I awaken to the sound of a typewriter. The staccato gunshot sound of the keys flows endlessly, not ceasing. The floor under me is cold cement. I am lying on my side on a floor of cold cement and the sound of typewriter keys is unending.
I lift my head and open my eyes. Across the room from me, sitting on the floor cross-legged is Dexter Freeman, legendary writer. He types on an IBM Selectric, coloured cherry red. His fingers snap and curl in constant movement, and he seems immensely displeased when the ding that signals the end of a page interrupts his stream of thought.
I crawl up into a sitting position.
“What are you writing about?” I ask.
“The death of the American Dream.” He replies, not turning to look at me.
“We haven’t tapped that subject out yet?”
“We can write forever on that subject. We can write about The American Dream while it’s dying, and when it is dead we can forever write it’s obituary.”
I move to the corner of the room that we share, and piss into the bucket that serves as our bathroom. Freeman continues to type, and like clockwork, reaches to grab a blank page from a pile of blank pages that sits on the floor to his right. To his left is a pile of completed pages.
I finish, zip up, and go and sit against the wall across from him. Our cell is not big, we are only two meters away, yet he seems a million miles away, off in his own world of sentence structure, phrasing, and wording.
After a few more minutes, he speaks again to ask if we have any cigarettes left. I reply that we smoked the last few hours ago. Outside I can hear the sound of a distant explosions and gunfire. The bare light-bulb that swings from the ceiling flickers with the sound of far away impact.
Escape seems improbable. It is more likely that we will be let out. Rescue as well is improbable, unless the local news reports of our own friendly troops being at least six hundred miles out were highly false. We’d heard our own reports back when we were out in the world, and not in this cell, but none of the rumours that swirled led to increased hopes of our own troops kicking down the door and escorting us out to a rescue chopper.
What a fucking situation.
At least they had let Dexter keep his typewriter. It might have had something to do with him claiming that he would kill himself in a way that would be impossibly messy to clean up if the guards took his typewriter from him.
So the sound of the keys continued. The death of the American dream would be documented.