Thursday, June 25, 2020

Microstory 1394: Misdirection

Garden Terrorist 1: Mr. Stern! I see you’ve survived! How was it?
Fiore Stern: It was simultaneously the best, and worst, thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. What was the deal with that sheep? Did everybody get to do that?
Garden Terrorist 2: A lot of the tests are all about loyalty, but that one was about how strong your stomach is. I mean, if you can kill a sheep that slowly, I imagine you can do just about anything.
Fiore Stern: Yeah, it didn’t bother me at all.
Garden Terrorist 3: I was watching you from a distance. You hold the record for longest sheep suffering. You should be proud of yourself.
Fiore Stern: Oh, interesting. So, this is a suitability interview?
Garden Terrorist 2: Ah, it’s not really an interview. We’re here to get to know you, so we can start to build some trust.
Fiore Stern: You guys work in the gardens?
Garden Terrorist 1: Yeah, that’s all we do.
Garden Terrorist 3: In fact, they don’t want us to know anything about what’s really going on in this organization.
Fiore Stern: What is really going on in this organization? And could you speak directly into my shirt collar?
Garden Terrorist 2: Haha! I love this guy. You’re gonna do just fine here, Sterny. That’s what we’ll call you; Sterny.
Garden Terrorist 3: Severe.
Fiore Stern: Huh?
Garden Terrorist 3: We’ll call you Severe. It’s a synonym for stern, ain’t it? Makes you sound mysterious, and dangerous.
Garden Terrorist 2: Oo, I like that. Yeah, that’s much better. Have a drink, Severe.
Garden Terrorist 1: Severe is a perfect name. You certainly lived up to it when you drained that sheep, and when you beat that man half to death.
Fiore Stern: Yeah, who was that? Does he work here?
Garden Terrorist 3: Yeah, but he tested much lower than you.
Garden Terrorist 2: And he’s a masochist.
Garden Terrorist 1: So he volunteers to be the punching bag for Stage Two of initiation.
Fiore Stern: Well, I almost killed him full to death.
Garden Terrorist 1: That’s the risk we all take. You can’t work for us if you’re afraid of a little danger.
Garden Terrorist 2: Or a little pain.
Fiore Stern: I have no problem with pain. I just prefer to be the one doling it out.
Garden Terrorist 2: Ha! There he goes again with that sharp humor! Get him another drink, you whatever your name is.
Garden Terrorist 1: Actually, go get us a keg.
Fiore Stern: So, I wanted to ask you guys something, and I hope I’m not out of line. I understand that I’m not here to be involved in the main business, but what if I were to have...let’s call them extracurriculars?
Garden Terrorist 3: Oh, I see what he’s sayin’. This boy likes to play. We all have our extracurriculars.
Garden Terrorist 1: Rule number one, don’t do anything to jeopardize this organization. You can have a life outside of it, but if you get caught, you better keep us out of it. We’ll deny having any knowledge of whatever it is you like, which will be plausible, because you won’t be telling us. Obviously, we have people in law enforcement who work for us, but you won’t ever know who, so there’s no one out there you can trust. You feel me?
Fiore Stern: I got it. We’re good. I’ll keep to myself.
Garden Terrorist 3: Well, drink up! The world’s ours now.

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