“What about Halftrack and Roland? You went off with your truck. What became of them?”
“You have to ask? You know DB was in danger back when. And you know what Halftrack was up to with Shackley that even I didn’t know till he came out to Roland’s place. You remember he did mention that he brokered freight with the Frenchman between Rangoon and Luanda.
“When I left I hadn’t committed one way or another to Halftrack’s proposal but as they say ‘not to decide is to decide.’ Roland hadn’t signed on with Halftrack either. He said Sandy was tired of the no-water situation and pressured Halftrack to go back to the city. At that point he said, he stopped dumping water down the well and pumped it directly out of the truck.
“One day, a month or so later, when I returned from my trip, Roland was really disturbed. He had taken the six-inch long lightening arrestors out of the phone circuit on the theory that it kept the phone from being tapped. He said that even with the phone on the hook the law could listen in on sounds in the room and he wasn’t taking any chances. Over dinner I asked why all the sudden caution.
“He told me, ‘The FBI was here last week. And they were looking for you.’ I nearly dropped my fork. He said, ‘They went through your bus. I have no idea what they were looking for and they wouldn’t say.’ He said he didn’t think they took anything. When they asked where I was he told them I were a long-haul trucker and he had no idea where I was or when I’d be back. Sometimes I’d be gone weeks on end and he didn’t know the name of the company I worked for. So they left their card and went away. It said Special Agent Somebodyorother and a Seattle phone number on it. I didn’t call the number. They didn’t come back. Neither did Halftrack.”
Agnes sat impassive. Several seconds passed.
“Did you think the army and US government would just let you disappear?” she asked finally.
“I never really thought about it. Do you think I should have taken Halftrack’s offer?”
“No but I think you should have called the number on that card.”
Agnes and I had been sitting all evening and my bladder was complaining. I excused myself and started for the bathroom. I was none too steady on my feet, tripped on the doorstop and fumbled for the light switch.
“Oh dear,” mumbled Agnes. Then “It’s on the outside of the door.”
When I came back she said, “When I asked what you’d been up to the past 17 years, I had no idea what I was getting into. My life settled down into business and raising a child but yours it’s been chaotic, almost Shakespearian.”
“You mean tragic?”
“Well I didn’t want to say that but, yes I think there are tragic elements, at least from the way you tell it. Was it really that bad?” Then quickly she added, “But things seem to have turned around for you lately. Looks like you have some money now. And of course a job maybe with a career path. So things can’t be too bad. But how long can that corporate job hold your interest? You haven’t said anything about what you’re doing these days, at least not beyond the bare bones.”