As far as I know, this is the only remaining entry placed in both journals. It was written, according to the dates, on March 21, at six in the evening. The events described, as well as the nature of the field trip, place this entry at about the fourth grade year. Attempts to contact Ms. Kirkendall have proven fruitless, and since the attorney mentioned is never named explicitly, we may only guess at his identity. Notice the mild disparity between the factual account (Journal 1) and the account based wholly in truth (Journal 2).

March 21, 6 pm

Ms. Kirkendall is very pretty. I did not expect to have a pretty teacher, at least not yet.

March 21, 6 pm

I will be allowed to participate in the field trip, despite my lack of any permission slips. We have known for weeks about the 'Job Shadow' project, but I just kept forgetting, putting off, and dillydallying. The theory is that children will appreciate their parents more if they can be made to understand their jobs.1 If your father is a dentist, you spend the day prancing around his office, knocking over display counters covered in Highlights magazines and infuriating the people waiting to trade in their mysterious, sleep ruining pains for newer, more well-understood pains. If your mother is a highly sought after Martial arts expert known for her speed and cunning in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition, you spent an excused absence on a day-long visit to her training facility, watching her pound merchant seaman into the floormats and taking tickets at the door of the after workout parties, where she made a small fortune in the retail distribution of home-made herbal supplements designed to increase speed and cunning in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition.

My uncle, as a man of substantial but indeterminate means, was probably not the sort of job the school's representatives intended for us to shadow. Not much is to be gained from a day watching an elderly man write letters and answer phone calls concerning estate auctions, stays of execution, the inherent strengths of the keyhole stitch, crates of virgin olive oil (so pure that two men on the freighter which brought it were lost to reverie at the scent of it), concurrent sentences, missing books, secret panels, construction and contracting orders, and misplaced plans for a dinner party. The old man's phone was disconnected years ago, in each of the seven senses of the word. I think he understands this, and so did not make any real effort to summon me for the job shadow. His opinion of my education is pretty straightforward: "What you need to learn cannot be taught by example, boy." While I cannot remember showing him the permission papers, or even mentioning them in his presence, he found out and wished to participate, in his own way.

To this end, he sent an envoy to my school. Other kids were cackling like corn addled banty roosters as their parents spoke to one another about "teaching the little guy a thing or two" and "we'll see what she thinks about her old man now." I, on the other hand, stood by myself, expecting to be sent inside for vocabulary tests or math skilbilder sheets, or something. Most of my classmates had gone on to their respective "miniature tours of what scholars call the real world" when a large black car appeared at the edge of the parking lot. Several men in suits almost a black as the car stared at my teacher, Ms. Kierkendall, for a moment. Without further delay I was ushered into an ambassador class mercedes I had never seen before.1

In the back seat was a man that I had, however, seen before--my uncle's attorney. He smiled amiably and spoke to me in the tone of an adult trying to avoid condescension. "Your uncle thinks you might enjoy shadowing me for a day. What do you think of that?" He addressed me not as an equal, but as a likable subordinate, which I enjoyed immensely.

"I think I'd like that very much, and thank you for asking."

He laughed at my attempt at polite adult conversation. We spent the next half hour discussing the morning to come. Mr. Attorney 2 seemed genuinely pleased to have me along, and he become more animated as we neared our first appointment. He had been asked to tour a factory my uncle acquired via a police raid/masonic fundraiser. My uncle was interested in the overal condition of the premises, their potential for investment return, etc, but more than anything he was curious about the actual goods manufactured there. He owned a factory and had no idea what it made. Evidently this had never come up during the negotiations, which Mr. Attorney had not doubt overseen.


1 This process was designed to help us answer the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" A humdinger of a question that, unfortunately, begs a series of others.

2 Perhaps my teachers thought no ill could come of men in a beautiful car, or else the abduction took place to quickly for them to act. None of them raised an eyebrow, much less a finger, to prevent my being taken.

3 I did not know his name, and he did not choose to divulge it. I prefer to think that he believed I must have known it, and that to tell me again would waste our valuable time together.