read was the line, "You could tell." While colloquially acceptable, the word "tell" is not really strong enough to work well in the context of the tension you were creating up to that point. That line could have been so much more - up to the standard delivered by the rest of this piece. Bravo.

As was said previously, you have a gift.

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