Once through the door, he found he was in a barren, brightly lit, windowless hallway and was steered into a room with a metal table, utilitarian metal chairs and a large mirror on the wall. He had seen enough police procedural shows on TV to know that this was an interrogation room. He balked at the doorway, but was urged forward expertly by the two men.
‘Wait a minute. What’s this about? I know an interrogation room when I see it. Do I need a lawyer or something?’
The men smiled and clucked and said, ‘Oh, nothing like that, sir. We just need to clear up a few questions. Please, have a seat and we’ll have you on your way. You don’t mind helping us, do you?’
‘Uh, I guess that depends. What do you want and why me? I’m just a businessman returning home from a trip. My wife is here to meet me and she’ll be upset if I don’t emerge with the rest of the passengers.’
‘Why, that’s wonderful, sir. Sure wish my wife would welcome me home like that. You’re a lucky man.’
The officers’ friendly, casual demeanor did make him less anxious, but he still felt uncomfortable without knowing what they wanted of him. Finally, the questions:
Referring to his passport, the INS officer started, ‘Mr. Millar, we have so many people coming and going across our borders that we have all we can do to keep up with it, I’m sure you can appreciate. Sometimes, there is confusion or, occasionally, deliberate obscuring of identities and, of course, identity theft whereby good innocent people like yourself get their names stolen by real crooks for real crimes. That’s why we have to be extra careful.’
Greg Millar was still awaiting the real questions. ‘I understand, but are you saying that someone has stolen my identity?’