Daji told me to me to meet him at exactly 3:45pm on Tuesday at a large office building in a busy, business section of Mid-City.
As I rode up to the 36th floor, strangely alone in the elevator, I began practicing my “face.” I was taught that before you went on stage, or before the camera, you had to set both your face and your body to fit the role.
The face I was going to present to these people, whoever they were, was going to be one of deadly seriousness and determination, with a strong touch of self-righteous indignation, tinged with a streak of genuine anger, anger so real that it could possibly burst openly into acts of unspeakable violence.
As I walked off the elevator, that face lasted only for a brief second. As soon as I entered the room I saw two beefy uniformed policemen standing on either side of the door, and watched as they placed themselves in front of the elevator as soon as the doors closed.
And seated at the long, oval table that dominated the room were Agent Duggins and her FBI team.
And where, for heaven’s sakes, was my good friend Daji?
“You know Gladys, that there is something downright silly about this novel I’m trapped in and I am damn glad it’s ending.”
She was sitting in a seat identical to the one I sat in as I faced Assai as he sat behind the same thick, glass.
I had warned her, much as Assai had warned me, not to come and visit. “Or else your white ass is going to end up back in jolly old England.”
She laughed uncontrollably. Gladys is not often given to losing control of her body, only when she has one of her louder orgasms; but this time all of her manifested itself.
I failed, however, to see what was so funny.
“Jamison, please. I came over on the Mayflower. My great aunt was once the Queen of Oranges in Southern California.”
“And I suppose Eric’s ancestors carried your bags when you landed.”
Gladys giggled loudly again and looked at me with a warm, happy face, filled with love. “It’s so glad to see that nothing gets you down, you clever, handsome man. I am going to follow you to Africa, no matter where they send you.”.