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Break to Bind: Tape 4

Donlon, Cornelia

A gray Sony mini-cassette is tucked inside a smoky plastic case. A hand-written gum label is affixed to the case. Subject: Donlon, Cornelia NMN. Beneath the cassette case, a stack of bond paper, slightly brown with age. The top and bottom margins appear to have been trimmed, so that the pages are 8 ½ by something less than 11. The type is bold and distinct, IBM Selectric.

[Dr. Carol Lopez, female, hereafter ‘L’]… Please identify yourself for the record. [transcription note: L speaks with neutral American accent]

[Cornelia Donlon, female, hereafter ‘D’]… My name is Cornelia Donlon. I don’t have a middle name, and that’s the only name I’ve ever used. [transcription note: D speaks with mild unknown accent, but is a fluent English speaker]

L… And your date of birth?

D… March fifth, nineteen fifty-seven. In Lucerne.

L… You’re Swiss?

D… I’m American.

L… Okay. What I’m doing is just trying to take a second look at everyone’s background here, from someone with a little more distance than Dr. Sherman, for the foundation.

D… Right. For the foundation [emph]. Shoot, Carol.

L… When did you start to think you were different from others, Cornelia?

D… Early in school. The boys all told me they loved me, so I knew I was pretty. The bullies were all afraid of me, so I knew I was tough.

L… Why were the bullies afraid of you? Did your powers manifest at an early age?

D… They were afraid of me because I beat the hell out of them on a regular basis. The only powers I had manifest at an early age were my breasts, Carol. Very powerful. Just wait til yours really start to come in, you’ll be amazed at what you can do with them.

L… Yes, thank you. Do you have any special talents like the others here?

D… I’m death on wheels with a pair of Thompsons, but that’s about the only special talent there is around here. Are you selling the magic snake oil, too?

L… I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m just trying to find out what you’re doing here and what you think of it.

D… What I’m doing here is making obscenely good money doing what I do best.

L… And what is that?

D… Hunting. I’m a big game hunter, baby-doll, and your bosses have the biggest game out there.

L… What do you kill, Cornelia?

D… Like you don’t know. No, I'm no biologist, sweetie. All I know is what I see. Mutant animals out of your labs, juiced-up jackasses with high tech toys produced by your military industrial complex. Whatever you people throw our way, I gun down with seven and eleven. The others are just along for window-dressing.

L… Seven and eleven?

D… My Thompsons. Off the assembly line May seventh and May eleventh of 1928. Vintage pieces, but they still purr just fine.

L… These are machine guns?

D… Christ, darling, didn’t your daddy ever take you shooting?

L… No.

D… After we’re done here we’ll hit the range. It’s never too late to learn.

L… Thanks. Could you explain what you mean when you talk about mutant animals and the military industrial complex? I’m not sure I follow you.

D… Oh right, because you’re from the foundation, not the government, right?

L… That’s right. I’m not aware of any government or military ties to the foundation, Cornelia.

D… Of course not! No, I’m not stupid, honey. You and Sherman and all the geek-boys here can pretend it’s all about psychic powers and magic, but I know what the score is. I don’t know the whole story, if you’re doing it to test out new technology for the military, or if it’s all going to be leaked some day to distract the sheep’s attention from the economy or what, but nobody but the government has the resources for this, I know that much.

L… So you believe that the foundation is a government front of some kind, part of some kind of conspiracy?

D… Don’t worry. Just make sure to write down that I don’t mind. I don’t give a damn as long as I get my paycheck, and I’ll keep my mouth shut when I’m out with the normals, as long as I’m taken care of.

L… I’ll be sure to put that in.

D… You do that.

L… So how did you come to be here?

D… I met Jeff and Dr. Spooky in Beirut back in eighty-four. They said they were looking for a servant of bel-fa-gor [phon] out in Phalangist territory, but I think the government got wind of what I was doing and thought I was the right person for the job.

L… What were you doing?

D… Getting revenge. My husband was a marine in Beirut. He died in eighty-three.

L… I’m so sorry, I didn’t know.

D… Somebody had to do something. I tried to be nice though, and quit when the body counts were even for us and Hizballah. I'll admit, though, I got a little carried away and overshot my goal.

L… Okay. How do you explain the kinds of strange powers the others here exhibit, Cornelia? If you don’t believe in psychic powers and magic, how do you cope with being surrounded by a group of people who claim to practice such things?

D… How do you live in a society full of people who believe in religion? The only one of them that does anything that can’t be easily faked is Simon. And all the shit he throws around could be holographic projections, laser lights, or something else I haven’t heard of yet. He doesn’t ever do any of it when I get close to him, and they never even let me get closer than ten feet, so I can’t figure out where he hides the gadgets.

L… Simon says this is because you’ll interfere with his magic.

D… Of course he says that. He’s full of shit. I haven’t seen a single thing here that can’t be explained more easily as a secret government project than as some kind of supernatural hocus-pocus. The bad guys are all the same. From across the room, they’re like Mickey in fucking Fantasia. But when I get up close and personal with them, the light shows dry up and they eat lead like anybody else. Now you can jump on the Dr. Spooky bandwagon and say I’ve got an anti-magical aura created by powerful psychic energy channeled through my extreme skepticism of same, but you’ll just be spouting the company line. That’s fine and all, just make sure the checks keep coming.

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