“Officer Karla, your room is ready.”

There is just us two. I read your mind using tools. It’s invasive: a skullcap grows thin filaments through your flesh, your cranium, your meninges.


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“You won’t feel this,” I say. This is true, the growth is painless, but you twitch during the calibration. You smell odd colours; cry laugh while your skin burns; remember future loves, the joy of past failures.

During questioning I see what you see, feel what you feel. My skill: I think your thoughts and can keep them separate from my own.

The patterns are always similar. You don’t believe that you’re racist but fear the loss of the status quo, want to protect it, are angry at us who are marginalised.

There is the judgement of those who have sex differently than you. The need to fix people who think and behave differently to you. The yearning to prove yourself over helping others. To prove yourself by helping others.

These are not the crimes I’m here to examine, but your thoughts define you, shape your behaviour, decide how you act upon the world.

It’s easier to look at your crimes than your casual disdain.

“Karla, how about coming over for supper?”

“Sorry, I’m busy.”

I am tarnished. I can feel it: your hate builds in me and I struggle not to hate you in turn. Knowing you, love and compassion has become difficult — I despair; I do not want to be near people; I lose hope.