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Ted Hartrup regarded the man who now entered his padded white cell and blinked slowly, looking intently at him.
"I remember you." He said. "You were in that car with my lawyer and his hellcat wife."
"Correct. I'm a investigator belonging to a special crime unit revolving around negotiation and analysis of crimes. I've double majored in psychology and criminalistics. I'm here to do a simple assessment and I'd like you to answer all my questions to the best of your ability."
The Negotiator knew that he was being observed via closed circuit TV by his boss. He had to think carefully about what to say. He didn't want to ask questions that would make a normal person paranoid, nor did he want to upset Ted and get him to hit him. That would get him thrown out and Ted would be unharmed.
"Maybe you think I'm crazy?" Ted asked.
The Negiotator knew that Ted was pretty clever and knew the rules of argument. But...was he sane? THAT was the question. Did he have a grip on reality at all?
"Well what would you do if you woke up one day and found blood everywhere and your children missing? If you had a crazy malevolent ex-wife, what would you do? Would you worry about the safety of your kids?" Ted asked, walking in a circle, looking around, but still addressing the Negotiator.
"Well I would have called the cops."
"Well, think about it. If you arrived at a bloody apartment with no sign of forced entry, wouldn't you arrest the confused father? You'd be a sitting duck, my friend. A sitting duck."
"Do you know why you're even here, Ted?" The Negotiator asked.
"I'm here because it's God's will. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away." Ted said, looking up at the Heavens.
The Negotiator blinked. "Really? Ted you...you DO know where you are, don't you?"
"Of course I know where I am, you flea-biscuit!" Ted snapped. "What, do you think I would mistake this for my bathroom? I can take my clothes off in my bathroom!" He leaned in and whispered "Do you think I can take my clothes off HERE?!"
The Negotiator rubbed the back of his head. "Well, would it be APPROPRIATE to take your clothes off, Ted?"
"I know what you're up to. You want me to say something that will reveal a delusional state of mind. Then you'll stick me in a box and throw away the key." Ted spat on the ground. "What DIGUSTS me is that you do it under the guise of trying to help me! You're not concerned; I'm a monster that you wanna lock away forever. Well I've got news for you: I'M...NOT...CRAZY."
The Negotiator sighed. "Ted, do you even think that what you did was wrong?"
"Of course it was bad. Look, is it wrong to hit someone? Yes. But if somebody's carrying away your kids, is it wrong to hit them? No. If they're carrying them away from danger, then it's NOT right to hit them. But what if someone deliberately CREATED the danger to look like a hero? Or what if he created this OBVIOUS danger was to protect them from a more sinister danger! You see, it gets more complicated with every step."
Ted sat down in a chair and sighed. "It comes down to the intent. If a person is good, you can question their motives but their INTENT is not criminal. If their intent is evil than it doesn't matter HOW logical their actions might be, you can't trust them."
"Wait, Ted, are...are you saying you shouldn't be held accountable for what you did because your intent was good?"
"No." Ted said simply. "I know I should be held responsible for my actions. But if I remain pure at heart, than God shall make it clear what he wants when the time comes."
The Negotiator looked interested, and made a note of it on the notepad he'd brought. Ted however, wanted to know what was going on.
"Hello? Are you paying attention to me? What's your intention here? The silence is ringin' in my ears! WHAT IS YOUR INTENTION? Helloooo?" He demanded to know, waving his hand in the Negotiator's face.
"Ted, what do you do if you need an answer and the Lord is silent?" The Negotiator asked.
"I...am simple man up against forces of evil beyond my comprehension. When the Lord is silent, all I can do is pray that...that He will not abandon me again. I don't know what possessed me to strap TNT to my chest. It was...the horror of what I beheld and the absolute silence of God." Ted said, getting up and walking away slowly.
"I was lost...that window...it was my only salvation. I thought I would die, but then...the Lord spared me for another day, and he sent a Mattress truck beneath my path."
The Negotiator nodded. He'd seen it for his own eyes. He thanked Ted and opened the door. As he led Ted outside, Ted whistled at a sight to his right. "Hel-LO!"
Yale had his arm around Angie, and he looked crossly at the two of them. "Do you MIND?!"
"Alright, let's go." Jim said, leading Ted away.
Angie walked up to the Negotiator and raised an eyebrow. "So? Is he sane? Insane?" She asked.
The Negotiator handed her his notepad with all of his notes. "Mr. Hartrup might have a more devoted approach to God than most people I've met, but he is not pyschotic and is aware of reality. The horror of what he saw put him in a temporary dissociative state for which he should not be held criminally responsible." The Negotiator told her. Yale had already left.
Dr. Angela Raleigh nodded. "Right. The court date is tomorrow. I think we can both go home now..."