A thing of beauty–that’s what it is. That’s what it has to be. Triumph always makes beauty its own. The perfection of a skill is truly beautiful to behold. Once you’ve reached perfection, you can bring them to their knees with the point of your pen—you don’t need the iron bar. You need economy of movement, attention to the minutest detail. Each gesture, every eye signal has a purpose; nothing’s left to chance. There is one end to the process and one end only—terror. Not until you extract the source of terror can you bring them to their knees. Violence just for the sake of violence cannot draw out terror. Violence without skill induces only hatred and resistance. Even the extraction of terror involves a sequence, and fundamentals.
You think you’re going to get him to submit if you’re all worked up like that?
I’m going to teach you how beautiful skill can be.
The first thing you do is strip him. You don’t touch him—you make the guy do it himself. Make himself buck naked. And when all his clothes are off, you just leave him like that. Give him a healthy taste of humiliation. Make him understand he has no source of support. You leave him like that till his rosy cheeks turn pale, till his slumping shoulders start shaking, till the hang of his balls disappears. Then you turn the light on him. Flood his face with it and when he shuts his eyes you pass it over his body. You have to make him feel the light on his skin and not his eyes. Watch the skin react—the blue of the veins stands out and the pores open up. Then turn it off—you don’t want the light to give the skin a nice warm sensation. You don’t allow warmth of any kind. Whatever there is to begin with, you get rid of.
There’s nothing as good as cold water for getting rid of warmth. Let him feel the sting of water that’s cold as ice. Let him know what it is that’s gouging terror into his flesh. Make it spread like fire. Fire that makes darkness darker than dark. There’s nothing he can cling to, whether it’s water, fire, light, darkness. There’s nothing he can make sense of. And that is where terror begins. When his body has begun to awaken to terror, that’s when it’s ready for the application of real skill.
And then you let him be for half a day. The rest of it is only a matter of time. Half a day is sufficient. It’s enough for the guy to play out the drama of his life so far. It’s the time when he recalls every crime, every sin he ever committed, and maybe some he’s not sure of. Time that allows him a taste of his former happiness, time even for hope. And by then his last meal is digested and gone. Nothing to vomit, nothing to block the airways.
So there—he’s not going to die on you.
Everything’s ready, and now it’s time to show him you mean business. This is when you lay him out on the Board of Death. Never heard of it? It’s the heaven you take with you on your way to the next world. The heaven whose North Star beacon shines placidly on your way. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I made it myself, a plank from a birch tree. Lay the guy out on it. Secure the ankles, then prop up the head just right so he’s all nice and comfy. Cover his pathetic body with a blanket. That way there’s no obvious damage to him—the bruises are all on the inside, deep down to the bone. Bind him fast with four straps and show him what an honor it is to become one with the Board of Death.
Now aren’t you lovable. Look at you, all swaddled up on the Board of Death, docile as a newborn. Your face ready to take mommy’s breast. Let’s cover that face with a wet towel. Then we’ll give you a nice sweet breast.
Start the water. A small stream. It has to go in the nose and the throat at the same time. Don’t stop until you’ve filled his throat. He can close his mouth, but it’s no good—he has to breathe sometime. The mouth opens, the water goes in. The more he resists, the longer the suffering. Can you hear him gasping for breath? See his chest bulging out? Now turn it up. More of it’s going to come out than go in, but no matter. Keep the water going until you see it start to leak out of his eyes. Don’t stop until his yap stops twitching.
Now you want to turn the North Star toward heaven. Flip the guy over so the board’s on top of him. Then make him throw up the water. Once he’s done that, he’ll come back to his senses. Simple, isn’t it? Isn’t it the most beautiful contrivance? That way you don’t need to waste energy sticking his head in the bathtub, you don’t have to bother standing up a rag doll of a man. All you need to do is flip him over. You barely lift a finger and the water comes pouring out of him. When he comes to, flip the board over again. Then fill him up with water again. You want him waterlogged all the way through. Till every pore, every hole in his body is oozing—can you see it? You can bet he’ll be pissing himself, and it’ll come out his other end as well. Make it all come pouring out of him. The more that comes out, the more you’ll put into him. The next time add some red pepper. Then stand the board up.
Don’t hesitate and keep moving. Don’t turn around. Don’t think of the guy as a person. He’s a rock. A tree, grass, a bucking donkey, a dog, a goat. Rock’s probably best. A rock you’ll squeeze tears from. Don’t lose control. Don’t show your feelings. Keep cool. Don’t get worked up. Put on an icy face. Cool your hot blood. Pretend you’re not even breathing. Don’t work up a sweat. No moaning. It’s a war. A fight for your life—if you don’t keep the enemy down he’ll attack you. The enemy we have to fight possesses the power of evil. They’re pawns of evil—they lie, cheat, and steal—for them it’s standard procedure. An evil mob that dreams of violence, struggle, overthrow. Minions of evil who want to tear down our beautiful world order and taint it with evil. We are fighters who combat the power of evil with good.
Now lay down the board. Unstrap the guy and take off the blanket. Oh look, he’s a rag doll. Handle him gently. We have now a body thoroughly prepared to receive every conceivable sensation. A sweet little body that will respond to the faintest breath, tremble at a feather touch. To such a body static electricity is like being hit by lightning. He’ll feel like the stars are coming out of him, the sun is rising inside him, like he’s being hit by waves, a tidal wave. Like he’s blossoming with flowers and birdsong. The guy’s body has experienced an amazing creation, everything between heaven and earth.
Awake now? Have you been crying? Did you wet yourself? No worries. I’m going to get rid of all this moisture for you. Now why so sad–you’re not being treated right? Well, you have only yourself to blame for your dark crimes—so feel sorry for yourself. You want to confess? No, not yet. First you need a taste of the essence of my perfect skill. You’re suffering? Heaven’s not far away. I’ll show it to you, I’ll let you hear the angels singing. And after it’s all over you’ll bow down before me.
Now get some salt into him. Need to replenish the electrolytes. Keep him hydrated, don’t want him exhausted. Hook up his little toes, the right one to negative, the left one to positive. Positive and negative, that’s the principle of heaven and earth. Now turn on the juice. And listen to what comes out of his mouth. Listen to him bray like a mad donkey. Watch his tongue roll up, watch that little tit in the back of his throat swell up. Now cover his mouth—gag the mad donkey. Watch his red lips turn purple, see the whites of his eyes turn red. Turn up the current. Watch how the power of electricity dries up everything in a flash. And when all the moisture’s gone, sprinkle him with water. Salt water—it’s the ideal conductor. Watch for the moment when the water dries up and the salt crystals appear. Watch with your own eyes for that exquisite moment when the white goose bumps go down and the fine hair of the body comes up.
Look at how the electricity makes that hair stand up and gather in one direction. Appreciate the beauty of it. Isn’t it breathtaking? This is genuine beauty. This is absolute proof of absolute skill. Fine hair charged with electricity.
Who the hell? Who dares interfere with me at this moment of beauty?
“I think you need to stop. There might be a problem.”
“That’s team three, right?”
“The rookies…. And so?”
“We’ve been ordered to stop all interrogation.”
I look at the guy’s face. His blue lips are twitching.