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part 5:  Meeting Mr. Im

In a way similar to Sam’s inexplicable (at least it was inexplicable to Sam) once again interest in reading, and the resulting knowledge that was taking him beyond his vocational responsibilities, he was also being drawn to the house where this whole story began. The house where Sam and Jac had delivered the “note” that said, “I once wanted them to like me. Now I want them to fear me.” The house and the note seemed joined at the hip; at least for Sam such was the case. Sam had not seen any similar inclinations in Jac.

As a result, growing in Sam’s mind, almost as if it had a life of its own, was a deep longing to return to the house. Why? Sam had no explanation, no more than he had an explanation as to why he liked fruit cake, but didn’t like chocolate mint ice cream. All he knew was that he needed to return to the house, in the daylight. It was an impulse, but not one that Sam had ever felt before. He hoped that the visit would accomplish something, but just what, he had no idea.

Due to Jac never showing any interest in the initial event, Sam didn’t invite him to go along. Rather, he told Sam that he had an errand to run for Sherry, and that he didn’t know how long he would be gone. Jac showed no concern about Sam’s reason for absenting himself from the office.

Sam’s excellent memory, which served him well in his line of work, didn’t fail him this time either. He drove straight to the house, even though it was forty miles away, through various residential areas. Getting out of the car, he carried himself with confidence (a trait that well served him in his line of work) from the car to the entry way of the house, and rang the door bell. Would anyone be there? He rang the bell again. As the door opened, the gentleman immediately said, simply, “Come in, Sam.”

The greeting stunned Sam. How could the man know Sam’s name? How could he act as if he expected Sam to come to the door, acting as if they had been together only an hour ago over a cup of coffee in Starbucks?

“Come in, Sam, I knew you were coming.” Sam’s astonishment became even more noticeable.

“I just took the apple pie out of the oven an hour ago. I know you like it with ice-cream, but not chocolate mint ice-cream, of course.   And a cup of coffee. With cream and no sugar, right? It’s alright if I join you, isn’t it?   Sorry that Jac couldn’t come with you, but I understand his reticence about these things.” Sam was dumbfounded.

As they sat with the pie, ice-cream, and coffee, the fellow began to ask questions about some of Sam’s projects, relationships with particular fellow employees, some specific glitches Sam was having with his computer, and his upcoming vacation plans. With each new thread in the conversation, Sam’s uncertainty and unease increased exponentially. “What is going on?” ran unchecked through Sam’s mind.

Suddenly, the fellow said, “Sam, although I know who you are and where you work, who your superiors are and what you think about them, and of course what they think about you, how much you earn, how long you have been at the job, and how competent you are in your assignments – I think you have no idea who I am. Correct?”

“When you came into this house several weeks ago with a note, you didn’t see my face, did you? In fact, I might not have even been there. You saw no movement on the bed, right? Appearances can be mistaken, eh?”

Sam was speechless; as he had been for a while. This house visit, this encounter with the fellow he thought had been in the bed when he left the note on the desk – none of this was expected. In fact, none of it fit into Sam’s working view of reality.

Sam wanted to ask questions. He didn’t know how to start. He didn’t know what questions would be appropriate. He didn’t know if he could even have follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. What Sam was feeling was very different than what he felt when getting out of his car and walking up to the door. At this point, Sam was afraid. He was feeling the fear of being in the presence of someone who knew so much about him. Sam couldn’t help but wonder how much more the man knew, but had not bothered to mention. But, Sam knew that not mentioning it didn’t mean the fellow did not know.

With what Sam thought was a very shaky and trembling voice, he asked the man, “Sir, can I ask some questions?” “Certainly, but be aware that my answers to some of your questions may leave you even more puzzled than you were before asking. But, fire away.”

“What is your name? Is this your house? Do you have any other place you also call home? Do you have family?”

With these questions, Sam had been shying away from other questions like, “Where do you work? How do you know so much about me? Who is your boss? Now that I know some things I never knew, what’s going to happen to me?”

Quietly and calmly, the fellow responded to the last question, the one Sam had been afraid to ask. “Ah”, he said very slowly. “Do I detect a some fear, some apprehension, some nervousness? We are making progress, aren’t we?”

The entire time Sam was there, from his arrival and his walk to the house’ entry, no cars had passed the house. Once in the house, he never heard any vehicle sounds, nor of course, any sound of helicopters over head as they sometimes did to check out the high power lines supported by their steel girder towers. Sam realized that no witnesses were present, unless . . . .

And, Sam’s fear jumped another notch.