You are sitting at your desk attempting to read an important case file, but it’s no use, you can’t concentrate. Your meeting with Alexander is occupying your mind, so much so, it’s all you can think about.
You pick up your phone and swipe the screen, staining the glass with a protracted fingerprint. When you see the time, you realize he’s late. His appointment was scheduled for three.
Suddenly, there’s a knock on your door. “Come in.”
Your secretary walks in and announces that Mr. Young is here.
“Good,” you say, abandoning the case file in your hand to the pile of files on your desk. “Show him in.”
Your secretary walks out and Alexander Young walks in. A man in his mid-sixties, he’s wearing a tailor-made suit and the same college ring that you wear. You step out from behind your desk and shake his hand.
“Alexander, it’s good to see you. Please, take a seat.”
You return to the chair behind your desk. “I was surprised by your call,” you say. “It’s been what? Two, maybe three years since we spoke?”
“Three years, three months, twenty-seven days,” Alexander replies, smiling.
You frown, somewhat disturbed by the pin-point accuracy of his knowledge.
“As I said, we’ve been watching you. In fact, we’ve been watching you for some time.”
“I haven’t been an active member of the Knights since college. Why on earth would they be watching me?”
“We watch all of our people. You know that.”
“Yes, but why now?”
“Because you’re smart. Because you’re driven. And because opportunity is at hand. We know you have… aspirations. Aspirations that could get you to Washington.”
Alexander looks you in the eye with deadly seriousness. “That’s what you want, isn’t it?”
You frown, uncertain. “Maybe…”
“The Knights are offering you an opportunity, Michael. A once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Now you look him in the eye with the same deadly seriousness. “What’s the price for this opportunity?”
“We all know there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
Alexander smiles. “No, there isn’t.” He gets up from his chair. “The price is your absolute loyalty.”
“You want me to prove my loyalty?”
“We have to be certain you’ll represent our interests in Washington.”
You nod your head. “Of course.”
He heads for the door. “You have three days to make a decision. If you decline, the offer will be withdrawn and you will never hear from us again. However, if you accept, the price will be steep.”
With that he walks out, leaving you to contemplate one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.
At the Office, 3:12 p.m.