After reading I was wondering what exactly the ginger beer torture was. They mention a “nice big drink of ginger beer” and “not being able to look at another bottle without screaming.” My theory was that it was like the water torture where the Inquisition poured a lot of water down you with a funnel. It wouldn’t leave marks so it was quite popular. Since the ginger beer was very gassy this would be even more uncomfortable. Another theory (not mine) was that it was used as an enema. I had a Sybil flashback and would rather not think about that.
It is deliberately not explained so as to (I think) a) leave it to the reader’s imagination and/or b) eliminate the author’s need to think of what kind of torture would scare even a hardened (guy from the sinister guard-type place I can’t remember the name of)
That’s MO anyway.
I assumed that we were supposed to infer a ginger beer enema, without it being specified.
“I can make him talk. All I need is a three-foot length of string and a small piece of dried fruit.”
You people don’t get it. There is no ginger beer torture. You just go down the empty cells, open a bottle of ginger beer, and have a cop scream horribly. By the time you get to the cell of the interrogatee, he’s so nerve-wracked that he confesses instantly. No harm, no foul, no blood.
What?! Not one of you dares ak- ack- acknow- recognize my brillance!?! This thread must be bumped forthwith!
Well, IANAMTE (I Am Not A Medieval Torture Expert), but this sounds like a riff on a scene from a spy-type novel by John Forsythe or another of his breed of English authors. The book is about an ex-SAS type guy who gets infiltrated into a drug money laundering syndicate and eventually betrayed by higher-ups on his own side. There is a passing reference to the ginger-ale treatment, which is sort of and enema using said beverage, but applied to the sinuses. Don’t know if Pratchett would have been referring to this or not, but that is what immediately sprang to mind when I read it in Night Watch.
Vimes’s ginger beer trick is quite different from the real ginger beer trick, which is, as has been posted, an enema. For your further edification, or it you’re just a sadistic bastard that wants some kind of idea what a ginger enema would be like, re-read the bit where Vimes destroys the seige wagon (Big Mary?). Heh.