In this excerpt from Chapter 3, the main character in One Night in Tehran, Titus Ray, sounds as if he might be a bit vain about his looks. That’s only because he is.
The CIA tries to recruit people who are outstanding in every way, except for their physical characteristics. A person shouldn’t be too short or too tall–that would make them more noticeable, especially in an overseas environment, where they are already apt to be remembered because they are foreigners.
Neither should a recruit be too beautiful or too ugly, because that too would make them stand out in a crowd. The goal of a CIA recruiter is to find men and women who, while being trustworthy, intelligent and physically strong, look very ordinary and forgettable.
Titus Ray qualified because he had a face that “blended.”
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER THREE:
When I thought about who might be assigned to my debriefing team, I decided it was time to shave off my beard. I also decided, after studying my face in the bathroom mirror, that Terry Howard was wrong; I didn’t look that bad. Granted, I wasn’t George Clooney handsome, but who was?
Years ago, someone had told me I was a pretty good-looking guy. Since then, no one had told me otherwise.
My trainers at The Farm had described my face as one that “blended.” They considered that a good thing. Put me in a restaurant, a bus station, a mosque, and I blended right in. I didn’t draw attention.
Only, as it turned out in Tehran, one time I did.
After taking a quick shower, I put on the clothing supplied for me by Support Services—a pair of dark slacks and a blue oxford shirt. My debriefers would be in very formal business attire, but I knew if I looked halfway decent and appeared to be in my right mind, that’s all they expected of me. Unlike Bud Thorsen—who had a nervous breakdown after a two-year stint in Yemen and had arrived at his debriefing sessions in his pajamas—I did not want a transfer to a desk job.
At least, I didn’t think so.