Monday, March 3, 2008

Just one of those rolling power blackouts

Sorry. The lights went out.

A surge of adrenaline shot through me, like the electricity had been routed through my body. Waiting in the dark, in this strange house, I could practically smell my own fear.

Had the President’s men found me? Then what? How would the White House punish me, the first insider to break their Non-Disclosure Agreement? Would they end it quickly, as they tried to do before I fled Washington? Or would I be renditioned to a third-world country and tortured? Taken to Gitmo and water-boarded?

I strained through the black silence to hear the crunch of footsteps outside that would precede the breaching of the door, but all I could hear was my pulse pounding in my ears.

I realized that I had been holding my breath, so I told myself to relax and tried to breathe normally. If the administration’s goons had found me, there was little I could do.

Instinctively, I picked up a heavy lava rock, a paperweight, from the desk, although I knew it would be useless against their weapons. I stood and went slowly, hesitantly to the window. Pulling back the heavy wool curtain, cool air radiated from the glass against my cheek. I peered out.

The only lights I could see were twin beams cast by a pickup truck’s headlights as it bounced over a washboard dirt road in the foothills. The town below was dark under the silver tendrils of a half moon, high in the crystalline mountain sky.

It must have been one of those unannounced rolling blackouts. Overcome with relief, I let the curtain slip from my fingers.

How far have we sunk under this administration that a person fears for his life simply for telling the truth about the government?

It didn’t have to be this way.

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