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Monday, September 16, 2013

THE PRISONER


 
 This story is an extra tale - - - My continued story will follow soon. 
 

Prisoner
courtesy photobucket.com

“All right, prisoners, ALBERT  H. Come forth. It looks like this is your big day!”

Albert was speaking, “If you say so,”

Guard speaking; “I do say so! There's a noose waiting for you as soon as the lawyers get through playing their games. How do you feel about that?”

“A dead man has no feelings.”

“You ain't dead, that is not yet.”

“There's where you and I disagree.”

“Shut up that foolishness and get on in there you smart Aleck. Sit over here until you are called and don't make a sound.”

“As you say.”

Again when he has a few moments alone the thoughts of the past try to resurrect themselves only to be squashed by the power of his mind.

He hadn't allowed the past with all its pain to come forth for many years. Time to him had long since lost its meaning and waiting was not a problem.

His existence was only evidenced by his breathing pattern.  In and out; in and out.  

The only thing that was different today was his clothing. For several years he wore drab coveralls with a "C" painted on them by those who called themselves "Patriots."  
 
The term collaborator was a second term used to identity him and set him apart from the rest of the prisoners.

Albert speaking, “After some time I was told to stand up and march into the hall of judgment to be questioned. This had happened before in my cell but this was an official panel selected to in effect pass judgment on me.
 
The outcome had already been decided but this was for public consumption.

All the usual protocol was followed and I the prisoner followed the proper decorum for of what use would belligerence be at this stage.”

He was not one of the big name offenders where the press showed a lot of interest, it was merely for local utilization.  His lack of appetite caused him to have a gaunt appearance and the lines on his face enhanced his degraded appearance.  It was obvious that anyone who looked like he did - - must be evil personified.

As the trial began he was not moved by the knowledge that there were many witnesses to be called and give testimony against him. The fact that most of their railings were just inventions of their mind and void of the truth was of no consequence at this stage.

An accusation that has been concocted within the imagination would serve the purposes far better than any truth so creativity was at work.  “Sit,” he was told, which he did without any display of any arrogance.  Then the questioning began!  Name, number assigned to him for identification purposes, and date of birth, place of birth and all things pertaining to him just for the record.

He was if nothing else curt but respectful in all his answers. The next day they called for the defense lawyer to step forward and plead for the prisoner. The lawyer certainly looked the part and Albert wondered what he was going to say for he had never spoken to him.  Being told to stand up and answer the question "How do you plead" the lawyer stepped forward and told him to say, “Not Guilty."  

For the next few days the witnesses came and gave testimony against him. As far as he knew none of them had any contact with him ever and the things they were saying scarcely were true.

It was as if he was a different person in a different world dealing with unknown persons for a specific purpose.

It was certain after the prosecution had finished whoever the person who was on trial must surely be guilty.  Albert thought if he was on the panel he would adjudge him being as he was charged.

Having laid out the case before him that was supposed to show him how futile it would be to deny the charges against the panel as they began to address him directly.

They each in turn asked him questions that seem to be germane to the case and he for the most part answered but not always to their satisfaction.

This caused them some consternation for he was guilty. The witnesses all had said so.

After two days of probing he spoke up and asked, “What do you really want to know.”

They said in unison, “The truth.”  To which he answered by saying, “Which truth?  Your truth, the witnesses' truth, or the opinion of the news media truth?  Which truth do you want to know?”

The leader of the panel said, “There is only one truth and that is what we want.”

He replied, “Very well that is what you will get and I'm the only one who knows it.  It was early spring when the enemy captured my village and almost immediately the people were rounded up and identified.

I being one of the town officials received more scrutiny than the rest.  I knew most everything about everyone.  My family and I were moved to a large city and there I was interrogated on a daily basis always under the threat of death for me and my family.  

Each day I gave up someone from my village during the first months of my imprisonment always under the threat of my children being put to death.  I came to the place where I concluded, better for them to die than my children.

After the villagers were no longer suspected of mounting an attack against the guards at the village, I was then charged with finding out who in the town might be a danger to the occupying forces.

When my performance fell below their expectations my children were taken from my home until I produced better results.  This was my lot until the town was taken by your forces.  Everyone knew of my involvement in turning over to the enemy so many of the town's people. So this is why I stand before you now.”

“Do you have any remorse for what you did to your people?”

“No, not in the least, sir.”

“You went over to the enemy and caused your people to die and feel no remorse?”

“Yes that is true sir.”

“How do you justify that?”

“I do not intend to try sir.”

“You must have a reason that you did it beyond saving your wife and children.”

“No not at all for there were only the two opposite sides, neither of which I belonged to, and then there was my family. 

My family was the only thing I cared about.  Today because of this attitude I was labeled a traitor but let me tell you about many of those who are revered as patriots today.  Almost to a man they tried make a deal similar to what I had.  Their offers in most cases were rejected and I watched as their families perished.  I succeeded where most failed.”

“You mean you sold out your fellow citizens just to save your family.”

“Yes that is exactly what I am saying.”

“Well you did something I could never do.”

“Perhaps you don't love your family as much as I did, sir.”

“We have just a few more questions about the whereabouts of this precious family of yours. Where are they now, and did you save them?”

“Yes I did save them. And where they are now is none of your business.  

The only thing I will tell you is; they are safe, they are happy and have families of their own and you will never find them.  I would certainly do it again for there was the enemy.

There was you, and there was my family and the only thing that meant anything and means anything to me is my family.  I hope that satisfies your inquiry for that is the real truth concerning this matter.

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