Flash Fiction – Blessed?


Blessed? (500 words)

Chief Commander Donaldson sat at the chrome desk with his fingers interlocked and resting on the question sheet. A buzzer sounded, indicating that the door to interview room #1 was opening. Two of his officers bustled in, the terrorist suspect dangling between them.

‘Please seat Mr Gonzales.’ The soldiers did as instructed and dumped the prisoner in the chair in front of the desk. Built-in steel cuffs secured Gonzales to the arm rests. He wriggled ineffectually against the restraints but then settled, glaring wide-eyed at Donaldson.

‘They’ve been at you for nearly a week now, and nothing. I’m impressed. But I also know, regardless of your silence, that you’re behind the peace marches and the break-out of those reprobates they call The Freedom Four. So now you’re with me. And I’m going to ask you some questions. You will have heard them before, but I imagine your answers first time around were lies.’

Gonzales’ eyes darted around the room, looking for help that wasn’t coming.

Donaldson cleared his throat. ‘Has he been injected with the serum?’ One of the officers replied in the affirmative.

‘Then let’s begin.’ He displayed teeth, unnaturally white and uniform, and read from the sheet. ‘Welcome potential citizen of the Imperial Blessed State of Great America. In order to assimilate you we require accurate answers to the following questions. Question 1: will you comply with all instructions issued with the seal of the Blessed State?’

Gonzales gritted his teeth. Sweat started to form on his brow. ‘I will.’

‘Two. Will you conduct your life in line with the five laws dictated by the Chief Commander’s Imperial Office?’

Gonzales couldn’t stop his head from shaking but he somehow got the words out: ‘I will.’

‘Three. What is your opinion of what is often described as The Free Media?’

‘It’s… fake.’ Gonzales was shivering. ‘Nothing but lies. Only the broadcasts of the Blessed State are genuine.’

Donaldson paused. Two-word answers were one thing, but stringing a whole sentence together against your natural inclination was something else. He wondered if the serum was working properly. He carried on regardless.

‘Four. What is your view of other states outside of the Imperial Walls?’

‘Heretics! Sinners! Lawless animals!’ The words were spat out, cohesive commentary now becoming a clear struggle.

‘And finally, five. What is your primary duty as a citizen of the Imperial Blessed State of New America?’

‘To… to be vigilant. Watch others. Report… instances… of… unblessed… behaviour.’

Donaldson sat back and took in the quivering wreck on the chair. ‘Very good, Gonzales. I would have thought that impossible if it wasn’t true, which I doubt it is. However, here’s a personal question.’ He leaned forward and grinned as wide as possible. ‘What’s your opinion of me, buddy?’

Gonzales sagged in his chair like the air had been let out of him, but he also offered a wry smile. ‘You’re the biggest dick on the planet.’

‘Perfect,’ said Donaldson. He nodded to the guards. ‘Prepare the prisoner for execution.’

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