The Interrogation

It began with a knock on my door, and two men in Air Force uniforms politely, but firmly, requesting my presence elsewhere. They gave me an hour to pack my bags - I was to come with them because they had a job for me. I asked them if there was somebody who'd mind the flat while I was out. They told me somebody would be dropping in from time to time to collect the mail and water the house plant once a week. Friday evenings. Dominic likes being watered on Friday evenings.

In the car, I was given a sketchy outline of my orders. I'd been hired to interrogate a prisoner, a young and beautiful woman in a floral dress. Everybody was so eager to go in and beat a confession out of this prisoner, but those faceless executives who'd hired me had other ideas.

They had been briefed that she was not to be marked, physically, mentally or in any way - she was far too valuable an asset to the organisation to risk her being damaged or killed by the usual methods of interrogation. And so, to the great reluctance and resentment of the operatives of the entire organisation, they needed to bring somebody in who would never resort to brute force tactics. Someone who could be a little bit more persuasive.


The walls were grey and featureless, with striplights and cold concrete floors underfoot. I could see the prisoner in her cell through a video feed, and I realised that she was going to be a tough one to crack. So I looked at the young woman beside me, and told her what I was going to need.

'I am going to need the makings for Afternoon Tea,' I said to her. 'A choice of white tea or Assam. Cucumber sandwiches and salmon sandwiches, and scones, jam and cream, direct from the Hotel Portmeirion. Do not skimp. If the prisoner even thinks we're feeding her cheap Morrisons' budget supermarket jam, she's going to shut down like a superglued clam.'

And deep down, I thought And I'd let her.

This was a hard dream. Believe me.

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