I KILL RICH PEOPLE 2, page 15
Spencer read Stocky and Slim for MPs. I’m not the only prisoner here, Spencer thought, but the walls were too thick for any communications to pass through. Yelling was obviously futile. The only noises he heard came from a low humming through the wall alongside his pallet and the constant buzzing tinnitus running inside his own head.
They came into the cell wearing their face-coverings just as he was finishing a second cardboard tray that was pushed inside hours later: warm oatmeal, a biscuit, a tiny box of Sun-Maid raisins. Breakfast. Spencer watched Stocky’s thick, plastic-gloved hand slip a large key inside his shirt pocket. Slim smelled of Axe spray. Morning shower.
Stocky pulled away the tray and took the spork from his hand, then reached down for the dinner tray on the floor. Spencer felt the hard edge of the cuffs against his wrist before he felt the cold metal or heard them snapping shut. His arms were wrenched above his head while Stocky roughly grabbed below his torso, slapped both sides of Spencer’s ball sack, and then pointed to Slim, who lifted beneath both legs.
“Where?” Stocky demanded.
“The other fork.”
“I flushed it.”
“Get behind me,” Stocky ordered Slim. With Slim’s tall frame forming a direct line from Spencer to Stocky to Slim, the camera was blocked.
Stocky’s thick pink cheeks and flat-faced piggish features flushed red. “Time we had a little ‘Come to Jesus,’” he suggested excitedly.
Without giving any warning, Stocky let his legs buckle and concentrated every ounce of his bulk into his right elbow, dropping four feet until it met Spencer’s unprotected sternum. Every molecule of air was driven out from both lungs.
Stocky left his windpipe exposed, but Slim slipped around between them. The sour look on Slim’s face told Spencer that this wasn’t the first time he had to cover for Stocky’s brutality.
“You some kind of teacher’s pet?” Stocky grunted. “No bruises or visible trauma, huh? I just don’t give a shit. People slip and fall all the time. Bruises happen. You ever feeling froggy, you jump,” Stocky challenged. “Bring it on.”
Stocky pulled both his gloves tight then ran his big hands along the pallet beneath Spencer’s torso. His Popeye forearms were so thick that Spencer was raised and rolled into the cell wall. Finding nothing, he then moved methodically, pressing and probing against Spencer’s thighs along the inside of the both casts until he felt the handle of the plastic spork scrape across his skin.
Stocky pulled it out, smiled, and then reached under the pallet for the bedpan. Slim turned away as Stocky spooned urine, telling Spencer, “Open up.” When Spencer clamped his lips and turned his face away, Stocky moved his knee on top of the wrist cuffs to hold down Spencer’s arms then pinched open Spencer’s right eye and held the plastic tines on Spencer’s eyeball before pouring the amber-dark urine onto Spencer’s eye.
Piss in the eye is not too different from brackish river water. He had been there, done that. Parachuted into Walter F. George Reservoir on the Chattahoochee River in the dark with full gear and a half-mile swim to shore.
“You’re lucky we’re moving you,” Stocky hissed. “You’d be bathing in piss right now otherwise. That stunt just cost you toilet paper for a week.
Stocky snatched the handcuffs with a bone-cracking jerk and left them digging into Spencer’s wrists as he lifted Spencer’s upper body off the pallet. Slim moved to take the casts around the ankles while Stocky set Spencer’s butt onto the wheelchair. The Velcro along the arms of the chair was ripped apart and both Spencer’s forearms were sealed against the metal chair arms. A strap was passed around his waist this time, tying him in like a seatbelt.
Spencer felt the chair swing 180 degrees and counted in his head until the chair stopped. Same place. This time he was prepared for questioning. Electric shock was extreme, only the effects were short-lived. But the hood; he knew already that there was no getting used to that. As soon as Stocky pulled the hood over his head, dragging his knuckles across Spencer’s face, every ounce of his willpower had to go into resisting the primal urge set to take Stocky up on that challenge.
Not now. Not yet. His time will come.
Taking the nasty blow was worth it. He had confirmed chain of command. Slim answered to Stocky. He learned that Stocky enjoyed asserting his power.
He now knew that the camera was visual-only. No microphone. Spencer also learned that Stocky was not supposed to do anything that left physical marks. Prison protocol or just for me? Why? Who else is seeing this?
The surveillance system was dated, Spencer told himself. Probably at least five years old. Anything newer would have audio.
The chair moved inside the room, spun round, then jolted as it was locked down into place. Spencer detected two separate noises, but almost at the same time. Latches flipping, like somebody opening a briefcase.
Bishop methodically went through his satchel and took out an insulated box. Inside foam compartments, he looked over clear glass vials alongside yellow serums, a pale green substance, and another that was brilliant blue. He considered the clear mirtazapine. Most effective when it was combined with sodium thiopental, he often found, but Bishop saved the mixed cocktail for another time. Too early on. Too many adverse impacts. Instead, he picked out a milky white niacin solution to dilate the blood vessels ahead of injecting the tetra-cyclic compound and placed it onto a wheeled surgical tray beside the ready syringes.
