Thy people A FABLE ALUN RICHARDS THE DENTIST'S CHAIR into which they threw me was a period piece, a foreign relic saved out of the lava with a stamp on it, SHEFFIELD, 1962. I had seen it spinning crazily, the brass disk flashing in the ex- haust flames of the soul-guns, my eyes-before they had frozen them- watering creamily, the pupils, I was sure, already beginning to dilate as they prepared me for the softening-up process. 'I am an old man,' I kept on saying, 'I can tell you nothing now.' Weak, frail, a yellow-card D anaemia case, my thumbs were already dislocated, now clicking into the microphones, the freakish sounds, the oiled mechanical snip-snap of the joints, causing the engine-men to burp with delight. The interrogators themselves stared fishily at me, uninvolved as they dissected. The youngest ginger man was the least experienced. The clanking my eyelids made against the sound-box disturbed him. For these eyelids moved scalily in that frosted treated condition like small metal purses over husbanded marbles-I'd been vain enough to keep my eyes. But I felt no pain in the old-fashioned Elizabethan sense. My thumbs, my eyes, the scalds the soul-guns had made on my body did not affect me. When they thought that will-less, I would go their way, they had foolishly rewarded me with the pain-immunizer. But this carelessness did not stump them. When they got inside my eyes-it was a matter of minutes of waiting-they were going to absorb my memory, to loot the store that I'd black-marketed, my cache, the booty I'd been hoard- ing to console myself during their millennium plant-life pogrom. 'Gwyddom sut ddyn yr oeddit The centuries-old language of Glyndwr and Hywel Dda drummed monotonously in the vacuum, the un- relieved consonants, the sibilant esses muted in the air space, my undamaged censor-translator screaming the meaning: 'We know what sort of a man you were!'