Gregson ran like he was being chased by a Grizzly Bear. He was 50 years old and 50 pounds over-weight, but he kept charging up the trail. His face was red and the sweat poured off his nose and out of his eyes, or maybe those were tears.
Marathon onlookers watched, and they were all thinking the same thing, he had to stop, but Gregson kept going. He had a new heart now and he intended to use it.
Running makes you feel young, until you realize you are old. The old motivations don’t work as well as they used to. During his younger days, Gregson would get behind some young tail and let his sex drive carry him over the finish line. Now he needed grander philosophies to survive the heat and pounding. His mind thought simple thoughts, like how good a hot dog would taste at the finish line or when he would wash it all down with ice-cold lemonade.
Mile 18 was coming up and the pacer group opened their mouths in awe as the man with style past.
Gregson embodied magic because he could not be explained. If doctors ever figured out how to transplant brains, nobody could handle his. The energy and mystery and complexity would terrify them.
Mile 22. Pain was an understatement. Mile 26. There was the finish line. Somehow, being able to finish at his age was a test. It was a test of how much he wanted to do it.
Some blacked out SUVs partitioned the crowd in Chessfield Park where the marathon ended and Gregson instantly knew they were there for him. Agents wearing black shades and suits opened the doors to usher Gregson inside.
“Have a Gatorade,” Murphy said.
“You work for the government now?” Gregson asked.
“Just some consulting work for the Federal BI. I recommended you to the agency, even though they questioned your abilities. I don’t think anyone can doubt you now, especially after today.”
Gregson smiled. “Let’s walk and talk. Whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it.”
Murphy laughed. “Same old Gregson, up for a challenge for the sake of a challenge. This one might be the greatest of your career.”