between me and the Audi. I saw the Audi make another right.

I ran, my foot a hot, bright glow of pain. I made it to the corner. In the distance the Audi inched past a delivery truck, tires exhaling smoke for a moment in the tightness of its turn, and then it surged forward. I ran down the block, and when I reached the intersection the car was gone. The scarred driver had found an empty side street, one empty of panicked traffic.

With shaking hands, I tried to redial the number she’d called me from. There was no answer.

Lucy was gone. My office was gone. Everything was gone. Training bubbled to the surface in place of thought. My fingers dialed an emergency number in Langley. Words came to my mouth but I couldn’t remember what they were.

Help me. My mouth moved.

She’d gone, everyone had gone. In the heart of London, the smoke rising like a pyre’s cloud of a life ended, the sirens starting their mad kee-kaw blare, a thousand people rushing past me, I was completely alone.


Ihad been in the cold dank prison for over a week when a new man sat across from me in the cell. Fresh talent to try and break me. Fine. I was bored with the last guy.

“My name is Howell. I have a question to ask you, Mr. Capra. Are you a traitor or a fool?”

“Asked and answered,” I mumbled through the desert of my mouth.

“I need an explanation, Mr. Capra.” The new interrogator leaned back in the chair. He crossed his legs, but first he gave his perfectly creased pants the slightest yank. So they wouldn’t wrinkle. I hated that little yank; it was like a razor against my skin. It told me who had all the power in the room.

I had had no real sleep for three days. I reeked of sweat. If grief has a stench, that was what I smelled like. The new interrogator was fortyish, African American, with gray spiraling in his goatee and stylish steel-framed glasses. I told him what I told interrogator one and interrogator two. I told the truth.

“I am not a traitor. I don’t believe my wife is a traitor, either.”

Howell took off his glasses. He reminded me of one of my old history professors back at Harvard. A calm coolness surrounded him. “I think I believe you.”

Was this a trick? “No one else does.”

Howell rested the end of the glasses’ earpiece against his lip. He studied me for a long, uncomfortable silence. I liked the silences. No one called me names or accused me of treason. He opened a file and he started the old litany again, as if any of my answers might change. He would keep asking me the same questions to wear me down, to wait for my mistake.

“Your full name is Samuel Clemens Capra.”


He raised an eyebrow. “Samuel Clemens was Mark Twain.”

“He’s my dad’s favorite author, and my mother vetoed Huckleberry and Tom Sawyer as choices.” Normally that story would make me laugh, but nothing was normal anymore.

“I want to call my father before I answer your questions,” I said. I hadn’t asked for this in the past three days of questioning. What would I say to him? But now I wanted to hear the tobacco-flecked warmth of my dad’s voice. I wanted to find my wife. I wanted to be out of this awful, dark, stone room that had no windows. It was stupid to ask. But it felt like fighting back after the endless questions, making my own modest stand.

“I didn’t think you got along at all well with your parents.”

I said nothing. The Company knew everything about me, as they should.

“Your parents didn’t even know you and Lucy were expecting, did they?”

“No.” It seemed a shameful admission. Family strains should stay private.

“You haven’t spoken to your parents for three years, except for a brief phone call at Christmas. None of the calls lasted more than two minutes.”

“That’s correct.”

“Three years. Some have suggested that’s how long you’ve been working against us. You cut off your parents so they wouldn’t be suspicious of your activities, would not be involved in your treason.”

“You just said you believed I wasn’t a traitor.”

“I’m telling you what others in the Company are saying about you.” He leaned forward. “A classic sign of treason is emotional distance from extended family and friends.”

“I didn’t cut my family off. My parents stopped talking to me. It wasn’t my choice. And I wasn’t going to use my own child to get back in their good graces. Can I call my father? Will you let me do that?”

“No, Sam.” Howell tapped the earpiece against his bottom lip and considered my file, as though mining it for further pain. I wondered what else was inside those few sheets of paper. “Your wife called you and warned you to get out of the office before the bomb exploded.”

“She was being kidnapped. I saw her struck by a man.”

“And why would her kidnapper allow her to call you?”

“I don’t know. Maybe he wasn’t in the car then, maybe she had a phone.”

“But she didn’t say she was being kidnapped.”

“She was trying to save me. To get me out.”

“But not the rest of the office. She didn’t say, ‘Evacuate, Sam,’ did she?”

I closed my eyes; the stone of the cell floor chilled my bare feet. “No.” I was sure I was no longer in the United Kingdom. Back in London the Company-the term used for the CIA by me and my colleagues-and British intelligence had heard my story and questioned me for three days. I was given no advocate or lawyer. Then four thick-necked men came with a syringe, held me still, and I woke up on a plane. I was in a Company prison, I guessed, in eastern Europe, most likely Poland. These secret prisons were supposedly closed ages ago.

“She got you, and only you, to safety. You see, that’s our problem. You walked out alone and then the office was destroyed.”

“Maybe Lucy didn’t know about the bomb then. The scarred man must have told her to call, to get me out.” I had described the scarred man in detail, but no one had brought me photos to look at, a suspect to identify. That scared me more than their questions and their needles.

“Why spare you?” Howell asked.

“I don’t know.”

Then he surprised me. The next question should have been about the briefing on the man with no name that I’d been giving Brandon and the suits. That had been the pattern of the first two interrogators. “Tell me about the money.”


What money?”

He slid paper toward me. An account number at a bank in England where Lucy and I didn’t have an account. I studied the transaction history. It included transfers to a bank in Grand Cayman. A quarter-million dollars.

“This is not our money.”

“This Cayman account was used in a Company operation last year. Lucy was the operations tech; she was supposed to close the account when the job was over. She didn’t. Money was parked in this supposedly dead Company account and then moved into this UK account with both your names on it, and then moved out to a numbered account in Switzerland where it was transferred to private bonds. Now we don’t know where it is. This is why people are having a hard time believing you, Sam.”

“I have no idea about this money!” This was bad. Very bad. “I didn’t have access to or knowledge of these accounts.”

“Conventional wisdom says the spouse always knows when the other is a traitor, Sam. Always,” Howell said

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