Friday, June 26, 2020

Microstory 1395: Display

Magazine Interviewer: This is the interview with famed terrorist-fighter, Fiore Stern. Mr. Stern, is that how you would describe yourself?
Fiore Stern: Well, I just do what I can to help the world, in any way I can. I wouldn’t call myself a hero. I think anyone would do what I did, if they were in my position.
Magazine Interviewer: And how exactly did you find yourself in that position? Most good people don’t get themselves recruited by a terrorist organization. How were they so wrong about you?
Fiore Stern: Well, they just had a bad algorithm, I guess. I did go to prison—I won’t lie about that. What they didn’t realize is I didn’t spend my entire time locked up just sitting on my cot, being pissed off at the world. I was thinking about my mistakes, and learning in the library, and trying to become a better person. So while my record might have made me look like a perfect candidate for an illegal bomb-making company, my heart didn’t really want that. They were wrong, because they just looked at me on the surface. That’s kind of why I was having trouble finding work in the first place.
Magazine Interviewer: So, when they offered you the job at a fertilizer company, did you think you would end up here?
Fiore Stern: Absolutely. I mean, I didn’t know you would be interviewing me, or that I would start having fans, of all things. I did know that I wanted to take them down. From the moment I was in that interview, to the day before the government finally raided all of their facilities at once, I knew it was my responsibility to rid the world of this scum. Did you see all those bomb containers? It was awful.
Magazine Interviewer: Wait, you knew in the interview? You knew that early, before you even started?
Fiore Stern: Of course, they tried to entice me with the fact that I would be part of something dark and twisted.
Magazine Interviewer: Yet you took the job.
Fiore Stern: I sure did. I know what you’re getting at here. You see, I could have gone to the cops right then and there. I could have told that interviewer that I wanted no part of his business, and that I was going to get them in trouble. But what would that have gotten us? He might have killed me on the spot at worst, and no one would have suspected them, or the company could have destroyed evidence, and done whatever else they needed to do to make themselves not look guilty. I had to infiltrate them in order to get anything done. The authorities needed evidence, and that took time. And in that time, I knew I was working for a bad group of people. But I kept going, because it was important. Because it was the right thing to do.
Magazine Interviewer: Well, if the internet response is any indication, the world is grateful for your efforts. Now, tell me. Were you at all culpable for your participation in the company? Did the federal agents think you were involved in anything yourself? If you didn’t approach them until later, it seems you might have unwillingly been part of some criminal activity.
Fiore Stern: Well, indirectly, yes. I knew what they were, and I was technically helping them make money. I was part of the front business, however. We helped customers fertilize their gardens, just like any legitimate company would. They wouldn’t let me anywhere near the bomb stuff. I had to sneak in and steal evidence, but I was a lot closer than any real cop would have been.
Magazine Interviewer: Interesting. That’s such an amazing story. Now. Tell me about your co-workers. A lot of people died during the raid, but two of your colleagues were found dead in their homes later on. What do you suppose happened?
Fiore Stern: I think they just happened to not be at work that day—for whatever reasons—but they realized they had been caught, so they took their own lives. They probably didn’t want to go to jail. I don’t blame ‘em. It helped me improve myself, but not everyone is so lucky. Some people just get worse while behind bars.
Magazine Interviewer: Yes, that’s true. Why don’t you tell us what’s next for Fiore Stern? What does a terrorist-catcher do after he’s caught his terrorists? Any plans to go into law enforcement?
Fiore Stern: No, I don’t think so. I think I’m just gonna go look for a real company now. I still love flowers, and other plantlife.
Magazine Interviewer: Oh, that’s nice.

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