Illustrated by Allen Forrest
Once Brendan turned to face the armored patrol, a spotlight shone from the bridge of a crow’s nest. The rays blinded him as the microwaves screamed and shocked, sailing Brendan to the pavement.
While the caravan idled at the curb, Brendan remained blacked-out on the sidewalk. A team in riot gear emerged with a gurney and strapped Brendan onto it, placing him under arrest.
The days of probable cause, search warrants, and a judge’s order, had grown old-fashioned. Open season for the cops to drag citizens to the rubber rooms at the precincts and work them over. Sleep deprivation, noise machines, waterboarding, all on the up and up to grab a confession.
When Brendan came to, he felt the wheels beneath him as they reached the station. Still in limbo, since the police had plugged his ears, wrapped his head, and tightened the straps.
Unable to speak and plead his case, while no one informed Brendan of the charges. How does a man with a clean record, education, and prolific career get wrongly accused of murder, much less connected in the first place?
The cops kept Brendan cloaked and unaware of the newfangled chamber until they buckled him in. A round cabin designed like a space pod. A virtual booby trap decked out with foam walls and a captain’s chair.
The sphere’s purpose is to cut out the double talk and guys thinking all over the place. In lieu of outdated torture and time-wasting interrogations, an X-ray of the brain’s memory, downloaded to a hard drive.
All the brain’s recorded vision, streamed through a flat screen. Click the mouse and watch a man’s life unfold, minute by minute, day by day, from his own eyes.
A smarty says he can’t recall the mischief, dump him into the tub of the sarcophagus, seal him up, and rip his memory. And it’s entertainment for the cops. Crowding around the port window of the pod. Marveling at the perps squirm and bake like live fowl in a giant crock-pot.
A tech staff waits on standby to sift through the footage and locate the crime. While they begin to view his brain activity, the police remove Brendan from the pod and chuck him into one of the holding cells.
The assault on the mind and body leaves Brendan numb. As Brendan’s vision remains out of focus and his speech frozen, the tech staff has trouble linking him to the killings. Nowhere in his personal footage does Brendan have any contact with the victims or stored visuals of any crime scenes.
The police remained determined, demanding another session. Each moment in the vessel ramps up the stress on Brendan’s thinker and senses, until the guy’s wiped out and fried to pieces. By morning, Brendan’s memory is purged and his mind is scorched. Soon it will fade for good. In the meantime, Brendan won’t return home, resume his job, or get married.
Calls from his girlfriend to his confiscated cell phone go unanswered. Brendan’s family files a missing persons report and his job searches out a replacement.
Brendan continues his slide, looming towards insanity. Taken from his cell, he awaits transfer to the asylum. A zombie hotel where he’ll join the parade of inmates wandering around, aimless and innocent.
Once Brendan arrives, therapy ensues and the charges are dropped. His family figures out his whereabouts while the police return to the streets.