The wait proved long. First, there were Xrays, and diagnoses, then prescriptions. We passed two whole days in Louisville. Maybe it was three or four, I don’t know, I was high when I boarded the plane.
The painkillers made me sleep like a stone. Between Louisville and Phoenix, I’d only opened my eyes twice. Just long enough to take a roundtrip from my seat to the head, and back again.
Arizona! I was damned surprised we weren’t Virginia-side. But then again Thornton was full of surprises.
I was never put off by the idea of consequences. I wasn’t nervous in the least as to how Jack would react. I did, however, have a certain overweening desire to cut off my phone and head back to Carolina.
I despised bureaucracy. And military bureaucracy was a tedium that even Satan himself couldn’t devise.
The table in the boardroom was marble. My card read: Hammond and Dupree. My dress was business casual – a fact that I resented.
None of us were recognizable. Our hair wasn’t regulation but damnably close. Without his golden afro, Hoyt looked like a gigantic accountant. He’d gotten his father’s thin English lips. The sardonic twist they’d taken since his seizure could be demonic or just evidence of book-keeping for RBS.
The ruse was good. Despite their burliness, the three men with Thornton could be representatives of IPG (Integrated Polymer Group). And Doc, Fabre, Hoyt and I could be lawyers drawing up a merger with Bisbee Industrial Fabrics. The rest could well be mistaken for assistants and junior partners.
I never understood why we couldn’t meet on base, or a ‘black site’ as they were called. But then again you don’t question paranoiacs.
The walls were actually windows. We were in a glass box. Very modern, very chique. Despite the blinds being drawn, I could occasionally see folk milling by to the mixer in the adjacent lobby.
I was distinctly aware of their unkempt hair and beards. Hipsterdom was the norm and I didn’t know why Thornton had to be such a rebel. We’d have blended better without the haircuts. But whatever old dogs, new tricks, that sort of thing.
It was a fact. He was very much stuck in the past. With his neat but full mustache, his crisp military bearing, and the slight hint of late middle age paunch; He was an authoritarian paradox, some odd hybrid meeting in the middle of ex-cop and high school principal.
My ribs hurt despite the Vicodin. I was groggy and annoyed.
“What the hell’s the point of all these shenanigans!” I exploded shaking my tie free of its clip to make clear the object of my ire.
“It’s the first hour of detention.” Came the vaguely nasal, mellow, midwestern reply.
1.1 (Intro) The Sketch of Sam Monroe
1.2 The Cajun Prayer