Dinner, or supper as a lot of them say down here, was excellent. The food familiar but very good, and there was plenty of it; and plenty of wine. The guys were all in a good but guarded mood, with a few exceptions, and that mood lasted most of the night until I discussed the plan for the next few days. I guess it wasn’t that they just suddenly flipped into a bad mood but rather that they weren’t sure how to handle what I was saying. Now that I think of it, if we had had just a few women at the table it certainly would have helped improve the mood. I remember thinking, too, that the girls were probably the only ones who truly understood what was really happening.
I decided to go for a walk and headed to a small park that wasn’t far from where we had eaten. I left the guys in the room but knew they would be following when the wine ran out. I needed to do some serious meditating. The next few days were going to be hell and it was clear that there was no way to change that. The guys thought we were trapped but I tried to explain that there was no other way to pull this off. It had to be done. They all knew the drill, they had read, they knew the history, they were smart guys even though I had to continually explain things to them, to the point of putting concepts into stories to get them to understand. I can pick ‘em, that’s for sure.
The next person they were going to have to deal with would be coming at them hard. He was going to make it perfectly clear about what they had to do and where they had to go. He would certainly help them focus, and that was important, because when they listened to me they were trying to process all that had happened so far and what they imagined was going to happen in the days and weeks ahead; but I realized then that they had no clear idea what they were going to have to do.
Time passed. I was sitting on a bench, sweating and staring at my feet. I slowly looked up and saw that the guys had come up to join me, but I had no memory of how long they had been there, or for that matter how long I had been there. Next, I heard, we all heard, footsteps coming up from the south side of the park. We stood watching and waiting. I saw him first. When he saw me he just stared for moment and then began to walk toward me. I smiled. He didn’t, and that’s when I knew it was the beginning of the end for him and the end of the beginning for me and the rest of the boys.