Bishop John Quincy Watson, a man of God and grace, was yanked back into his ordeal of hate and horror by a pair of eyes.
They flashed at him from out of the crowd in a concourse at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport—DFW, as it was known by those who knew airports. He stopped with a jolt and turned around. He fixed his sights on the backs of people walking past.
None of the backs looked familiar.
He walked toward Gate 32A, where he was to board a flight to Washington's National Airport.
The bishop hadn't seen the face, only the eyes.
Whose were they?
Then he knew. It came to him cleanly, clearly, and absolutely. The eyes were those of a man he knew fifty years ago as "the Hyena." He knew it with a crushing certainty that was as unshakeable as John Quincy Watson's faith in the Almighty.
For reasons of exercise and pride, the bishop seldom used the motorized carts provided at airports for the old and lame, choosing instead to make his way slowly on his own with his ivory-headed cane. He was seventy-one years old and retired from his post as the Methodist bishop of San Antonio, Texas, but he did not see himself as an old man. Not yet. He was still active, traveling extensively around the world as a guest lecturer and preacher. He was on his way, in fact, to address an ecumenical prayer breakfast at a large Methodist church in one of Washington's Virginia suburbs.
Now he did raise a hand to hail one of the carts, which fortunately had no other passengers. He told the young man driving that he was in a terrific hurry to get to the opposite end of the concourse.
They beeped their way through the crowd of people and their various rolling suitcases. "Right here, son," said the bishop to the cart driver after several minutes. "Let me off right here, please."
There he was, the man with the eyes. It was him—his height and build, his bearing and presence. There he was handing his boarding pass to a female flight attendant at the gate. There was the man John Quincy Watson would never, ever forget.
Watson walked as fast as he could, but the man was down the boarding corridor and out of sight by the time the slow-moving bishop reached the flight attendant. He ignored the other passengers in line and went right up and asked, "Was that man's name Tashimoto?"
The flight attendant, a fortyish woman with short brown hair, looked at him as if he were a potential bomber or masher. But after a second or two of further inspection she must have concluded he was safe because she looked down at the stack of tickets on the stand in front of her. "Yes, that's what it says on the ticket —T-a-s-h-i-m-o-t-o," she said. "Now, if you'll move out of the way, sir, so we can resume boarding?"
Bishop Watson said, "Where is this plane going, please?"
"To San Diego," she said, pointing to an electric sign near the door that said just that.
"I'd like a ticket, please."
Pub date: 04/19/01
Price: $14.00/20.95 Canada
5-1/2 X 8-1/4
Carton Quantity: 40
Selling Territory: WORLD EXCL. UK & COMMONWEALTH
Pub history: Random House hc