A Strange encounter
A Strange Encounter-1946
Asher waited in the interrogator's office at Nicosia on the isle of Cyprus. The worst part was the tedium. Asher wondered if the British were deliberatly keeping him waiting. He wouldn't put it past them.
Then a man walked in. Asher looked in suprise.
Lord Wilburford said, "Remember me?"
Asher said, "Yes and I should say that this is a dirty trick of you people."
Lord Wilburford said, "Oh come. Where does the Geneva Convention forbid useing an old companion to interrogate a suspected rebel?"
Asher said, "What makes you say I'm a rebel?"
Lord Wilberford said,"We had your photo in the archives-don't look at me like that. Someone back at MI6 thought it might be nice to know who you were after the war and put a tail on me to make sure they got your photo. It wasn't my doing"
"We all have our off-days" said Asher, "And you were in a difficult situation."
."Now to continue", said Lord Wilburford, "You are suspected of assisting smuggling Displaced Persons into Palestine."
"Indeed?", asked Asher.
Lord Wilburford said,"We have captured several others of your people. They are being interrogated."
Asher said, "Nice bluff, my lord. But assuming I was what I am accused of all I have to do is announce their code names in the newspaper if I suspect them of betraying me"
Lord Wilburford looked at him for a while. Then he said, "Come sir, I should not wish to be the instrument of your doom."
Asher shrugged his shoulders, "I would not want to burden you with that either. For purely unselfish motives of course. But that's a bluff too: if you hang me I'll just walk to the gallows singing a Zionist song. Press'll love it."
Lord Wilberford said, "It could be arranged quietly"
Asher replied, "But you won't won't you? Oh you might have during the war but your not in that dangerous a situation now. Seems kind of unfair taking advantage of your forbearance like that and I don't like it to be honest. But it's not just another power struggle for us. You have seen the DP's haven't you?"
Lord Wilburford said, "Yes I have, and more's the pity. But I cannot be turned aside from my duty just because it is unpleasant anymore then you. Nor am I stupid enough to let you play on my emotion. You are right, I can't hang you and I can't 'arrange it quietly'. But I can send you to prison where you will be forgotten in a few years."
Then Lord Wilberford got up and left. An agent watching him asked, "How goes it?"
Lord Wilberford said, "This is going to take a long time, this is just the preliminary. He knows what he's doing-has been at it for years."
Suddenly a guard came out, "He's gone"
Lord Wilburford said, "What do you mean?"
The reply came, "I don't know. The doors were solidly locked and well-guarded. Somehow he picked the lock, ran past the guards and jumped out the window and dissappeared into an alley."The agent next to Lord Wilburford said, "This is a mite embarrassing."
"Yes", said Lord Wilburford, "Gotta hand it to him."
Then the Agent looked at Lord Wilberford, "You didn't..."Wilberford replied, "No I most certainly did not. And if I had, I would say so and resign."The next question was, "Can we find him?"Lord Wilberford said, "Probably not. But we have to try. Fortunately that's not my business. Oh well, this will be a more interesting report to fill out then most."
Then Lord Wilburford went to the broken window and looked out wistfully on the streets of Nicosia .
Then he sighed, "Good luck, Asher".
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This piece kept my interest throughout. Not sure what DP's are, and I wondered if double-spacing would help present the dialogue more clearly?
There was a short war between the British and the Zionists immeidiately following World War II. Lord Wilberford's point in saying he would have resigned is that he could picture himself choosing friendship over duty although in fact he chose duty. But if he had he would have taken responsibility for it.