"Are you in a rush to get somewhere?"
"I feel badly that national security is interfering with your social life."
I didn't have a good reply to that, so I said, "I'm a big fan of national security. I'm yours until six p.m."
"You can leave whenever you want."
She took her tea and rejoined our colleagues. So, I stood there with my coffee, and considered the offer to take a hike. In retrospect, I was like the guy standing in quicksand, watching it cover my shoes, curious to see how long it would take to reach my socks, knowing I could leave anytime soon. Unfortunately, the next time I glanced down, it was up to my knees.
© 1999 by Nelson DeMille.
Excerpted with the permission of Warner Books.
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