[LNHY/ACRA] The Daily Super Short-Short Story #55
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
Thu Nov 4 16:08:35 PST 2004
The Daily Super Short-Short Story #55
A Devil Came Down to Georgia 37
Last time: TJ gave his Secret Origin.
"That's horrible," said Delroy after TJ's recitation.
TJ made a non-committal, "Mmmm." He was examining his own reaction.
It had been ages since he'd allowed himself to think about these things,
and was mildly disturbed at how much hurt he felt. .oO( I don't remember
feeling like this before, ) he thought to himself. .oO( Trauma is supposed
to heal over with time, not get stronger, isn't it? ) Then he began to
worry. .oO( How am I supposed to help Martin get rid of Lisa and Kien
if I'm turning into an emotional basket case? ) Then he blinked and
asked, "Sorry, what was that again?"
"I said, I hadn't gotten up to the bit about your sister committing
suicide," repeated Martin. He still looked like he was feeling guilty at
peeking in TJ's memories, although in practical terms TJ suspected it
was more that he had peeked in TJ's memories and had been proven wrong.
"I kind of stopped way before that," Martin finished. "It just got too
personal and painful."
.oO( And if you can't handle a second-hand look at my problems, how
are you going to bear up under the sort of thing the diabolicals will
have in store? ) TJ thought fretfully, wondering how he would be able
to prop up Martin in the light of TJ's own newly identified emotional
weakness. But on the up-side, it probably meant that Martin didn't know
about how the robberies to supplement his income.
Oblivious to this, Martin squared his jaw and said, "Tim, listen.
I know this is probably opening old wounds, but I'm impressed of what I
saw. I saw a man who cared about others and who tried to help regardless
of the cost to himself, and who went back again to finish his job even
after they'd imprisoned and tortured him. I'd be proud to call that man
my friend, if you'd let me."
TJ just stared at Martin with that totally expressionless look he
had, and neither of the other two young men had any idea what was going
on inside his head. Actually, it wasn't particularly flattering, since
TJ was reviewing what he knew about brainwashing techniques and comparing
it to Martin's little speech to see how the student had stacked up. The
basic principle was to take a person who was under stress and then
relieve (or seem to relieve) them of their burden, so that they would
be grateful and given up their independent judgement. Variations such
as drug use, hazing, solitary confinement or Moonie-style love-bombing
were simply different ways of applying the same underlying principle.
When TJ did say something, he did not mention any of this analysis.
To do so would have given up an advantage and probably incited Martin to
try a different tack; one which next time TJ might not be able to catch
onto soon enough. Instead he said, "That *boy* died a long time ago. I'm
not naive enough to make those sort of mistakes anymore."
"I don't think they were mistakes," said Martin.
And that was when the Molotov cocktails came crashing through the
window and exploded, spreading fire around the room.
Tomorrow: The diabolicals attack, again.
The Daily Super Short-Short Story series created by Arthur Spitzer, and
used with belated permission.
All main characters created by Saxon Brenton are Ask First Before Use
for the duration of this storyline, then they'll probably go to Usable
Saxon Brenton University of Technology, city library, Sydney Australia
saxon.brenton at uts.edu.au
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