I used to work for the F.B.I., in the Portland office. It was my childhood dream to be the one who gets the bad guy.
My fiftieth birthday was in just three months. I had a wife and three children, still do, and the same job I'd had since my graduation from Quantico. We were living just outside Portland. My oldest son, John jr., was in his third year at Washington. The twins were high school seniors at this time and my pride and joy, daddy's little girls. Carolyn and I had celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary, that's the silver one I think, the previous Thursday night.
That warm July morning, I dressed for work as I had every other. Black socks and slacks, a pin striped white dress shirt, and a black jacket. I slipped on my loafers but was lost in the search for my tie. Coffee stained and still unwashed, I found it laying on the laundry room floor.
I swore to myself to let Carolyn know about that. I walked into John's empty room, knowing he owned some ties. It was just as he had left it, I guess, because I'd never really gone in his room. I picked the red one he wore in his graduation pictures and slipped it over my head. I stepped into the bathroom, combed back my whitening hair, and left for the office.
The early morning sun shone in through the broken blinds that I noticed hadn't been replaced as I asked. I looked over the pile of paperwork awaiting me. "Why the hell do I gotta do all these damn reports?"
"Actually, you don't, not today." I turned to see a man much like myself, but older and with his piece on. He was a little taller, but with the...