Friday, 30 January 2015

...of the cell

"All right. Get in there!" Kadagv's self-assurance brought out Tirin's satirical, play-acting vein. "You're a prisoner. You don't talk back. Understand? Turn around. Put your hands on your head."
"What for?"
"You want to quit?"
Kadagv faced him sullenly.
"You can't ask why. Because if you do we can beat you, and you have to just take it, and nobody will help you. Because we can kick you in the balls and you can't kick back. Because you are not free. Now, do you want to go through with it?"
"Sure. Hit me."
Tirin, Shevek, and the prisoner stood facing one another in a strange, stiff group around the lantern, in the darkness, among the heavy foundation-walls of the building.
Tirin smiled arrogantly, luxuriously. "Don't tell me what to do, you profiteer. Shut up and get in that cell!" And as Kadagv turned to obey, Tirin pushed him straight-arm in the back so that he fell sprawling. He gave a sharp grunt of surprise or pain, and sat up nursing a finger that had been scraped or sprained against the back wall of the cell. Shevek and Tirin did not speak. They stood motionless, their faces without expression, in their role as guards. They were not playing the role now, it was playing them. The younger boys returned with some holum bread, a melon, and a bottle of water; they were talking as they came, but the curious silence at the cell got them at once. The food and water was shoved in, the door raised and braced. Kadagv was alone in the dark. The others gathered around the lantern. Gibesh whispered, "Where'll he piss?"

[The Dispossessed, Le Guin, U.]

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