They will show up at your door, and you will be expecting them. They will, of course, be on time. They will be wearing suits, black and flat, made of fine Italian silk. Their shirts are always white or cream, bright and starched, and their ties are serious and dark. They will stand in the doorway and smile and shake your hand, and make comments about how hot or cold or wet it has been of late. They will bring a present for your wife.
When you invite them in, they will stand awkwardly in your living room or den or foyer saying nothing until you ask them to sit. Then they will sit down on your couch and will accept the coffee that you offer them. They will make small talk with you, while your wife fills their cups, and then they will quickly drink it, no matter how hot it is, they will not let it cool, they will drink it down and then they will thank your wife and smile, baring straight white teeth.
They will have the records with them, printed on neatly folded paper in clean dark lines. You are free to have your own lawyers and accountants look at them if you wish, but no mistakes will be found. Others have paid more than you have ever owned looking for errors and have found none.
They will be patient with your questions, and will take whatever time is needed to satisfy you, but in the end, you will agree with them. You will hear yourself say, everything seems to be in order. You may think to ask if there is not a need for signatures and if you do, they will make a sound like laughter, high and tight in their noses. It is not a pleasant sound, but they will make it and they will say that no, there is no need for signatures today. That was taken care of years ago, are you quite sure that you don’t remember?
This is when you must be brave. The next knock at the door will be the knifeman. He will be dressed in black as well, but his clothes are made of coarser cloth. Under his arm he will carry a case, also black, and he will ask that you clear a place where he can unroll it. His knives are sharp and bright and there are so many of them. Do not worry about whether you will panic. You will not. You will stand still in your living room, your wife standing beside you, and you will ignore the scream that lodges in your throat, the voice of what can only be your soul as it tells you to fight, to turn and flee, to do anything but stand and watch this happen. You will ignore it. You will stand still while your wife stands and watches, while the knifeman makes the incisions, while he flays the skin and drains the blood. You will not feel a thing is all that he will say to you and when you hear it, you will wonder, perhaps the very last thought you will ever have, have I ever?