He gripped Spencer’s left forearm tightly, then yanked a lever, kicking back the chair’s angle so that Spencer’s arm stretched out level from the shoulder. Two fingers slapped hard along his inside elbow then Spencer felt the prick of a needle as Bishop slid it deep inside the vein.
“You’re gonna feel a rapid flush of heat,” Bishop told him. He then withdrew the empty shot and replaced it onto the tray, allowing the niacin to move into the bloodstream while he prepared the mirtazapine solution, making certain that the drug was fully dissolved ahead of drawing out 20ccs and depressing the plunger to clear any bubbles.
Spencer’s serotonin levels spiked instantly as the mirtazapine entered his system, suddenly making him feel like he was immersed into a bathtub of warm water.
“Pain. Pleasure. Today, let’s let you decide. Who supplied your weapons?”
Spencer thought about them all: his Barrett, the M24, M110, and the Heckler & Koch. Koch. Was that the same Koch brothers Captain Sam was always talking about, he wondered? His mind started to drift. He relaxed his neck and let his head fall backward. Wheeee.
The electric prod touched just under his Adam’s apple.
“Who supplied your weapons?”
Spencer chortled. This wasn’t challenging. This was just silly. “Eagle Arms,” he answered.
“What is Eagle Arms?”
“Gun show. Buy, sell, trade. Got most of them there,” he said.
“Oh we’re living here in Allentown and they’re closing all the factories down,” he sang, then said, “My Barrett I won, fair and square.”
“Won from who?”
“From whom,” Spencer corrected. “Objective case.” He was hearing music now. Mozart. Eine kleine nachtmusik. Cool.
BP 111/63. Pulse 59 BPM.
“You were in Afghanistan. Tell me about that.”
“Oh yeah. Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, Bagram, Chaman, Khost, Jalalabad, north, south, east, west. Oh yeah.”
“What did you do there?” Bishop asked.
“Made music. Beautiful music.”
“You shot people.”
“Yes. Yes I did. It’s what I do.”
“The people you shot at Central Park West. The people on the balconies. Who told you to shoot them?”
“The music.” Spencer smiled. Everything fit so perfectly.
Bishop jammed the rod deep into Spence
After Bishop pulled back the electricity, Spencer began laughing and couldn’t stop himself. It felt just like riding Mind Eraser at Six Flags.
Bishop reviewed the session tape and felt satisfied that he had had a productive session; before Spencer faded off into la la land, Bishop had effectively initiated cooperation. After the prisoner was taken back to the cells, Bishop Googled “Eagle Arms.” Regular shows all over the Keystone State. Allentown. He was just compiling a comprehensive list of the weapons and confirming that Spencer could have purchased every one of them at the enormous gun shows when he received a text message:
NOBODY CAME TO VIEW A PARTY. DO NOT DO THAT TWICE.
Bishop squeezed his cell phone and pulled back his pitching arm. He was ready to smash it to pieces. Wasn’t the objective getting information? Two sessions in and he was having success. Now they were dictating what he could and couldn’t do?
Bishop looked up at the camera lens and green light and knew they could see him, too. To get what he wanted for himself, he had to give the audience what it wanted. He wasn’t after another one-time consulting engagement this time. There wasn’t exactly a line of people waiting to snap up his time.
To get hired again, he needed to succeed. But if succeeding meant telling these men to shut up and get out of his way, to let their expert do his job—well, these didn’t strike him as men who were likely to tolerate criticism.
It’s their party, he reminded himself. They paid for the show, just like they paid for the helicopter, and they called the shots. So no more serotonins, not if he was going to be inside APA.
He considered flunitraepam, but even mixed with other psychotropics Spencer might nod off. They could send him packing if that happened.
Nope, he told himself, get over it. Give the customers what they want.
“You’re ours,” Bishop belched beside his left ear. “You’ll talk now or you’ll do it later. I’m giving you a chance to choose what happens in between.”
The electric rod jammed into Spencer’s scrotum, sending voltage through his rectum into his armpits then exploding like fireworks inside his brain. He hesitated; processing, not responding, and the electric stick came down again, directly beneath the ear. He cheeks flapped, and then he bit down hard, chomping into his tongue. Blood flooded inside his mouth. He could feel it soaking the hood to his chin when he spat to clear.
BP 181/120 – Pulse 163 – GSR (NA)
“WHO WAS BEHIND THIS? WHO SET YOUR TARGETS? WHO SET YOUR INTEL? WEAPONS, VEHICLES, SAFE HOUSES? WHO AND WHY?” The voice shouted into his face.
A cupped hand flew from behind his head slammed against his right ear, driving a pressurized wave that clapped the eardrum, leaving his head ringing.
“With or without you, we’re finding out. Easy or hard.”
He kept inferring a conspiracy, but from his voice Spencer wasn’t certain that the man cared which way he chose.
“Talk or don’t talk, we’ll follow the money, and we’ll find out why you did it. From why, we’ll get to who. Make it easier on yourself. Talk.”
BP 181/120 – Pulse 163 – GSR (NA)
“Spencer, Jonathan. Master Sergeant. United States Army.”
