Early in the morning, after Greg Logan’s film had been screened, Ty took a Net Jet flight from Nice to Washington. At Dulles Airport he quickly cleared both immigration and customs and collected the rental car he had prearranged, a deliberately inconspicuous Taurus. As instructed, he followed the access road to I-495, the Washington Beltway, and the heavily trafficked inner loop of that to I-270. Within an hour he was exiting onto Maryland Route 15, at the Victorian spa town of Thurmont. Past the town he ascended toward higher elevation. A blacktop running a ridgeline of the Catoctins led him at last to a campsite marked only by number and approached by an unremarkable road through high forest. Some way down this road, out of sight of ordinary traffic, stood the gate to an unspecified military installation.
The Naval Support Facility Thurmont, colloquially known as Camp David, was both larger and busier than Ty had imagined: an unexpected, landlocked outpost of the U.S. Navy incorporating a village of cabins for the use of the President and his guests as well as barracks and facilities for several hundred staff. He parked, as directed, in front of a low gray-clapboard building that held a theater and a bowling alley. The camp’s commander welcomed him there and promptly ferried them, via golf cart, along gravel paths that descended to his cabin. This bungalow sat on a slight hill rise a short distance from the President’s. Beyond a shallow vestibule its floor plan centered on a comfortable sitting room of the sort that might be found in any good American hotel. Directly off it, at right angles to each other, lay two more or less identical bedrooms, each with its own bath. A sailor placed Ty’s bag on a stand in the one directly opposite the front door.
The camp commander, a navy captain, said, “Dinner will be at seven o’clock in Laurel, which is at the other end of this road on the left and by far the largest of the lodges. You can’t miss it. Remember, out this door, left, and left again.”
“Sounds easy enough,” Ty replied.
“In the meantime have a nap or a walk or both. If there’s anything we can do for you, someone’s always at the other end of the telephone.”
“Thank you,” Ty said, then after the captain had departed, settled into a corner of the striped-chintz sofa. On the glass coffee table before him rested a bowl of fresh fruit. He picked up a small bunch of seeded red grapes. As he devoured these, he paged through the leather-bound guest book that rested on the same table. In neat type it listed all the previous occupants of Dogwood as well as the dates of their visits. Among the long record of officials and presidential friends were many names he recollected from the newscasts and newspapers of his childhood.A few minutes later, Ty had ambled only as far as the bungalow known as Holly, on the front porch of which a man sat on a rocker, a book open in his lap, his face raised to the breeze, when he heard a golf cart coming toward him from behind. He and the man on the porch nodded to one another, after which Ty kept walking until the golf cart pulled to a sharp stop beside him.
“Mr. Hunter?” inquired the young officer at its wheel.
“The President would like to see you, sir.”
Ty’s expression showed his surprise. “Now?” he asked.
“At Aspen Lodge, sir,” the officer said, gesturing toward the passenger seat.
Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from The Spy Who Jumped off the Screen by Thomas Caplan. Copyright © 2012 by Oscar Caplan and Sons, Inc.
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