The phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID. Harvey.
"Basil! Didn't you used to be a reporter?" Harvey asked.
"Uh, yeah. What's up?" I asked cautiously.
Harvey told me. "Last week's bombings in London are going to put England in the spotlight. Particularly for Moonbats who want to undermine the War on Terror. So, we need to be ready to support our friends. But we need to know how they are responding to those attacks. Can you use your investigative skills to help out?"
"Sure. My skills are limited. That's one of the reasons I don't do that any more. Plus the pay sucks," I said.
"Ah, you're current job pay better?" he asked.
"No, pay sucks there too. But it's fun," I said. "Anyway, you just need to know how the British are retaliating to the attacks?"
"Yeah," Harvey said, "that about covers it."
"Gotcha," I replied and rang off.
Well, I wondered, how would I find out? Then it hit me. The first thing the British would need is information. And where better than those they already have in custody. And they have several in Belmarsh Prison. So, I dialed 011-44-208-331-4768.
The phone rang it's funny little double ring, just like it does on Pink Floyd albums. Or CDs. This was going to be interesting.
"Her Majesty's Prison, Belmarsh," came the pleasant but serious voice. And the voice sounded familiar. A voice I hadn't heard since ....
"Nigel?" I was certain it was Lieutenant St. John-Smythe.
"Basil? Is that you?" The voice was still pleasant, but surprised.
"How are you doing? I didn't know you were at Belmarsh! Left the military, I see," I said.
"Good Lord, man. What prompts this call?" Nigel asked.
"Funny story," I said. "I'm researching the British retaliation to last week's bombings, and I was wanting to find out how you were getting information from those you have in custody there."
"Oh, is that all? Nothing more than our intelligence secrets and methods? Man, are you daft?" Nigel St. John-Smythe said.
"Now, now, I'm not asking for anything that will cause any difficulties. But I'd like to view an interrogation, if that wouldn't be too much trouble," I asked.
"Or," I offered, "you could describe an interrogation?"
"Actually," Nigel responded, "there's not a lot to tell. Just like you Americans have a prison facility at your Guantanamo Bay base, we have a facility here in eastern London. The prisoners are kept in cells most of the time. I mean, they're prisoners, right?"
"Hey, no argument from me," I said.
"Yes. Well. There comes a time when we must ask questions of those engaged in terrorist activities," said Nigel. "We ask them questions for about an hour. Ever so politely, to be sure. But this lot ... well, they don't cooperate. At least not until it's time for them to go back to their cells. Then they spill the beans. After a bit, you can tell they have stopped sharing information and are just babbling on and on so they won't be returned to their cells. Many ask ... beg, I should say ... to be sent to the American prison at Guantanamo Bay. But we take them screaming back to their cells."
I asked, "Why such a ruckus? What do you do to them in their cells?"
"Why nothing," Nigel insisted. "They are offered three meals a day and can watch the telly."
"Standard British TV?" I asked.
"Certainly," Nigel responded. "Of course, they just have monitors in their cells. Everyone watches the same thing."
"Well, let's see. Emmerdale, of course. They are allowed to see shows like Desperate Midwives, Coronation Street, Tweenies ... you know, the typical fare," Nigel said.
"Oh, my goodness!" I said. "And the meals?"
"Again, typical fare. Jellied eels, Faggots, Toad in the Hole, Gloucestershire Squab Pie, Spotted Dick ..."
I interrupted, "Isn't this where I make a Michael Jackson joke?"
Nigel sighed, "I rather wish you wouldn't."
"I get the idea, though," I said. "Well, you've been a big help. I can report back with a clear conscience."
We exchanged pleasantries before ending the call.
I dialed Harvey back.
"Harvey, those bombings have indeed caused the British to retaliate," I reported.
Harvey asked, "How so?"
"Torture," I said. "Unspeakable torture."