The Sinking World (Chapter Five)


Case 144B

Transcript for case 144B.

August 16, 1994. 6.43pm.

Police Sergeant, Masaru Tanaka (MT) interviewed by representative for Toko-Life Insurance (TL). Representative to remain anonymous for the purpose of this interview.

Interview conducted in recovery ward B16, Self-Defence Forces Shiranami Eastern Hospital.

Sgt Tanaka is compos mentis but may ask for interview to be cut short due to severe breathing difficulties.

TL: Mr Tanaka, let us start by expressing our relief at your speedy recovery following the events of February 28th. As you will already know from our previous correspondence, when a public servant makes a claim with Toko-Life, we have to conduct a short interview. It’s a mere formality in your case, Mr Tanaka, as no one would refute the severity of your injuries. However, company policy clearly states that the claimant must describe the reason for their grievances in full. If you wish us to return at a more convenient time this can be arranged, but please be aware that your settlement may…

(MT interrupts TL with raised hand).

MT: Ask your questions.

TL: Very well, Mr Tanaka. Please could you describe the events of February 28th in as much detail as possible? Pay particular attention to any actions resulting in your hospitalisation.

MT: Can’t you just read my original statement?

TL: Please, Mr Tanaka, we need to hear this from you in person.

MT: Have it your way. My wife and I live only fifteen kilometres from the —— estate so I was first to arrive on the scene. I found the homeowner, ——– —— lying unconscious in the forecourt.  He was in a mess, certainly in no condition to be moved, so I left him for the paramedics. When I entered the house… (coughs violently/ spits into cardboard tray) There were bodies… (coughing continues/ brief intervention from nurse) And the girl.

TL: The daughter of Mr ——. Do you still maintain she was your attacker? That she killed all of those men?

MT: Of course, I don’t have a brain injury (coughing bout returns/ nurse arranges breathing apparatus).

MT: Incidentally, why do you say men?

TL: I don’t follow. Are you certain you’re up to this, Mr Tanaka?

MT: You said she killed all of those men.

TL: Yes, there were twelve male victims in total. I’m surprised you weren’t made aware of this.

MT: And the women of the household?

TL: A few were discovered hiding in the walk-in freezer. The rest had fled across the riding paddocks to the stable blocks.

MT: Do you have the case report on you?

TL: Yes, but…

(MT turns to nurse and asks whether the ward has a photocopier).

MT: I want a copy of that report.
TL: This is highly irregular, Mr Tanaka. I can’t just hand over sensitive material. I could lose my job.

MT: And I could sue the NPA for withholding information. If being a party to that is really in Toko-Life’s best interests, then by all means, keep hold of your document.

(TL gives MT case report <legal bound/ 49 pages> MT hands nurse document/ insists on photocopy/ nurse complies. Nurse returns/ MT hands original back to TL before reading copy).

TL: Mr Tanaka, if you are well enough to continue please could we finish the interview? I have other clients to see this afternoon.

MT:(not looking up from document) You want to know why I’m in here? An eight-inch kitchen knife cracked three of my ribs before collapsing my left lung. I’d be in the basement morgue if my wife hadn’t packed my hard-vest that morning. While it seems implausible that a fourteen-year-old girl could do this to a grown man, my colleagues verified my account at the time.

TL: The same colleagues who now refute your account of events? Is it possible you were mistaken?

MT: (looks up from document) I know what I saw. Or maybe you think I should claim for a brain injury?

TL: Not at all, Mr Tanaka. I’m simply saying that if your account does not corroborate with that of your colleagues’, your settlement could run into difficulties.

MT: You mean it could be delayed. That’s not gonna happen. Listen, I understand why my colleagues did it. If they wanted any shot at a future promotion they had to distance themselves. I’m not bitter; I worked with some of those men for over a decade. In fact, I hope one of them lands my job.

TL: You don’t plan on returning to work?

MT: This settlement will make up for the money I’ll be losing through voluntary retirement. That’s why it can’t be delayed (skim reads through document and settles on a page). To ensure this, I’m going to amend my initial statement. I’d like it to be known that my attack was not carried out by the fourteen-year-old daughter of ——– ——, but by the terrorist cell who assassinated city governor, ——– ———.

TL: Mr Tanaka, you can’t simply read the material in the case report and pass it off as your own.

MT: What case report? (drops document into bedpan) How would I come by one of those?

TL: Well I guess we’re done here. You shouldn’t hear from us until arrangements for the settlement are finalised. Good afternoon, Mr Tanaka.

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