Two long seconds elapsed in silence, then Spencer’s whole body was suddenly lurched backward as a pulled lever inverted the chair, tilting his feet above his head. Bishop flipped back the armchair, inclining it backward so that Spencer’s hooded face pointed upside down toward the back wall, then looked back at the camera lens and the green light beside it.
They want a show, Bishop thought, and you, dumbshit, you’re forcing me to give them a good one.
The unmistakable noise of a spigot turning open, followed by the thudding of water under high pressure pounding into a plastic pail confirmed what was coming next. Spencer concentrated all his focus on the backs of his hands. Think about something else. Concentrate. What is around you there? Can you feel the temperature? What do you see? What do you smell? Think about anyplace except where you are.
Cold water splashed over the hood, rushing past his nostrils, flooding the nasal passages. He could not stop it, could not expel it, could not thrash his head side to side to keep the water out; he could not even slow it to comprehend. Drowning. The sinus cavity fills first, like a water balloon pressurized from inside against his eyes, nose, and ears. Physically resisting was as impossible as holding his breath. Waterboarding catalyzes a primal terror, a window on death. The body can never overcome that drowning feeling. But the terror is dependent on fearing death. Like a gazelle relaxing as the lion’s jaws clamp into its neck, death can also be accepted.
BP 136/88. Pulse 84 BPM.
“Owen, you’re not taking the boys anywhere,” Callie determined firmly. She was standing a yard back into the entry behind the swing of the door; her hand never let go of door edge.
“I just want to see my sons, OK? It’s been a week.”
“It’s been nine days,” Callie corrected him. “You’re messing up, O! You are not seeing the boys like this. Look at you! You’re a police officer for Christ’s sake. Whadya doin’ drivin’? Cup your hand and blow. I can smell you from here.” He looked like he had slept in the clothes he was wearing.
“You been going to your counseling?” she implored. She hardly gave him the chance to respond before her tone got demanding. “Owen, have you been seeing the therapist? You don’t go and they can suspend you without pay! Then what happens?”
“Nobody will help, Cal,” Owen whined. “Tremaine is dead and I can’t get anything. They blocked me from accessing the department file system. I’ve called every agency I can think of and each one refers me on to another one. Nobody will show any tracking on this Dimitri Vosilych; it’s like he never existed; no credit cards, no job history, no entry visa, nothing. I even tried buying a profile online and it was blank, too.”
“I’m not talking about your goddamned case!” she screamed. “I heard it all, every word: the big feet, the missing bullets, the Department of Defense with no records of any Master Sergeant Jonathan Spencer, how Major Gonzalez wouldn’t speak to you on the telephone, how you drove to his townhouse in Brooklyn and waited outside and how he looked at him out the window like he was scared. I listen!
“Now you listen. Let it go, O,” she told him. “Tremaine is gone. It’s no good for you to stay at his place.”
“I don’t want to stay there. I want to be home!” Owen said.
“I’m going to close the door now, Owen. We’ve been through this. You need to get yourself right. Until you do, I need to do what I need to do.”
“How do I get myself right when nobody will listen? How?”
“Owen, get your hand off the door,” Callie said. “I have listened. You need to get help.”
Owen leaned his weight forward on the door with his chin lowered against his chest. It was either that or falling to his knees. Callie wedged both her feet on the floor and pressed back intently. “You’re escalating, Owen. Now get offa it! Back off! I’ll get a court order. I’ll do it. You know I will!”
Bishop ripped the hood away, leaving Spencer to heave a milky waterfall across his own chest that spilled onto the cement floor.
Spencer’s brain snapped back into the present. Air is everything. His damaged throat choked with blood and saliva while he stretched hard to draw breath as the acids vomited from deep inside him burned the soft tissue lining his esophagus.
Interrogation rarely was linear; the mind functioned like a knitted sweater; search for the loose thread and unravel the mystery. Bishop cranked the
“Rich people. Why?”
“You believe their BS or you just taking their money?” Spencer snapped back.
The electric prod was lying across the mobile table alongside Bishop’s laptop. Bishop’s eye flitted quickly from the prod to the camera before he turned back toward Spencer, who was already looking disturbingly calm. Despite the vomit on his chest and side, his breathing had already normalized. He looked contented, serene even.
“Hotshot, you fight me, you get the rod. Now, who put you up to this?”
Spencer smiled to himself. No, he wasn’t hearing voices, not God or Jesus or anyone else, not even Captain Sam. But he wasn’t going to share that information. If Texas wanted to carve it out of him, let him try.
Bishop scrolled down his notes:
Target acquisition- by individual, question selection of Levy, Perlman, Fleish, Branderman, Parrish, Ellis, Leong, Zhou, Keaner – was target selection randomized to hide specific individual targets? Ideological or profit motive? Profile for psychological and philosophical radicalism. How many shooters were involved? Intel source and logistical support? Foreign and domestic terror contacts? Armed Forces contacts?
“You carry a lot of scars. There’s an ugly tear going down your back from your shoulder blade to your hip,” Bishop noted. “Tell me about that.”
Spencer thought for a second about the circle jerks they called therapy sessions he was forced to sit through at Madigan and again at Walter Reed. Like talking makes a difference.