The past several days since “Day 2” have all been very similar.
I wake up at some point and someone has left a cup of water and a bowl of what I have decided is luke-warm Quaker Oats instant oatmeal. One day it had little lines of syrup drizzled over the top in the shape of a smiley face.
I sit on my cot or the toilet for hours. I pass the time doing pushups and situps and stuff, drawing in the dust on the ground, and making shadow puppets (I can do the dog, the cat, the aligator, and I just got Abe Lincoln with a top hat). Mostly though, I think about what to blog.
Eventually they bring me into this room, which I have deemed The Blogging Chamber, where until today I have toiled away at the description of Day 2. I’m caught up on that now, and I can safely say the days have been mostly unremarkable ever since. Yesterday featured the only exception so far.
I was sitting on my cot when Runner Number 1 came by and jerked open my cage. “Get on up you baghead,” he taunted. Runner Number 2 was close behind. They crowded in and threw the familiar hood over my face again before I could speak–their typical course of action while leading me to the Blogging Chamber–before once again zip-tying my hands behind my back.
“Guys, really, you don’t have to put a bag over my head anymore,” I reasoned from within the head-sack. “I have seen your faces. I have seen this whole place. I have no idea where we are.”
“What did we tell you, baghead?!” Runner 2 exclaimed. There was rustling, then my head was pressed and jerked about as they put another bag over the first bag, punishment for talking. Riotous laughter.
I was led down the hallway. But further than usual. Then up some stairs. What was going on? Clanging, the squeak of metal hinges, then–the sound of traffic? And oh my god fresh air! I could feel it, smell it, even through two head-bags!
This joy upon the realization that, after five days locked in a cell, I was once again being led outside disolved into fear. I was being taken outside–but I was still a captive. The change in routine was suddenly unwelcome. In the cage I already knew what to expect: I would shit in a little toilet, sleep on a little cot, and blog on a little Windows machine swearing under my breath at that sonofabitch purple gorilla in the corner of my screen. Now I was being led away. To where? For what purpose? Questions filled my mind as they led me out into the sun and then stuffed me into a car. More car doors closed around me and the vehicle sped away from wherever we had started.
We drove for several minutes. No one spoke, a silence I dared not break. It’s a funny thing that happens when your life is in danger. As your mind begins to explore the possibility that your captors are, in fact, taking you to your death, it’s not exactly fight-or-flight that you feel. It’s freeze. It’s maintain. It’s a sense that if you do nothing, everyone else will do the same. If you don’t move, don’t rock the boat, then things will remain in exactly the same state forever, and you will still be alive. It feels a lot like covering your eyes and believing no one else can see you; all the while you know the feeling is utterly irrational, but somehow it’s still the best plan you’ve got.
And so we drove. Twists and turns but very little slowing until finally, a heavy left turn. We were pulling in somewhere. In my mind I could see the empty lot we pulled into, in some forgotten industrial area where I would be removed, put to my knees, and later discovered with a bullet in my skull and not one but two bags over my head. The headline: Double-Baghead Discovered, Shot Dead At Old Saw Mill on page C-3. Bottom left corner. Next to a shoe sale ad. We slowed to a stop.
The car sat idling for a minute and my mind reeled. I almost spoke up, but then we lurched forward. Then we stopped. Another long sixty seconds… then we crept forward once again. I heard the whir of a power window going down.
“May I take your order?”
I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding. “Are you guys getting fast food?!”
Something jabbed into my ribs. “Don’t. Say. A word,” the man next to me whispered. The driver placed an order for some chicken sandwiches as I sat there, incredulous. We pulled forward and my bagged face turned toward my backseat companion despite my only seeing the back of the two hoods over my eyes.
“Is that supposed to be a gun?” I asked.
The driver was paying for the food. “It is a gun.”
“That is your finger.” The driver got his order and we listened to a college radio movie critique show all the way back to the prison.