The Quandary — Part II
Part II — Professor
“It was a few hours drive in the midst of the night from that dirt road in the middle of mountains to this prison. The ride was not pleasant at all. It was a cold night and the dusty air kept hitting my face. My eyes itched more and more, but I still had my hands tied to the floor of the truck, so all I could do was close my eyes and try to forget the itch. However the more I concentrated on not thinking of the itch, the more I actually thought of the itch, which led to my eyes itching even more. This feedback loop between my mind, my consciousness and my eyes just led to an awful, itchy, never-ending truck ride to this prison.
It’s amazing how it’s the simplest and least consequential moments that show us how powerful and uncontrollable our minds are. I don’t know about you, but my eyes are itching again.
Anyways, when we got here, the grayhair captain untied me from the back of the truck and led me inside. I tried to talk to him and tell him I had no idea what was going on and that I was just a traveler who happened to be going to San Pedro. He did not say a word, we just kept walking through the empty halls and rooms. There was complete silence, not a single soul that I could hear.
We approached the room full of cells and he placed me in mine. I was locked in and left alone for the rest of the night. What a long night that was. I’m not even sure if I slept. Don’t know if all that passed through my mind was real or if some of it was a dream.
The only hint I have that it was not a dream was the smell. This humid dirt smell that fills the whole place is impossible to make up. It was a long night, followed by a long morning. After the sun came up I was expecting someone to come to me, but no one came. I continued sitting alone with my mind and an empty stomach for the rest of the morning.
It wasn’t until late in the afternoon that I saw the grayhair captain again. He came back to my cell and took me by the arm, again through the maze of hallways and rooms until we reached this interrogation room. He sat me down on this side of a table and took my cuffs off. I tried for the thousand time to talk to him and tell him who I was. I hadn’t even gotten the first full word out of my mouth when he cut me off. The grayhair captain went on and explained why I’m here. He said in spanish, “We know of your plan, you’ve been uncovered. We have been following on intelligence that there is a group of covert CIAs in the country. We know you want to overthrow our government. We know you are part of this group.”
I laughed. Not a purposeful laugh, more like a nervous laugh. I asked if he was joking, I told him that I was a mathematician, that I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about and that I was the furthest from a CIA operative. I mean, I’ve never done anything outside my ivory tower, well until my travels down here. The room fell silent for a minute, as I waited for the grayhair captain to react to my hysterical laugh. The only sound was that of a dog licking its paws outside the room. Other than that, the room remained silent, until the grayhair captain stood up and left the room, leaving me there handcuffed to the table.
I was left here alone fore quite a while, I think I was talking to myself, convincing myself that it was not real. After waiting for a while, the grayhair captain came back into the room with some bread wrapped on a dirty towel and two cups of coffee. That’s the only thing I have eaten since yesterday morning. As I was eating my bread and the grayhair captain was drinking his coffee by the door, another man came into the room. He was definitely not military, he was well dressed with a black tailored made suit like the ones we use back in New Jersey. A very elegant man, with his dark hair combed back and a thin clean mustache. The ash was falling off the last bit of cigarette he was holding on his left hand as he reached out his right hand to greet me. To my surprise he greeted me in perfect, fluent English.
“Hello Sir”, he said, “we do not wish this situation turn more unfortunate for you. Your cooperation will be rewarded.” He smoked the last of his cigarette before throwing it to the ground and putting it out with his black polished shoes. “Your operation has been uncovered, preemptive measures are being taken as we speak to undo your workings.” Before he could continue I interrupted and told him this was a mistake, and asked if they could contact the american embassy on my behalf to clarify things. To this he replied, “Do not take us for fools, Sir. You very well know we have cut communications with your embassy during the last 48 hours. We are countering your operation to protect our democracy.”
The elegant man kept his composure, it was evident that he was used to dealing with situations like mine. “As the captain has explained to you, without due authorization I might add”, he continued talking to me without turning to the captain when he mentioned his name. “As he said, we have uncovered your operation and know that your group is finalizing details on its plan to overthrow our government. We know you are planning a coordinated invasion from all three borders, and more importantly that you are activating multiple civilian groups throughout the country’s interior to make resistance to any military defense from our part. We know you are a key member of the group that is activating the civilian groups.”
I’m sure that my face was pale and that I had stopped breathing while he was speaking. Everything quickly turned from semi comical to extremely terrifying. I tried to talk, tried to push the air inside my lungs out and move my vocal cords in a way that would produce something that would resemble words, but the only thing that came out of my mouth were incomprehensible noises. He shushed my noises, thinking they would begin to make sense, and continued “we also know that your group is not coordinating through radio or telephone, we have dedicated teams filtering and controlling all private and public communications for any lead on coordination. Or I should say, we know you are not coordinating through radio anymore. We have began broadcasting on all radio frequencies in order to block all other broadcasts, including Voice of Liberation. No more broadcasting your propaganda through our frequencies.”
I was hearing everything the elegant man was saying, but I had no idea what he was talking about. I felt trapped in my body, I did not know how to respond or how to react to the accusations. Before I could feel any worse he continued, “given that we have blocked all broadcasts, we know you are coordinating the civilian groups physically and through written means. Now you have given us evidence of these written means, we know you are coordinating your group and the civilians through coded messages. Mathematical codes like the ones in your notebooks.”