Confession of Citizen 623589

This was part of my final portfolio for Fiction and Poetry Writing II with Amy Eisner.

Carlos Macasaet
7 December 2004
200.106 – Final Portfolio

Confession of Citizen 623589

A foreigner was caught trespassing on the palace grounds last month. His neck did not bear the number that uniquely identifies all living citizens of the state. He carried no papers and he spoke no language that anyone could understand. He was promptly arrested and my supervisor, citizen 392332, put me in charge of his incarceration. He would be the first prisoner to be entirely in my charge. At first, I thought this was a test because a citizen in my range is not usually permitted such responsibilities. Perhaps my superiors suspected me of plotting against the state and wanted to observe me closer. Perhaps they wanted to make sure I was not shirking my duties and so they brought in a spy, who carefully concealed the identification number that usually shows prominently on the back of the neck and uniquely identifies each living citizen. I had heard of such things being done before. With treason on the rise, the state has had more reason to spy on its citizens. I also know that certain high-ranking citizens use a technique to conceal their identification numbers when they travel abroad. However, it is impossible to conceal the markings permanently and they begin to show again within a month’s time. I dismissed the notion that he might be a spy when I realised that all of the higher-ranking citizens that worked in the prisons had their hands full now that our prisons housed nearly a third of the state’s population. Either way, it was quite an honour to have a prisoner of my own. I would treat this matter with the utmost care and attention to detail.

Upon receiving the foreigner, I placed him in a solitary confinement cell with the heat set too high for comfort. With the lights burning constantly, he would lose all sense of the days. At this point, he was still afforded a bed, but he would only be given food every other day, as per standard operating procedure. Over the next few days, I had interrogators brought in. I would help them to strap the foreigner into the chair in his cell designed specifically for this purpose. With his arms and legs bound and his head strapped to the back of the chair, the interrogators asked him all the standard questions. They asked where he was from, what he was doing on the palace grounds, how he got in. At first he would not respond, so I attached electrodes to his arms to give him a mild shock when he refused to answer. This yielded slightly better results. At least now, he would respond in his native tongue, which we still could not understand. After a few days of this, I decided that perhaps it would be best to cut the interrogation sessions down to once a week. I called for linguists to be brought in, but most of them were busy with matters of state and it would take several weeks for one of them to be able to see the prisoner. The record of my request should still be on file.

Trespassing on the palace grounds was a serious offence. The palace is well guarded on both the inside and the outside. The doors are all bolted shut and the windows are permanently sealed with metal shutters. The royal family must be protected at all costs. In addition, they have to be shielded from the influences of common people and more importantly, foreigners. Because of this, they were not allowed to see or be seen by anyone except for their guards and their servants. One time, nearly a century ago, a young princess was enthralled by the stories her maid told her about the flowers that bloom every year in the palace grounds, so she convinced the maid to take her outside to see them. They were very cunning in their escape, but they were caught. The princess was brought back inside and her maid was starved to death. Since then, only deaf and mute servants have been allowed to work in the palace and the guards are trained very carefully not to listen to or converse with any members of the royal family.

Still, something did not seem right about punishing the foreigner like this. The tourist season had just ended so it was entirely possible that he had gotten lost during a tour of the palace gardens. The gardens are among the most beautiful in the world and people from many nations come to visit them. However, the paths are very complex and it is very easy to get lost if one wanders from the group for even a moment. For this reason, guards walk among the tourists in disguise (wearing scarves or some other kind of neckwear to conceal their identification numbers) to keep a close watch on any stragglers. Still, they must have overlooked this one. I inquired at all of the local hotels and tour agencies, but I was not able to get any meaningful responses. The hotel managers and tour directors generally had lower citizenship numbers than mine and so few of them would deal with me. Instead, I returned my attention to the care of my prisoner.

I observed the foreigner for the next couple of days. He was surprisingly receptive to the whole process. He did not at any point try to run away. He just spent his days patiently lying in his bed with a sad look on his face while he waited for his food to arrive. He never expressed any disgust when the food placed in his cell through the feeding hole was undercooked or cold. Most foreigners are appalled when they learn about our methods of justice. They criticise our judicial process, saying that it is unfair and they criticise our punishment techniques, saying that they are too harsh. They rarely see the efficiency of the whole system or how it keeps our society together.

When I opened his cell door one day after no interrogators had been in to see him for some time, he looked up with anticipation on his face. He must have thought that perhaps his sentence was over. However, after I entered his cell and closed the door behind me, the melancholy expression returned to his face. I explained to him that daily floggings were now to be a part of his punishment and that this was simply the next stage of the whole process. I told him that should he wish his punishment to end, he would have to start talking to the interrogators in a language they are able to understand so that they might bring his case to the central courts for consideration. He bowed his head and looked to the ground as some gesture of response, but I knew that he could not understand me. So, I drew my club and began beating him. I was taught how to inflict as much pain as possible without causing permanent injury. In addition, after practising this art on many prisoners before this one, I had gotten very good at beating those who resisted or even fought back. However, the foreigner did not resist me, nor did he fight back. If anything, he seemed to resist the natural tendency to curl into a ball like most prisoners do. In fact, he tried to take each blow standing up. In the end, I beat him unconscious and left him lying on the floor.

I looked in on him the next day and he looked fine, with the exception of his newly acquired bruises. Within a few days, I had broken the skin on areas of his arms, legs and the back of his neck. It was soon after this, that I heard a rumour that my supervisor was going to be audited. I knew after him, I would be next. Since I had made no progress with the foreigner, I decided to jump ahead to the next phase. I set the climate control for his cell to ten degrees centigrade and I removed his bed. I fetched a medical kit and I cleaned and bandaged his wounds. There would be no more beatings, and he would be fed every day, but I would rotate with several guards to remain in his room to do whatever it takes to prevent him from sleeping. This has always proven effective in getting prisoners to talk and I expected that by the time the interrogator sees him next, he will have learned our language well enough to confess. After three days without sleep, the foreigner collapsed from exhaustion and there was nothing that the guards or myself could do to revive him. I decided I would allow him four hours of sleep, so I fetched a washbasin, stripped him of his clothes and began bathing him. His wounds were healing, so I disposed of the bandages. Then I noticed something unusual about the back of his neck. Unusual markings, too fine to have been caused by my club began to emerge in place of his wounds. I brought him a new set of clothes and I replaced the bed in his cell. When I returned the next day, the markings were clearly visible – 000043.

Punishing royalty was unheard of and I did not know what to do in this situation. This was why I brought the case directly to the office of the Grand Nestor. He would not see me immediately, but I filed my statement with his staff and I have taken the initiative of submitting this confession with the head judge of the prison as well as with my supervisor. I patiently await my execution in cell 56C in the east wing of Kutna Penitentiary. The lights are on and the temperature has been set to 50 degrees centigrade as per standard operating procedure.

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