Imagine looking like John Doe No. 2, the elusive confederate of Timothy McVeigh, the suspect in the Oklahoma bombing.
By Saturday, the FBI had received more than 10,000 calls from people offering clues and had interviewed more than a dozen men resembling the sketch of the dark-haired, squarejawed, tattooed man the FBI calls John Doe No. 2.
And while agents have not yet found their man, the hunt has sent jolts - ranging from annoying inconvenience to harassment to the loss of a job - into the lives of men whose only bond is a resemblance, whether real or imagined, to the police sketch.
Still another apparently flawed sighting occurred Friday night in Santa Monica, Calif. If the hunt continues long enough, the look-alike sightings may well come to rival Elvis sightings in sheer numbers.
Perhaps the most traumatized of this brotherhood of the misidentified has been Ray Jimboy, 30, a fry cook from this dusty speck of a town 69 miles east of Oklahoma City that was the birthplace of the folk singer Woody Guthrie.
Jimboy suffered a double stigma. He not only resembled John Doe No. 2, but had also known McVeigh in the Army.
So, when the investigation rumbled into Okemah, it certainly seemed as if something promising awaited. A central focus of the manhunt has been members of McVeigh’s Army regiment in Fort Riley, Kan.
Among other things, the FBI has inspected photographs of men who served in that unit. Investigators were indeed interested when a unit picture of Jimboy bore a striking resemblance to the police sketch.
Thus it was that a week ago Friday, Jimboy was cooking food at the K Bar Truckstop in Okemah.
Around 9 in the evening, when orders were coming in steadily, he said, his boss tapped him on the shoulder and said she needed him to come to the office to fill out a tax form. When he got there, two dark-suited FBI agents were waiting.
The agents spent hours grilling him, checking him for tattoos (he has none) and snapping pictures.
The FBI determined that Jimboy was working the day that the Ryder truck that apparently bore the bomb was rented in Junction City, Kan.
When Jimboy reported to work at the K Bar the next day, he was greeted with the news that someone had been hired to replace him. Sondra Smock, the manager of the truck stop, said in an interview that Jimboy just had not worked out and she did not know anything about the FBI.