Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one here.

 Now, I’m not saying the roughing up by the enemy guards impressed me at all. I carried a black belt and fought in a full-contact kickboxing circuit in Arizona before the Army, and continued to kickbox throughout my career in Special Forces. All the brothers in my class were used to some pretty sound throttling and could certainly take it, but part of the “survival” aspect of SERE was self-preservation. That means personal health and welfare.

To dismiss an intended ass-whooping may convey a measure of arrogance and thus invite an even harsher effort to by the captors, so take the beating for what it’s worth and play the game. No attempting an Academy Award performance, just a few well-placed “ows” and “oophs.” Just play the game, Geo….

As I sat up from my floor dump, I noticed that the tiny dark window high on the back wall had become illuminated. There stood a man bathed in feeble yellow light, wearing round wire eyeglasses and a white lab coat. He appeared like Sir Anthony Hopkin’s portrayal of Hannibal Lector. A few more rope-a-dopes off of the plywood walls, followed by more gut slams and pile drivers to the floor, and I had finally learned my lesson. Reseated, I noted that Dr. Lector was gone. Had he just stopped by for the beating?

So the interrogation went: questions, re-questions, and questions about questions, all geared at trying to break us out of our circles of awareness and trick us into divulging details about each other. After each session, I was always returned to my box to put back in my earplugs and try my hand at the impossibility of falling asleep.

The routine continued:

“Do you wish water, criminal?”

“Yes, thank you, sir.”