American Chimera – 10.1

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The interrogator wrote something on her tablet. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Mr. Jones.”

The coach had been red-headed in some past era, but now what little remained was graying. His smile was kind, his long face and big mouth comforting in a dumb sort of way. “You have? Hopefully only good things.” His smile died down. “I’ve been in that cell, alone, for what seems like days now. The lights never go off, and I can’t tell what time it is. What’s going on? I’ve only seen the faces of guards, soldiers judging by the uniforms. The loneliness is harrowing, ma’am.”

“Don’t worry. It won’t last much longer. Just be patient. You aren’t one of my main concerns, and you can still say enough to get yourself out of here. Understood?”

He nodded. “I mean, sure. But who am I supposed to snitch on? I don’t usually fiddle with anything illegal. I don’t even speed, normally. Bad for the environment.”

“I understand that, Mr. Jones. You don’t even really need to snitch. I just need a little information on a certain event that you were involved with. In 2085, a Reverend Hinkley was barred from attending girls’ volleyball games at your middle school. A year later, records show, he was further banned from protesting the presence of one Daenerys Huffman from playing-”

“This is about Dani, isn’t it?” Coach Jones asked. He snapped his fingers and shook his head. “I should have figured that out! Everything makes so much more sense now.”

The interrogator sighed. “Yes. This is about Dani. I already know a lot about your involvement with her and your value as a coach while she was in middle school. I just need you to tell me about the events in 2085 and 2086 surrounding Dani Huffman and Reverend Hinkley. We’ll have a few more chats to talk over some other events, but I need to know about the Reverend sooner rather than later.”

“I mean…I guess I don’t see why not. But…um…I don’t really want to tell you all of it.”

“Why not? What could possibly-”

“I haven’t told anybody the full truth. Only me and Dani know the whole story, and I agreed not to tell anyone else. The other girl or girls involved didn’t bring their concerns to me, and I didn’t think it necessary.”

“I think you should tell me the truth.”

“I don’t want to name names.”

“If you name names, it could help those girls get out of this prison. All of them are here, and none of them are more likely than you to be released early.”

“Who should I vouch for, then? None of her teammates deserve imprisonment.” His face dimmed after he thought for just a second. “What did you learn about Reverend Hinkley? Who told you about his involvement?”

The interrogator tapped her stylus on the arm of her chair. “It doesn’t matter. What I want is your end of the story.”

“It does matter,” Coach Jones argued. “I know Dani’s position on this, but she and I aren’t the only ones involved. I can’t break their confidence.”

“Stacy,” the interrogator answered. “Stacy told me her story. Besides that, you don’t have the right to keep secrets. This is a legal proceeding.”

Coach Jones nodded. “Alright – if Stacy told you her secret, I’ll tell you most of the story.”

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