xx. truth & shot

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"The first person that I killed was on a mission when I was eighteen."

Ace's fingers drum against the mahogany table, echoing into the deafening silence.

"Interrogate me; see if you can tell whether or not I'm lying."

The agent sits directly across from me at the grand table. My eyebrow raises at his challenge. Slowly, I gauge his physiological signs; his eyes were slightly dilated and gazing back into mine, his chest was slowly rising, and his arms folded across his chest. Ace gave nothing away.

I take a deep breath to steady myself. Guess I'm going into this blindly.

"How long had you been in the CIA?" I ask.

"It was my first year as a field agent, though I underwent years of training."

"Why did you kill him?"

"Her. And I was assigned to; she was a traitor—I didn't question my orders."

Ace's voice doesn't even waver. Now I understood why he was such a revered agent. There was absolutely nothing indiscrete about any of his pristine responses. Time had tediously worn down this traumatic memory into a casual story.

"How did you kill her?"

"Gunshot. .45 caliber M1911A1 nickel pistol with a suppressor. It was quite elegant, actually."


"Hang Seng Bank, Hong Kong."

"What did you do the night before?"

Ace cocks his head. "I got absolutely hammered."

I bite the inside of my cheek. Seriously, there was no way of telling if any of what Ace said was true. His body language had been open, his story consistent, and his physiological signals were stable.

"I... I guess you're telling the truth," I sigh, defeated.

Ace runs a hand through his hair. "It was a deviation of the truth, a lie. I killed him when I was sixteen."

"Christ, Blackwell. That's not healthy for any sixteen year old."

He brushes it off. "Made my name famous in the international community."

"So how could I have known if you were lying? You showed no outward signs."

"That's because I'm a goddamn great agent," Ace winks. "You looked for the right signs; I just controlled what I gave away."

My eyes by now were instinctively rolling back on their own. Narcissism and inflated self-worth didn't seem to be deeming qualities in a secret agent.

"There are a couple of things you need to look for when gauging for the truth," Ace continues. "First is eye contact. Any eye contact longer shorter than two seconds usually means nervousness. Any contact longer than four contacts is overcompensation or attraction."

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