Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day Four

Day 4: 05 Aug 2010.

I took an early lunch today and made it downtown by 11:30, parked my truck, and walked down to the river. It was hot out, and the dark brown cargo pants I was wearing didn't help much. I checked my watch: 11:42 when I hit Front and Market. I planted myself on the corner, my back to the river, and scanned the crowd.

Being lunchtime, the area was swimming with people. Foot traffic was insane, but the guy I was looking for -- I assumed a man in all black -- would stand out pretty easily among it all. Most of the folks were dressed for the weather -- except me, of course.

I was looking for a man in black, but I didn't see one. I looked down to check my watch again -- it was just rolling over to noon. When I looked up, someone was standing in front of me.

It wasn't a man in black, though -- it was a young woman in a blue Atlantic Courier polo and khaki shorts.

"Travis Sykes?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Sign here, please," she said, handing me a clipboard.

I signed, and she handed me an envelope. Here's the envelope. I waited around for a while, but this creepy-ass envelope is all that showed up.

And, of course, here's what was in it. I popped it in my netbook as soon as I got home.

It was a 1GB card, but just had one folder on it. It was password-protected, but that was easy enough for me to get around. Inside the folder was one file -- a JPEG. It was named with a number code: IMG00083-20100805-0945. I knew the naming convention. That meant it was taken with a Blackberry Curve, today at 9:45 a.m. I took a few deep breaths before I opened the file.

Here it is.

I know you're wondering -- and yes, it could be my brother Jared. Possibly.

I've studied the picture for hours now. Jared had a beard, and less gray (the stubble on the chin). Of course, he'd be 30 now. That could account for some silver, I guess.

Jared was fuller in the face. Eyebrows are a match, though. Nose is, too. Really, though, this could be anyone. Sunglasses hide a lot of the face, hood and angle hide the rest. If he was grinning, I'd know.

I spent the entire evening analyzing the picture, the file data, everything. When I finally stopped, it was past midnight.

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