“What has become of the renaissance man, the man of letters?” I opined as I was walked down the street in handcuffs. I didn’t expect a response, these didn’t seem like the brains of the operation. Thing One, the one holding my arm on the left, was five five, 400 pounds, dark gray suit, military blocky squared off haircut, like his body type, about 5 feet wide, built like a wrestler, pink shirt, yellow tie. Thing Two was six foot seven, 180, the deep black skin you see in Nigeria, shiny bald head, light gray suit, pea green shirt, yellow tie. The old TV commercial played in my head “hefty hefty hefty—wimpy wimpy wimpy”
“Ahh, we don’t know what a resonance man is, but you are going to have many chances to talk before we get into the interrogation,” said Thing One. Perhaps he was the one in charge.
“It can talk,” I said. “I thought I was speaking rhetorically, for my own amusement. I didn’t think you could speak without your boss saying so.”
“That is just a stereotype and it’s hurtful, said Thing Two. I don’t think you used the word resonance correctly.”
“I thing you need to clean out your ears. I said renaissance, as is in renaissance man. The renaissance was the age of real men like Leonardo Di Vinci- inventor, scientist painter. Of Cyrano De bergerac- Playwright, poet, soldier, and the best swordsman in Paris. I was thinking how you brutes, I’ll call you Thing One and you Thing Two,” I said with a nod, “Can’t even properly handcuff a person.”
“I am only going along to see what you think I did.” Thing one and two looked at each other. Thing one said “It’s a trick, you just want us to adjust the handcuffs so you can make a break for it.”
“What did I do?”
“You know what you did” said Thing One.
“You know what you did and you are going to get what’s coming to you!” Said Thing Two.
Slip off handcuffs. Kick thing 2 in the side of the knee, the one with the long legs and low body weight that might make him more effective at giving chase. Head butt thing 1 with thing 2’s head- choke hold to unconscious, parkour up the wall- escape.
I pocketed my mental rehearsal of my escape, laughed to myself, and only smiled and kept walking. I slipped the handcuffs back on.
“Your cops, you have to read my rights, let me confront my accusers” I said.
“That’s for normal people, not you you scumbag.” Said Thing one.
“That’s racist!” I said. “It’s an African American site. You guys really are stupid.” Stupid is not a word I use a lot, and the things were already smart enough to make words, it was merely an interrogation technique. I had no idea what I did. I was not about to volunteer any information.
“I want a lawyer!” I shouted. They laughed out loud, in unison.
“You guys aren’t the fashion police, that’s for sure. Who wears a yellow tie with a pink shirt? Aren’t you guys supposed to be all white shirts? What kind of Feds are you guys?”
“That hurts,” said Thing One. I thought that was sarcastic banter, but he really looked sad. Thing Two looked at me and demanded “Apologize!”
“Tell me why I am under arrest and I will apologize.”
“That is just hurtful. I’m okay now said Thing One.
I thought I would let it play out and see why I had been arrested. I went through a mental inventory of how I could possibly have run afoul of Mister John Law.
Perhaps it was drug smuggling. I had just returned from Africa, where I had smuggled drugs into the country, various medical supplies for the missionary team on the ground. Maybe it was the money laundering, as we also smuggled in cash to avoid having to bribe the airport officials, not have to change the money to the local currency and lose 70 percent of its value. I did feel some guilt about being a supporter of terrorism. It was inadvertent, in the moment, but troubled me. I had regrets.
We had ten thousand dollars American, in cash. Our mission was to get food to the starving Somali Refugees in the remote Somaliland region of Ethiopia, a sketchy lawless area covered in cracked over grazed land, abandoned mine fields, littered with half demolished tanks and random ordinance from the Ethiopian war with Eritrea. It was fought with modern weapons like F-14 Tomcats, over a landscape and a people reminiscent of the American West.
International aid was given for free to the local non-government authority, the NGO, which happened to be a tribe of Ethiopian Warlords in a small city named JuJigga. The Ethiopians viewed Somali people as not human, they were just cows you couldn’t milk. Bags of grain sat in warehouses with garage doors, the only sturdy looking structures in the town. It was like someone had transported an American self-storage business to the middle of the OK Coral. The Warlords were aligned with Al Qaeda. We paid them for food they got for free from international donations, so we could distribute it to the starving people. It haunted me that the money we gave them might have killed more innocents than we helped.
I am good with numbers. The government considers that a crime. I studied card counting and won a great deal of money. The casinos consider me a cheater because I win. I am banned from casinos but go anyway, in disguise. It’s like going to an ATM.
Was it surveillance related? Was this about my social media posts, my opinions? Perhaps That yellow light I went through wasn’t yellow—yeah I blew the light. If it was surveillance related, there was no knowing, I just had to wait and see. Did I get caught texting and driving? Speeding? Not wearing my mask when the government said I should?
It could be my human trafficking. This is unlikely, as the government endorsed the trafficking. I adopted my youngest from china. This involved all manner of bribes called fees, indoctrination classes on socialism administered and signed off on by liberal American social workers where I made promises I never intended to keep to raise a little socialist.
I expected Thing One and Thing Two to walk me to a van or an SUV, but we had been walking awhile now. They had nabbed me on the Belvedere in downtown Louisville. We had walked past the Muhammad Ali Center, and were strolling down Main Street past the science center, the Fraser Museum, and across the street from the Slugger Museum. These were beautiful old buildings, with Victorian Architecture, which to a nerd like me who didn’t really score well in Art Appreciation meant one thing: great hand holds for parkour.
“You know its funny. They have this historic preservation and spent big dollars to make the buildings look classic and old timey, then across the street you have this huge Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Isn’t that stupid?” I tried to continue the banter.
Finally Thing Two said, “We aren’t speaking until you apologize to my friend.”
“I am sincerely and totally sorry I hurt your feelings,” I said out loud, “You big girl,” I said in my head.
We turned up this alley behind the science center.
“Thing one and Thing two, we need to pause for a moment of silence. This Alley in this exact spot— is where Bill Murray dropped his Pizza in ‘Stripes.” That bridge over there, the 2nd street bridge, is where he freaked out the old biddy and said ‘I think I drank too much cough syrup.”
They stopped and looked interested. “Really?” Said thing one with some excitement. Thing two said “That bridge, I don’t see a bridge!”
“Well, you can’t see it from here, I’ll show you later. Why the long walk, where are you taking me?”
“Right here” said thing one “Just a quiet place, away from the peaceful protest flag burning area,” said thing two. Then, they tased me.
I woke up two hours later. Both my left and right pointer fingers had been cleanly amputated. There was a citation stuck in my pocket. It read as follows:
This individual has been convicted while absent, due to social distancing restriction, of hate crimes against humanity by a jury of his peers. He has, on multiple occasions, used his pointer finger to make a gun with his finger in the presence of minors, potentially inciting violent behavior. This combined with the military history and shooting ribbons for firearms earned by the individual while on active duty calls for the confiscation of his trigger fingers. The fingers will be returned after a probationary period of ten years and completion of re-education classes.
I wondered what I would do with my two mummified index fingers. I still had my right to bear arms, but I had no trigger fingers. My crime was curiosity. I had to know, instead of escape When I could. It cost me my trigger fingers. I had been un-triggered.