Don’t ask questions. That’s the lesson. It’s not like no one knows this. Everyone knows. But sometimes the question is the only thing that stands between you and betraying yourself. Your own self.
“Do you believe?” They asked. “Will you belong?”
“I’d live in solitary, then? Alone?” I asked.
“We don’t ask questions here,” They said. “You would be compensated, of course. Handsomely. You would have more than enough to eat, to feed your loved ones. You would live comfortably. You would –”
“But I would live alone, in a box, right?” I said, affirming my still-unanswered question.
“That sounds like a question,” they said.
“We show here that you like to travel. And you speak, ah, let’s see here (the pages flip over the top edges of brown nondescript folders) five tongues.” They say the number with tilted heads and raised brows.
I don’t respond.
“And you’ve travelled, we see. Do you enjoy travelling, Mr. ______?”
“I thought we weren’t allowed to ask questions,” I said.
“No, Mr._______, We ask questions (he gestures to all five black-suited members with an upturned palm). You (the palm shifts to an index finger pointed at my head, stiff, unwaivering) do not.”
Then, as if beginning to sense my understanding of their lovely painted confinement, he added, “After all, Mr. _______, how else would we understand those we care about?”