FATHER, I HAVE SINNED:
THE FYLCHWORTHY EXPERIENCE
AT OUR LADY OF UBIQUITOUS
A NOVEL BY
JAMES AARON PARMELEE
General Sittikorn paused at length, to make Jack uncomfortable, one imagined.
“Well, let’s see, Mr. Yolkaby. You have been arrested on suspicion of child trafficking, promotion of pedophilia, collusion to commit murder, violation of work permit and visa regulations, failure to declare earnings and pay income taxes, and numerous other offenses that I won’t identify just now.”
“Mr. Yolkaby, aside from being a ruthless and unprincipled criminal, you are actually quite a smart businessman, and you have a lot of money in many different accounts. Of course, we know all about those and where they are and how much you’re worth altogether. You’ve done well for yourself. I’m impressed!”
Jack said nothing.
“Suppose on the one hand that all of these accounts were frozen, so you could not access a single baht of your money.”
Jack stared at the general in horror now.
“Suppose on the other hand, Jack... May I call you Jack now, Mr. Yolkaby?”
“Yes, of course. Call me Jack.”
The general smirked. “Very well, Jack. Suppose on the other hand that you had access to all of that money forever without any interference from the police, and suppose we gave you an additional ten million baht to go along with that.”
Sensing a bribe offer coming up, Jack now relaxed and grinned broadly. “And what would I need to do to get that, general?” It was now Jack who smirked.
The general grinned back and leaned toward Jack with a wink. “Be patient, Jack! All good things will come out in the end.
“In the meantime, let’s go back and consider the first possibility, where we freeze all of your money. What do you think we would do next?
Jack said nothing.
“Well, you don’t need to answer that, Jack. I can tell you, if you will be patient with me for just a little while. Let’s just say, for example, that the first thing we would do is charge you with all the crimes I’ve just mentioned, and all of those I can’t even remember at the moment. What do you think would happen next?
“Well, here it is. Right after that we would take you to the Crime Suppression Division. Now, here, you must understand, Jack, ours is just a little semi-developed Asian country without a lot of the conveniences you enjoy as a ‘civilian’ right now, shall we say, or which you would enjoy in your own home country.
“This means, I’m afraid, that you would be taken to a dark, musty cell where you’d need to strip off most of your clothes just to make a bed for yourself on the floor, and of course you could make do with your shoes as a pillow for that. You also would probably get both thirsty and hungry, but you would receive neither food nor water until the next morning, when we would transfer you to the Bangkok Remand Prison.
“Are you familiar with that place, Jack?”
Jack’s face showed clearly that things were not going well in this conversation, after all.
“No, sir, I’m not.”
“Well, again, I hope you’ll forgive Thailand for being a little bit behind Western countries in prison facilities, meaning that you would find yourself most of the time with little room even to stand up in, and you would be getting pushed and shoved around by hundreds of other sweaty, nearly naked prisoners, most of them Thais or from other Asian countries. In short, your large size would be no advantage to you there, Jack. In fact, it could even make your life hell!
“Now, don’t interrupt me, Jack!” the general warned. “There’s a lot more information I have to tell you during this reverse interrogation. You see, your cell would be only twelve meters by five meters in dimension, and for sleeping would be shared by about sixty other men, all snoring and breaking wind, and so on. That kind of space would not allow you, even if you were only my size, to as much as stretch your legs at night without kicking someone, which is not a very wise thing to do in prison, Jack! But, given your size, well, you can imagine your greater difficulty in just trying to get some sleep.
“Then early in the morning our guards would take you after a thorough body search to a long trough of putrid water, where along with hundreds of other prisoners you could have a bath if you had something to dip the water out with, provided there was still enough left by the time you reached the trough.
“For your breakfast, there would be only the very worst Thai food imaginable, which generally turns the stomachs of foreigners, some of them complaining that even the cats who eat it vomit, though I’m not sure if that’s true or not. Of course, prisoners who have money can buy proper food to eat there, which is okay for them.
“However, in your case, you would not have any money at all, would you?” The general leered.
“Of course, to keep you busy during the day, they might have you doing something useful like making paper bags, for instance, and doing that would earn you a monthly salary of about three dollars U.S. How would you feel about all this Jack?”
Jack trembled. “Disgusted, of course,” he responded.
“And I don’t blame you! So now let’s get back to the second scenario, where we let you keep all of your money, and give you an extra ten million baht besides. Of course, you would need to exit Thailand forever, and probably take up a new identity somewhere else. Could you accept that?”
“I would have no choice,” admitted Jack, but with little enthusiasm.
“And what would you do for us to earn that splendid privilege, Jack?”
“You want to use me for a sting, don’t you?”
“Ah, Jack!” shouted the general in delight. “I knew that you were a man of superior intelligence all along!”