“So I walk in and there’s Reggie, right? Just sitting there with his eyes closed and that stupid Reggie smile on his face. He’s got his legs crossed and his arms spread out like he’s meditating, and he’s doing this sort of a low, weirdly continuous hum on one note. He takes breaths now and then, obviously, but whenever he does he just starts right back up again and acts like he was humming the whole time. But, you know, this is all classic Reggie, right? What else is he gonna do on a Thursday night?” Ed and I chuckle a bit at that, and he takes the opportunity to finish off his beer before continuing. This is also, of course, an intentional move on his part to increase tension in his audience (me) before cutting into the meat of the story. We both know he doesn’t give this much build-up to a story unless it’s really something. Read more
“What do you think of that, eh?” I leaned back and rippled my fingers impatiently over the arm of my chair.
“I think that I don’t believe a word of it.” My companion poked at the fire on which his gaze was fixed. I would have scorched his soul with the pain in my eyes if he’d have just turned his head.
“It’s true!” I wailed, “You have to believe me!”
He turned fiercely to me and spat, “Well now, what do we know about the truth?”
I stammered my confusion.
“That’s a poor start indeed, but I’ll forgive it.” He narrowed his eyes and slowly, malignantly, opened them before he bestowed upon me the old saying he’d just invented: “The fire of interrogation will burn up the lies; only truth can remain.”
The desperation that had been propping me up sharply from the inside retreated in the face of weary despair. I hadn’t a chance.
“What do you feed it?” he demanded.
“What? I don’t feed it; it just—”
His face bulged in triumphant outrage. “You monster! Perhaps it’s a bit out of line, but to starve it? If you’re going to lie you could at least do it with some decency!”
I tried to defend myself, but it was like trying to save yourself with a shield when your guts are forming a lost-and-found pile on the ground. He turned his back on me and alerted his extensive network of paranoids what kind of a person I was. Read more