Marines stood guard next to a single tank guarded the south gate. Their rifles were at the ready. I slowed down as I neared and saw a man in khakis and an untucked oxford shirt yell something to them and they lowered their weapons. I idled up slower and the man in civilian clothes walked out to meet me.
“Paul, I was hoping you’d make it,” he said.
“I made it,” I said.
We walked past the tank and the Marines and through the airport gate.
“The rebels have given us until zero six hundred to be gone,” he said. “We’re just waiting on stragglers like you.”
He stopped and turned to me.
“I thought you’d bring Guillermo’s daughter.”
“I did. She didn’t make it.”
“Neither did Guillermo. Three days ago. Outside the ministry building. His daughter?”
“Ten minutes ago. By the east gate.”
“I don’t know yet. This whole thing was pear shaped from the moment we got here.”
“It was pear-shaped long before we got here, my friend.”
We walked to a civilian airplane. The steps were lowered and the pilot was already in his seat. The man reaching into a file, pulled out an envelope and slapped it into my chest. I took it.
“Your new documentation, per our agreement. You came through for us. We came through for you.”
I opened the envelope. It contained new identification papers, a passport, credit cards and several bundles of American dollars. I pulled out my passport and looked at my new name – Prescott Carmichael.