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.”
“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.