Hooked on Phonics

“Peter and Paul had a propensity for playing in a prodigious pile of corpulent porpoises.”

The sentence popped around the cold, metal room with the pinging reverberation of a coin. Somewhere behind him a man coughed, breaking the tinny half-silence with a new wave of echoes.

“Again!” barked the commissar.

He sighed slowly, steeling his mind to the task at hand and waiting for just the right moment to continue. Sensing silence, he let the words just flow, muscle memory trumping thought.

Sitting there on display like some caged animal, an unseen throng applauded their approval from above. The commissar’s thick-gloved hand signaled silence and a hush happened all at once.

The commissar strode confidently in front of him, the clink-clank of his steel-toed boots producing a staccato rhythm.

“I give you, dear friends,” he lingered for the effect it had – sucking even more air out of the sardine-can room – “the spy whose stem-cell-grown tongue can speak no truth.” He licked his lips. “No matter what he says.”

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