I am warm. I have on an Elizabethan stripped leather doublet. I can feel the warmth, when all about is chill. I am settling into the perception that I am the product of misuse. I have the sense that all I am is the result of neglect. Long ago, many might have done better by me. My present state is the fault of all those who failed in their basic duty. I might have been a contender, but because of outrageous betrayal -
- a finger from an unknown hand jabs my solar plexus. I feel it, but see no one. I hear, but see no one:
"It's you, bub."
Suddenly the warmth has gone out of the leather doublet.
We are around a huge oak table. We are agreeing in quiet voices in a dim light. Nodding. Yes, yes. Someone mutters the profile of the one we seek, as if it's well understood, like coordinating watches when everyone has the correct time.
"He will live for a long time near a large religious establishment. He will take no vacation."
We all nod, looking at maps on the table.