Introduction Part 1

The Safehouse, Washington, DC

Sunday morning, and I should have been enjoying some free time and breakfast at Founding Farmers on Pennsylvania Avenue or Farmers Fishers Bakers on K Street. I could almost taste the poached eggs on the freshly buttered multigrain toast waiting in anticipation of the almost ritualistic attack of the knife and fork before being devoured and followed by delicious hot breakfast tea. The eggs would have been accompanied by Applewood smoked bacon, pork sausage and hash browns or several slices of thick cut succulent ham depending on which restaurant I was eating.

However, one of those breakfasts was not going to be enjoyed today, it would be two slices of white bread with thick slices of hard butter which never melted no matter how hot the toast and fresh strong tea. Today was important and the director had arrived just after 5:00am, it really didn’t matter that much to me as I had slept enough over the last few months to last a lifetime.

It was now 8:00am and the debriefing had finished, the director packed away all the paperwork and prepared to leave. I remained seated, the director spoke softly and suggested that the following morning would be different in many ways and that I should be prepared for a few shocks after what I had been through. I was to remain calm and take it steady, one step at a time.

I was told that the debriefing had been very constructive and that I had successfully completed the first task, and under the circumstances had apparently made a very good first impression but should not let that go to my head. I still had a very long journey ahead there were still so many questions that demanded not only answers but solutions.

All the supplies had been replenished, there was also a selection of beer, wine and cigarettes or rolling tobacco should need them. The physio would attend every-day at 11:00am and report progress, it would be at least a few weeks before I could leave the confines of the apartment and really start to get back into real living again.

The door closed and I moved over to the kitchen area to make some strong breakfast tea, a habit I had picked up whilst on assignment in the UK and working with an AI research company in Cambridge. My fingers had improved considerably in the last few weeks and the therapy had worked well to both increase flexibility and reduce the pain thresholds. I made a pot of tea and poured a small amount into a light china mug and added a splash of skimmed milk, held it in my hand and sat down on one of the soft leather armchairs. I had opted for sitting in the armchairs rather than the sofas as it was so much easier to get up and was less stressful on the spine.

It was 10:00am which meant that I had an hour before the physio arrived and had some time to reflect on my predicament. I wanted to think clearly and start to record my thoughts, I needed to maintain a diary, but start again at the beginning of my time in the apartment and some of that time was blurred and I wanted to keep the memories alive.

This was not the old theatrical chestnut of losing memory as in many crime or drama novels, it was like collecting the pieces of a jigsaw and then putting them back together in the correct order to complete a picture.