Wednesday evening — 5:40 P.M.
“I’m sorry,” the Undersecretary to the Secretary of State said.
He flew out of his office and she gulped. He was twice as handsome as his photo. Tall and fit, his long legs took him across the waiting room in two steps.
“I know I’ve kept you waiting out here a long time. But I’ve been called to the White House.”
“Sir, if you don’t want to…”
“Talk about Michael Roper?” the Undersecretary said. “I know it looks that way, but nothing could be further from the truth. Would you mind walking with me?”
“Sure,” the freelance reporter said.
She had hoped to really nail this interview so that maybe, just maybe, Oprah would give her more work. The money from this assignment was rent and groceries for a month. She wasn’t going to give up easily.
He wanted to walk? She would walk.
Looking up at him, she was pretty sure she’d do anything he asked. She bit the inside of her lip to keep from giggling.
“Oh great,” the man said.
With the Undersecretary’s palpable relief, the reporter felt her confidence return. Smiling, she picked up her handbag, turned on her hand held digital recorder, and followed him out the door. The man glided down the hallway with purpose and speed. The reporter almost ran to keep up with him.
“I was the last one they rescued before they were all killed and Michael…”
“I’m sorry, sir,” the reporter asked. “Rescued? Who’s they? Killed?”
The Undersecretary came to a complete halt. Taking her elbow, he looked into her eyes.
“The Fey team,” he said. “I thought…”
“I’m sorry, sir. I was sent to ask you about Michael Roper,” the reporter said. “I…”
“About three years ago, I was held hostage.”
“What? Where? There’s nothing in your bio…”
The reporter searched her mind. Had she even read his official biography? She had at looked his Wikipedia page on the way here from her job at the grocery store. But his official biography…
“The ‘where’ isn’t a big deal. And I’m certain you’re right. There isn’t anything in my bio,” he said.
He continued striding down the hall.
“I wasn’t held long. I mean, I was held long enough to have… Never mind. The Fey team was a Special Ops group that retrieved hostages. They went around the world rescuing people. Americans mostly, but important people from other countries too.”
“Wow. Why doesn’t everyone know…”
“You can look them up,” he interrupted. “They have a Wikipedia page. Have you used Wikipedia?”
“Yes, sir,” the reporter said. “But what…”
“Great service, Wikipedia.” The Undersecretary flashed his identification at a station in the hallway. Pressing past her question, he continued, “So they rescue me one day, take two days of vacation, then wham, the entire team is killed. Except for one guy. And that’s because his wife was having a baby.”
The Undersecretary put his hand on the stairwell door. Looking down at the reporter’s three inch heels, he asked, “Stairs OK?”
“Sure,” the reporter said.
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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