by Mary Clare
The fat man squirmed uncomfortably on the hard metal folding chair, squinting
against the bright light shining in his eyes. The temperature in the cavernous
interrogation room must be below forty degrees -- he could see his breath
pluming in front of his face -- but he felt himself sweating. His olive-drab
wool fatigue jacket felt hot and scratchy after months of wearing Italian
silk suits. Besides, it pinched under his armpits.
"We have been going over your operations in the Pacific," Fu Yi said in his
crisp, British boarding-school accent. "And we have become concerned, very
concerned, about your commitment to the ideals of the Cultural Revolution."
The man felt like he had been sitting there for hours. He resisted the urge
to knead his hands together, knowing that his interrogator would perceive
it - correctly, as it happened - a sign of panic. Instead, he smoothed his
face into an implacable mask and forced himself to breathe normally.
"Do not insult me, comrade," he hissed. "Since Chairman Mao saw fit to elevate
me to this position, my every thought, my every deed has been directed toward
the achievement of his Marxist-Leninist goals."
"So you would have us believe," Fu Yi said, adjusting the light so that it
focused more intensely on the man's sweat-shined face. "But we have reason
to think otherwise."
Damn these show trials! the man thought. Ordinarily he felt confident
in his ability to get out of any jam, no matter how terrifying or hopeless
it might be. Lately, these little meetings had begun to seem like the most
dangerous part of his job. He couldn't shake the feeling that one day, he
wouldn't walk away.
Keeping his voice calm, he said: "Do not keep me in suspense, comrade. I
presume you will give me the privilege of defending myself."
"If you can," Fu Yi replied, his black horn-rimmed glasses opaque in the
glare of the lamp. He reached into a folder lying on the table and came up
with a fistful of wrinkled papers. "For a start, perhaps you would like to
explain this bar bill for over three-hundred, capitalist, running-dog American
dollars from the Tiki Tops restaurant on Oahu."
"I was conducting a sensitive undercover operation," the man said tightly.
"The consumption of alcohol was a necessary tactic, in order to gain the
trust of the decadent Enemy of the People then under my surveillance."
"Whose name is Miss GiGi LaBoom? I can imagine her secrets are of great interest
to the Chinese government," Fu Yi said, his mouth twisted in a sarcastic
sneer. "And that's only the beginning! Just last week, our operatives saw
you gorging yourself all afternoon at Perry's Smorgy in Waikiki -- "
"I was merely retrieving some microfilm hidden in the prime rib," the man
insisted. "I had to make several trips to the buffet to avoid suspicion."
"I see," said Fu Yi, but obviously he didn't. "Then explain this: your assignment
of a highly trained intelligence expert to sabotage Steve McGarrett's dry
"Steve McGarrett is a relentless foe of the Revolution!" the man gasped,
losing his composure. "Really, Fu Yi, I am greatly offended that you would
send your bureaucrats to check up on me -- "
"It's a good thing I did," Fu Yi shot back. With a petulant gesture, he sent
the papers flying in a dramatic arc over the dirty concrete floor. "For months,
Chairman Mao's government has spent a fortune on your schemes to obtain America's
nuclear secrets. And all you have to show are a bunch of overpriced restaurant
meals and a few "gotcha's" against a broken-down cop!"
"Fu Yi, I will not tolerate -- "
"You are not in a position to say what you will or will not tolerate!" Fu
Yi slammed his fist on the table so hard he knocked his glasses askew. "As
of today, your expense account is closed! No more resort stays on Maui, no
more yacht trips around Singapore, no more convertibles at Dollar Rent-a-Car!
Who do you think you are, James Bond?"
"But I --"
"No buts! You're cut off, do you understand? You're to accomplish your mission
with the resources you have left." Struggling to recover his temper, Fu Yi
straightened his glasses and yanked down the front of his Mao jacket. He
played his fingers over his lips and muttered: "If you succeed, Chairman
Mao will consider letting you live."
Fu Yi abruptly shut out the light and marched to the door. As an afterthought,
he turned and said over his shoulder: "I hope you enjoy collective farming."
Then he slammed out, leaving the fat man sitting alone in the chilly darkness.
I'm too old for this shit, Wo Fat thought. Adjusting his mind to the
new reality, he lifted himself heavily from his chair and walked out into
the dreary Peking morning.