Stretching – Sometimes you need a little warm up before you really start lifting

    I sat drinking the fiery brown water in front of me, staring into the cold grey eyes of the man as he spoke.
    “You understand?” he asked.
    I swallowed.
    “You understand?” he repeated in emphasis.
    I nodded.
    “I need to hear you say it.” he said.
    I glared at him, hard eyed and stone faced.  He was asking me to do something which tore at the very fabric of my being and set my conscious ablaze.
    “You need to say it out loud.”
    “I understand,” I growled.
    “Don’t go getting any grandiose ideas in that big brain of yours. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that you’re smarter than us. You’re thinking that you can figure a way out of this. I’m telling you now, you may be smarter, but we have a lot less moral compunction about the value of life. You could probably think your way out of this in the short term, but the suffering that would come out of it; you wouldn’t want to live with that.”
    I nodded.
    “Now I need to know, do you understand what you are supposed to do?”
    “Yes,” I said.
    “And do you understand what is going to happen if you don’t do it?”
    “Yes,” I said.
    “And do you understand that failing at this assignment is the same as choosing not to do it. We don’t accept excuses. It’s either done, or it’s not done, there’s no points for effort.”
    “I understand,” I said.
    He studied me for some time.
    “Good,” he said.
    I just stared at him with dispassionate rage.
    He looked at his watch.
    “You’d better get going. You’ve got twenty-three hours forty-one minutes before you need to have your ass back in that seat, and when it is your son had better be dead.”
    I took a breath through my mouth.
    “Mr. Rittikar-“
    “Jason, don’t talk anymore. I’m telling you for your own good. Stand up, walk out the door, go kill your fucking son. Saying more words is only going to make things worse, ya know, down the road.”
    I gazed at him, then nodded.
    “Good, now get outa here. I don’t wanna see your face again for-” he looked at his watch again, “-twenty-three hours thirty-eight minutes.”
    I slid my chair out and stood up. Suddenly the busy vibrancy of the restaurant faded into my attention and I felt fear for the first time.
    “It’s been nice talking to you Jason, come back again soon.”

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