American Chimera – 14.4

American Chimera Cover Small

“Mr. Huffman?”

Brett Huffman’s face was in his hands. When he looked back up at the interrogator, the sheen of leftover tears glimmered in the overhead light. “I got off track. Just tryin’ to ’member what happened next.”

The interrogator put a hand to her chin. “I don’t see how that story proves that Dani’s a person. It doesn’t even have to be true.”

Brett’s brows furrowed. “How can you just sit there, look at me, and tell me I’m lyin’? What the hell kind of reason might I have for lyin’?” He stood from his bed and pointed to the door. “Dani’s a person ’cause she’s got feelin’s. If she’d gotten straight zeros on that test, she’d still be a person ’cause she’d have feelin’s and a way to tell us ’bout em. She has hopes and dreams and y’all just crushed ’em into tiny pieces with your stupid tests. So get out of here – let me sit here with my pants off in peace.”

The interrogator crossed her arms. “No.”

“Then what you want?!” he asked. “You rurned my life, and I mighta arreddy give yeh summat to use ’gainst me or Janie or Dani. I am pow’rless here. So you git outta here, or I’ll find some way to make yeh git out.”

“Last time I spoke with you, you told me a story about tearing down a flag.” She swallowed. “Since then, I talked with someone who told me something surprising: that flag wasn’t an American flag.”

“Git out.”

“It was a Confederate flag.”

“Heritage, not hate.”

“Is that what you taught your chimera? Did you teach your stolen weapon of war that flag wasn’t about hate?”

He gritted his teeth. “I wouldn’t ’spect you to unnerstand.”

“What, because I’m black?”

“’Cause y’er hateful! You destroyed everything and everyone I love! Git outta my cell.”

“No,” the interrogator said. “You love Dani, and it’s obvious a whole bunch of other people love her too. But Brett, she’s a spider. A freaking 200 pound spider.”


“300 pound, then,” the interrogator said. “A 300 pound spider that you’ve obviously taught to distrust the government. I’m going to talk with her soon, and I’m…I…”

Brett sighed and sat back down on his cot. “Y’er scared.”

“No. I’m not scared.”

The room fell quiet, only the lapping of the water in the trough echoing off the walls. The lights burned bright in the ceiling, undying LED’s shimmering in concert.

“I’m leaving,” the interrogator said.

“I never taught ’er to be racist, if you were wonderin’ ’bout that.”

The interrogator didn’t wait around to listen to more. She closed the door tight behind her.


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10 thoughts on “American Chimera – 14.4

  1. Pink Roses says:

    Terrific! I read the three sections here and loved them. I like the way it’s futuristic but people still talk the same way. Somehow I expected the characters to all speak the same way – you know – sort of dehumanised.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      Thank you! There’s quite a few posts so far. If you’d like an executive summary of what’s happened up to this section, let me know and I’ll try to type one up. Otherwise, you can download a pdf from the book’s page.

  2. Jules says:

    I remember one time I was visiting family out of state, my children were young at the time. We were going to visit a friend of that family member who had two huge dogs – my youngest was afraid of large dogs at the time and I asked if the two huge dogs could be put where we weren’t going to be… The owner refuses as her dogs were her family, so we ended up not going.

    My family is very involved in firefighting both volunteer and compensated. But they always have to ask when a family has left a building and said; “My baby is still inside” — They have to ask; “Does it have two or four legs?”

    The points or point is that humans think they are superior yet they inflict or even gently deposit human characteristics on their pets (even other animals). It is just a matter of opinion and no right or wrong about who family is. But… a) respect goes a long way and b) should a firefighter risk his life for a pet?

    You’ve got quite a bit of good thinking going on as to the treatment of all things. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in the room with a 300 pound spider or gorilla either.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      People are all over the place in the ways they think. I was hoping to have the different thoughts on the treatment of Dani lead to all kinds of different actions. There are a few more people to be interviewed who haven’t been featured yet – and both of them have completely new reactions from what we’ve already seen.

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