The Resolution

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Authors: Steven Bird
replied, “Okay. Yep; got it right here.”
    The Latino man took a position at the door, blocking any egress while the other man stood alongside Ed and Nate.
    “Take a seat,” suggested the man with the sidearm. “I’ve got a few things to get done and your cooperation will make your lives much easier.”
    Complying, Ed and Nate both took a seat on plastic and metal folding chairs positioned in the middle of the room. The man with the sidearm then did a cursory visual check of Ed and Nate’s physical condition. He looked down at Ed and Nate’s feet and asked, “Any sores on your feet? Most people have issues from going without shoes.”
    “We’ll survive,” responded Ed sharply. “May I ask who we have the pleasure of dealing with today?”
    “For you, my name is sir . Respond yes, sir or no, sir . That’s all you need to know.” Looking down at Nate’s one bare foot and amputated leg, he chuckled and said, “I guess you aren’t getting away in a hurry.”
    Staring at the man, Nate clenched the arms of his chair tightly, trying to control his rage. It was one thing to have an occupying force treat them with such contempt, but having his own countrymen do so filled him with negative emotions he would have to work hard to contain.
    “Do either of you have any infectious diseases we should know about? For the safety of the other detainees, of course.”
    “No, sir,” Ed replied in a firm tone.
    “Well, at least you’ve got my name down. Now, give me your left hand,” he said reaching out to Ed.
    Reluctant to comply, Ed asked, “What for?”
    “Have you already forgotten the simple piece of advice I gave you?” the man said, putting his hands on the table to lean down to look Ed directly in the eyes. “There are things to get done, and they will be done. The condition you are in when it’s all over is the only thing you have control over at this point, and you don’t have that control for much longer. Now, give me your damn left hand,” he said insistently, reaching out to Ed.
    Ed looked at Nate, still not complying with the order when an electrical shock went through his body, sending him falling to the floor, unable to control his muscles.
    Feeling a hand around his throat as he began to regain control of his body, Ed attempted to resist, but realized that the other two men were standing on top of each of his arms. The man with the sidearm was breathing directly into Ed’s face, squeezing tighter and tighter, making it impossible for him to get more than an occasional gasp of breath.
    “I told you what was going to happen. Now it’s going to happen like this.”
    Releasing his grip on Ed’s throat, he picked up a device that resembled a rivet gun, put it around Ed’s hand, and popped the handle, sending a stinging pain into the meat of his hand. He then leaned back down into close proximity of Ed’s face, his foul breath reeking of onions and the smell of putrid meat, and said, “Now resist me again. Please… give me an excuse.” Patting Ed on the cheek, he stood up, looked at Nate, and said, “Your turn, cripple boy. Give me your left hand.”
    Begrudgingly, Nate complied.
    The man picked up a second device, verified a piece of paper lying next to it on the table, and then clamped it onto Nate’s hand, popping it, and sending the same pain sensation through him. Nate felt as if a nail had been driven through his hand.
    Removing the device from Nate’s hand and inspecting the small red mark it left behind, he looked at Nate and said, “See how much easier it works around here when you just do as you’re told?”
    “Yes, sir,” Nate responded with a flat, monotone voice.
    “Now, you two will be assigned to quad two. The gentlemen here standing on your friend’s arms will escort you there and get you checked in.” Looking back at Ed on the floor, he continued, “And if you don’t immediately comply with any orders they give you, they have my permission to beat you to within an

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