“The cops have Julia” by Robin Wyatt Dunn

I knew already, struck with the phantasm of a dream that I had taken the reins of my life at last. Like a drowning man finding the hole in the ice.

The telephone is like a black door; I open it and stand at the threshold, testing the wind:


“What is it?”

“I have information about a bomber. A terrorist.”

I am the terrorist, of course. Even though the word is a misnomer. My stories no longer contain the true names;  enough has been lost that I excuse myself in this half-willed deception, even as I will deceive my government:

She is at Tremont Station. I would call in a nuclear strike if it would save her. Surely I am insane;  but this is a commonplace when it comes to men and their dealings with women.

– –

The FBI is, after a few other “Alphabet” agencies in the old DC zone, one of the largest weapons dealers in the world.

“I need about twenty pounds of C4.”

“You could do a lot of damage with that.”

“I have the money.”

“We only take hard currency.”

500 troy ounces of gold later and my parents’ trust fund close to exhausted, I prime the explosives under the sewer grating, thirteen feet below street level, the epicenter of the shaped charge pointed towards the one-hundred-twenty-year-old precinct, where the secretaries, petty officers and paperwork shield the dozen cells behind, along with the their resident torture expert, Dr. Zalworth.

Zalworth knows my name which is one of the reasons I have to kill him, but not the main one. Julia is one of his victims.

– –

Torture is a funny business;  it slides around history like an ornery child, demanding audience in unlikely places, adopting strange faces and parades as its common gestures, nesting in domestic curves of wall, affection, and treatise, the bastard offspring of empire. To know its face is one of the deeper educations.

– –

The cops have Julia but I have her too.

Cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine smells like petroleum;  the detonator is my heart.

Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. He is a graduate student in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. You can read more of his work at robindunn.com.

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