There would come a day at the end of every spring, just before the weather grew hot and the days long, when fathers who had sons whose voices had finally cracked over the winter would call the young men into their offices. First thing in the morning, before the children disappeared into the chauffeured cars for the drive to school, the mothers or the maids or an older brother, if there were one, would let the boy know.
The boy would stand, nervous, never before having been allowed into his father’s office except for punishment, never having seen his father sit behind the vast, polished desk looking so serious, with such bloodshot eyes. His father’s hand would rest atop a flecked, gray box, like the ones his mother received from the stationer’s every holiday season. The old man would nod for the boy to sit, and then he would silently push the box forward.
“Open it,” the old man would say.
The boy would lift the lid off the box and stare, puzzled, at the contents.
“Calendars?” he would say. Bound with green spirals of wire, they would sag awkwardly in a stack that would last for years. “What are these for?”
“Someday, son,” his father would sigh, staring past the boy into the hallway beyond the close, stuffy office. He would pull a sleek, silver pen from a pocket and hold it out. “Someday, you are going to need an alibi.”