A Storyby David Sipress
The Colonel stepped out of his office and looked to his right, down the corridor to the narrow barred window at the end. Light snow was falling on the courtyard, and he caught a brief glimpse of the transport truck as it completed the tricky backup maneuver to the loading platform and ceased its persistent beeping. Patting his chest, he softly belched and savored the memory of an early lunch—imported Dorchester cheddar on brown bread with bits, washed down with a frothy pale ale. It had been the highlight of a very dull morning, which consisted of several long bouts of paperwork and a lackadaisical victory over a plodding opponent in a game of online chess.
He turned to his left. Ten prisoners sat on a long wooden bench. Above them, halfway up the cracked, peeling wall, was a row of numbers—one through ten—painted yellow and outlined in black. Below the numbers, directly behind the shaved heads of the prisoners, were ten, murky, egg-shaped stains—historical evidence of the thousands of perspiring skulls that had leaned against the cold concrete.