(photo: Homecoming week dress up day...theme was "dress like a spy")
The mystery package wore a cloak of plain brown paper. It was addressed to me with no return address. I opened it and withdrew an older model cassette player. The tape was already in it.
I pushed the play button.
CLICK: " Good morning, Mr. FC. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is as follows...You will proceed to the graduation ceremony this Saturday ...."
Okay, that doesn't sound so bad, Katie is graduating after all...
"SHUT UP! DO NOT INTERRUPT THE TAPED MISSION MESSAGE! " The cassette player vibrated ominously, and then it continued," As, I was saying, you will proceed to the graduation ceremony and serve as the reader of graduate names... "
What?"CONTINUE TO INTERRUPT THE TAPED MESSAGE AND IT WON'T BE THE CASSETTE PLAYER THAT DISSOLVES IN A CLOUD OF SMOKE MISTER! ...To continue, you will stand at the podium and read the full name of each graduate as they are called to receive their diploma. You will pronounce each name clearly, including that of your daughter Katie, without any sobby lumps in your throat or those weird pauses men do when they are desperately trying not to get all emotional,smooshy, teary. There are other kids after your Katie and those parents deserve to actually hear their childrens names called."
The taped voice paused.
I can do this. I'll practice the list over and over until her name is just another name on the list and I can say it and move on. I have 4 days to smooth out any lumps...
There was a click and the taped voice resumed...
"As always, should you or any of your I. M. Force be caught or killed,or if you screw this up and turn into a pile of blubbery goo, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in 5 seconds"
I took a step back and pondered this new mission as the tape began to smoke, sizzle, and melt.
I've cuffed bad guys, caught alligators, wrangled sharks, been on a high speed chase, cut off my finger, changed diapers, ...
...I can do this.