Escape From Venice (2nd Lt J.S. Foster's First Interview with Marira Bentsson)

First Interview.  3:22 AM.  August 14, 2025.

2nd Lieutenant J.S. Foster: [Ruffling sound as he sits in the chair.] Testing, testing. [On the recording, a “THUMP THUMP,” as he taps the microphone twice.]  Are you comfortable?

Marira Bentsson: Yes.

2nd Lt JSF: I see you have a soda, that’s good.

 MB: Umm-hmm.

2nd Lt JSF: Did the man outside get it for you?  [Pause] You, you like grape flavored?  I mean, I bet you didn’t have that on the island, did you?  Or anything fizzy?

MB: Well, a few months ago, someone found a can of Coke that wasn’t opened.  Some people thought that was pretty cool.

2nd Lt JSF: I bet you did.  Did you taste some of it?

MB: No, I hate that syrupy stuff.

2nd Lt JSF: Isn’t this grape stuff sweet… Never mind. [He coughs.  He reaches across the table and turning the straw in her soda back to face her.] So. Do you mind telling me how old you are?

MB: I thought all of you died.

2nd Lt JSF: All of who?

MB: All of you who didn’t let us leave.

2nd Lt JSF: Well, I never said I did not want you to leave.  That wasn’t my choice.  That was the decision of a lot of people.  It was very complicated.

MB: But didn’t you all die?  When the movie started?

2nd Lt JSF: When the… no.  Do you mean the people in the boats?

MB: Yes.  All of you.  In the boats.  And in boots.  You don’t have boots on.  What are those things on your feet?

2nd Lt JSF:  Look, it doesn’t matter what I have on my feet.  [Pause.] They’re called loafers.

MB:  Are they comfortable?

2nd Lt JSF: Uh, yeah, they are.

MB: You don’t tie them up?

2nd Lt JSF: No, they just sort of slide on.

MB: They are ugly.  I bet they don’t even stay on when you run.  But it doesn’t matter.  I bet you own those boots.

2nd Lt JSF: Which boots?

MB: The ones that the soldiers wear.

2nd Lt JSF: Yes, I do. I am a soldier too.  Does that bother you?

MB: So why weren’t you there with the soldiers?

2nd Lt JSF: Well, I was here, sort of monitoring the situation. I was talking to the soldiers who were coming to help get you and the others off the island.

MB: And then they died.

2nd Lt JSF: Yes.  And they died.

MB: When the sea rained.  All of them?

2nd Lt JSF:  Do you know how old you are?

MB: I’m about 19.

2nd Lt JSF: [He notices she is straining forward against the snug wrist and neck restraints to reach her straw with her mouth.  He pushes the can closer to her.] Sorry, I hope that is better.  You said “about”?

MB:  Yes.  About 19. 

2nd Lt JSF:  You don’t know how long you have been on the island?

MB:  No. 

2nd Lt JSF: How old were you when, when the island was closed off?

MB:  I was 7.

2nd Lt JSF: That was five years ago.  That means you are 12 years old.

MB: I don’t feel 12.

2nd Lt JSF:  What is 12 supposed to feel like?

MB: I guess like this.

2nd Lt JSF: [Pause, as he stands up and takes two steps to the right.]I want to ask you something, if you can remember a long time back.  Can you remember back what happened at first?

MB: Umm-hmm.

2nd Lt JSF: [He clears his throat, and sits back down.] When did you start skinning the dogs?

MB: When I was 7.

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