Trippi’s partner speaks up: “Any reading material? Papers?” I don’t think so. Then Trippi decides to level with me: “I’ll tell you what, Marc. Someone in the shop that day saw you reading something, and thought it looked suspicious enough to call us about. So that’s why we’re here, just checking it out. Like I said, there’s no problem. We’d just like to get to the bottom of this. Now if we can’t, then you may have a problem. And you don’t want that.”
You don’t want that? Have I just been threatened by the FBI? Confusion and a light dusting of panic conspire to keep me speechless. Was I reading something that morning? Something that would constitute a problem?
The partner speaks up again: “Maybe a printout of some kind?”
Then it occurs to me: I was reading. It was an article my dad had printed off the Web. I remember carrying it into Caribou with me, reading it in line, and then while stirring cream into my coffee. I remember bringing it with me to the store, finishing it before we opened. I can’t remember what the article was about, but I’m sure it was some kind of left-wing editorial, the kind that never fails to incite me to anger and despair over the state of the country.
I tell them all this, but they want specifics: the title of the article, the author, some kind of synopsis, but I can’t help them — I read so much of this stuff.
“Do you still have the article?” Probably not, but I suggest we check behind the counter. When that doesn’t pan out, I have the bright idea to call my dad at work, see if he can remember. Of course, he can’t put together a coherent sentence after I tell him the FBI are at the store, questioning me.
Thank you very much, John Doe.
Hope Ms. Malkin is proud! Her little do-bees are saving America from