In Shining Armor
Specialist Dieter Leo Schwarz, as he calls himself, is sitting in a hardback chair, facing you. The black pants with large pockets he wears bring to mind the blank uniform of a mercenary, or at least a military unit that will deny it’s associated with any nation. His powerful arms are bare below the short sleeves of his black tee shirt, and he’s leaning to brace his forearms on his thighs and clasp his hands between his knees. It’s a supplicant’s position, but you get the feeling that what he wants, you can’t give him.
He begins, “Have you ever heard the story of the Frog Prince?”
His next breath is a deep one, in through his nose, and anger sparks in his gray eyes. The sinews in his neck stand out like he might leap to his feet and close the gap between you, and you wonder if you will survive this interview.
His weapons—guns and knives and a bladed thing you don’t recognize—are piled on a table by his side but within his reach.
He says, “First, there was an evil sorcerer. There’s always a powerful bad guy in these stories. And there was a prince. Maybe he was a handsome prince back then, before the world scarred and coarsened him.”
Dieter rubs the thick skin over his knuckles and one cord of scar tissue that runs up his arm to his black tee shirt. You wonder whether he’s killed people with those strong, scarred hands.