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The War on Terror: Chapter 1 The War on Terror: Chapter 1
by Thanos K & Asa B
2007-03-16 10:12:57
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My brain was down on its knees begging for a painkiller, but it would have to satisfy itself with a quick temple massage because this journey had gone on for too long and an end had to be in sight soon…I hoped. Ahead of me lay a flight of heavy concrete steps that would take me to a pair of equally heavy doors of the city’s main police station.

Begrudgingly my brain told my feet to climb the steps and was happy enough to remind me of each torturous step that had resulted in this moment. I had called twice already and nothing had happened. I had filled out an extensive official complaint form that a friend had found from a few years ago. This form, according to the many laws and by-laws, had been returned after four weeks because it required a ten-digit registry number obtained from the phone number that nobody ever answered.

I swallowed the dry lump in my throat and my brain flashed back many years to when I would have bounded up these steps three at a time with an endless supply of energy and motivation to fight the Man. Now, well now I was just hoping that I wouldn’t need to fill out anything in triplicate because my wrist was clicking from all the form writing and calls made over the past months. Oh yeah, I mustn’t forget the three-page description of former complaints; one in red pen, one in green and one in black, with all Ts crossed and Is dotted.

My hand hovered ahead of me unsure of where to go. Should it go straight for the door handle or maybe dig out the hip flask of cognac nestled in my jacket pocket. The liquid would give me a boost for the bureaucracy waiting for me inside, naturally in triplicate, but they might smell alcohol on my breath and treat me with no courtesy. I couldn’t help but smile to myself, courtesy…when was the last time I had used that word and did anybody know its meaning today.

The final decision was made for me when the door swung open from the inside and two uniformed officers dashed past – one of them really did stink of booze. Despite its earlier protests, my brain was working sharply and realized that this would save it from the effort of pulling open these formidable doors alone. I slipped inside before the lock clicked shut behind me and I found myself blinking in the darkness of my new surroundings.

Once my pupils had stopped pulsating, I really regretted not opening the flask for some - What did my father used to call it? – oh yes, salvation. He believed that a splash of cognac would bring the best into focus and make the worst a little softer around the edges; it was a nice sentiment unfortunately his edges became a little too soft and he died miserable and alone, but thankfully I didn’t have to deal with that stack of paperwork.

Right now the edges of my reality were sharp, as was the harsh décor in the lobby of the police station. The room contained a closed door to my left, an old wooden school chair to my right, and ahead of me was a counter. Above the counter was a huge sheet of frosted glass that only left a blurry silhouette of a large man standing behind, although I could see he was dressed like a traditional police officer and his belt was gold, which I could see through a letterbox hole in the glass. The air in the room was stale and smelt of alcohol from the officer who had just left, plus it was a few degrees above tolerable.

My forehead began to sweat, which the poet in me thought to be my brain crying in desperation, and my hands were clammy in fear of the pen chained to the counter ahead of me. I approached the counter and waited for the man to speak, although I wasn’t sure if I would be able to reply considering how dry my mouth had become. A few more minutes past, yet there was still no movement behind the glass or even behind me.

I coughed. I coughed louder. Nothing. The man didn’t even twitch. I started to play scenarios through my head like he had died on his feet while on duty, maybe he was asleep, maybe he was daydreaming, maybe he was being an arrogant son of a…”Excuse me, sir! Please refrain from playing with the chain attached to the pen. It is not a toy.” I dropped the pen in surprise, “Oh, hello, sorry, err, I didn’t realize…Can you help me?” There was a slight movement behind the glass as the officer opened a large book on the desk, “Certainly, sir. Do you have an appointment?”

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