Consequences Part 7

October 7th, 2011 by Wordsman

Every lawyer must prepare for the situation of a witness spouting out something that seems to mean nothing at all.  The best reaction is to pretend that you understood completely and move on as if nothing unusual has happened.  Other possibilities include making it seem as though what they said is unimportant or even accusing them of using words that an ordinary person—such as the ordinary people on the jury—couldn’t possibly be expected to be familiar with.

Peter chose to sit down.  The floor was as nasty as you would expect, but the station was all but deserted in the early afternoon, so at least there was little risk of being stepped on.  The glorious joy of escaping from the evil tune was slowly being replaced by a vague dizziness, and it didn’t seem like things would be getting better any time soon.  “What did you say?”

“It’s German.”  He had guessed that.  Though he had never studied, Peter had the basic American’s understanding of European languages: flowing, pretentious-sounding words are French; long, angry-sounding words are German; words that are fifteen letters long and contain no vowels are Welsh.  “It means ‘Song of Mastery’ or something like that.”

It was at this point—and also at numerous other points later on—that Peter seriously considered leaving.  He had never gotten the pleasure of meeting Almirante Loco, but he was well aware that there are people in the world who, for whatever reason, say a lot of things that don’t make sense.  Sometimes such people can be amusing: if they seem harmless and respect your physical space, it’s okay to stick around and listen.  But when they ask for money, or turn violent, or rattle off bizarre, fantasy-esque terms as if they actually mean something, then it’s time to walk away.

But he couldn’t walk away, because if he did, the song—the Bearhairshunglead?—might come back.

Still, he decided to tread lightly.  She had already hit him once, and that time he hadn’t even done anything.  He did not want to think about what she might do if he started questioning her beliefs, no matter how crazy they may have been.

“So, when you say, ‘under the effect,’ you mean . . .?”

“It’s simple.  You pretty much just described it.  If you hear the Beherrschunglied, you’re bound to the will of the person who performed it.  Basically you have to do whatever they want.  If you don’t—if you resist, or try to run, or fight it—then the song gradually takes over your mind.  It grows louder, more insistent, blocking off anything else you try to focus on.  It shouldn’t drive you completely insane, because then you wouldn’t be any use to anyone, but, like you said, it’s not exactly pleasant.”

Peter tried to pretend he was at the doctor’s office.  After all, doctors (like lawyers) use lots of words that don’t seem to make any sense, and their explanations are, if you think about it, kind of unbelievable: “If you don’t swallow this mystery object that has god-only-knows-what inside, then millions of tiny things floating around inside your body are going to kill you.”  He asked the only question it makes sense to ask a doctor: “Is there a cure?”

“Sure.  Just follow orders.”

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