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This is probably my favourite chunk so far. Things just clicked, and words zoomed away as I got my three characters together, and everything being energised bu the potentially prophetic words of crazy train people. This was a joy to write, and fun. Even the buggy new iTunes release making it very difficult to listen to cds while writing, which is a bit of a necessity couldn't bring me down.
Chapter Two - I've Never Quite Gotten the Hang of Thursdays. Or Fridays.
Chris and I returned to our room in complete silence the rest of the trip. The only communication between us consisting of nods and shrugs, with occasional jerks of our heads if someone needed to get a door for the other. We were spooked like never before by the crazy woman. For those few brief moments, there was a clarity in her eyes, that just was not there before. She seemed aware of what she was saying, and she looked right at us, at me. I found myself wondering if there might be something to her warnings, but the rest of her behaviour still made me doubt the veracity of her claims. It wasn't possible to really see the future, was it?
Several people looked at us as we walked along the undreground tunnel between the subway station and the East Herriot Tower. The looks were not unlike the ones most people were giving the crazy woman on the train. The look of shook had yet to escape our faces, and were were walking slowly and staring straight ahead, almost unblinking in our gaze. If someone had seen us on a movie screen somewhere, we may just have been mistaken for zombies.
We weren't quite given as wide a berth as the crazy train person, but people still looked at us warily. I'm sure the black trenchcoat didn't help any. Ever since a few kids got the bright idea to shoot up their school a decade ago, it was hard not to have people looking askance at anyone wearing one. Add an empty stare, and large bags, and you have the potential for very scared people.
It seemed that most folks were acclimated with the weirdness that UniCon brought into the city around this time of year, and even with the silliness of the bomb scare earlier in 2007 from some homemade LED signs of Aqua Teen Hunger Force characters, it seemed as if there wasn't going to be any trouble with Chris and I as we travelled back to the hotel. The bomb scare was more the exception than the rule.
I waited by the curved wall of the hole in the floor in the main Herriott lobby as Chris checked himself in and got his own keycards. The crowd was thickening around us already, and most people wouldn't even be here until Friday. It was still easy enough to move around, but this was already shaping up to be a huge convention.
With keycards in hand, we headed back around the missing disc of floor, and back to the elevators. The waiting areas were surprisingly empty, at least on the side we took, and in back where we waited ourselves. It wasn't unusual for such things to be seen, or not seen in this case, but far from normal as well. Most people most be crashing from their trip, or already amidst the crowd we passed through, and elsewhere.
Seeing we were alone, I broke our silence, as the hotel was anything but silent, even back here in our isolation. I cleared my throat, feeling dry and unsure of just what to say. "Well," I began, figuring that was as good a way as any, "That was certainly weird, wasn't it?"
"Oooh, what was weird?" The female voice behind me caught me off guard, and my spine went straight, as I jumped around to see who was there. So much for being alone.
The coal black hair and pale face of my newly made aquaintance Andrea was there, smiling, and still with the same cup of coffee in her hand. I noticed it wasn't Starbucks, or the kind that the Herriott stocked their rooms with. When my heart stopped trying to claw its way up my esophagus, I would have to remember to ask where she aquired real coffee here. I tried every year to find some place, but had had little luck thus far.
"Oops, did I scare ya? Payback's a bitch!" She said it with such a cheery voice, totally opposite what one might expect from such a sentiment, as she took pleasure in our moment of fright.
I glared, and could tell Chris had turned as well, eyeballing the small woman before us. "Yeah," I retorted. "You are!"
She took a sip of her coffee, and kept smiling that Cheshire cat like grin. "What can I say? When I saw you boys come in looking like you'd seen a ghost - which by the way? There's a pair of ghosts from Return of the King in the Hyatt right now, awesome costumes - I couldn't resist saying hi. In my own way of course. So, what's so weird? Huh? Huh? Tell me!"
I continued to make rays of hate burn from my eyes and into her very soul as I introduced my friends. "Chris, this is Andrea. She's our neighbour for the weekend. We met upstairs when I nearly knocked that coffee cup out of her hand and onto her shirt. A move which right now I am regretting."
She feigned being hurt, putting a hand over her heart and gasping in mock surprise. "Now, that would be such a waste of coffee. And for your information, this is an entirely different cup of coffee. Third one today. Since arriving. Not counting what I had on the flights here. Now, what's so weird! Tell me!" She jumped up and down, pouting. And managing to not spill a drop of coffee. I was impressed.
I looked at Chris, arching my eyebrows, and he replied with a nod. Even for people who rarely saw each other, we had developed a means of silent communication that was quite in depth.
"It'll probably sound silly now, but while we were riding the subway back from Logan, we encountered a crazy train person."
Her eyes lit up at the mention of it, and she interrupted, "Ooo, I love crazy train person. Was this one a 9/11 Conspiracy Nut, or was it the Gulf War mustard gas victim, or was it Wacky Wally with the giant invisible bats buzzing around? I love Wally. He's fun to point at and shout, 'Bat!' and watch him be spinning around trying to find it. Oh! You had a story."
"Have you thought about switching to decaf, Andrea," asked Chris.
Her eyes grew to the size of dinner plates, or possibly as large as a character's in a typical anime. "Speak not such words in my presence, blasphemer."
I could see Chris' face contort as he fought against his urges, but the fight was lost before it had truly begun. Loud laughter burst forth. He pointed between Andrea and myself, and his finger moved from one to the other and back again. "You two really ought to talk. That was Martin's exact reaction to that question when we first met."
Something not entirely unlike a giggle escaped her lips, which seemed wrong somehow. I'd only met her for a few minutes total, but I had already gotten the impression that Andrea was not much for giggling. I think the heavy black boots may have been my first clue. My second would have been that she wasn't taking anyone's crap.
I interrupted everyone's amusement, and reached past the two of them. I pushed one of the up buttons on the wall, since we had already missed one elevator while talking. I didn't even recall seeing it stop and leave. Likely it came when I was too focused on my pulse climbing through the roof.
A door behind me dinged and opened almost immediately, and the three of us, four if you counted Chris' bags, piled in and the door closed. The elevator was one on each side of the central square column inside the elevator alcove, and we were denied a view out into the air, as this was a completely enclosed environment.
I watched the numbers as the box climbed higher, and heard Andrea behind me, and sniffed at her coffee's scent filling up the small, enclosed space we were momentarily trapped in. "I am never going to hear the rest of this story, am I?"
"Nope!" I was more than eager to give her a hard time about it. My pleasure was short lived as she gave me a light punch to the back. "Ok, ok! Just give us a chance to offload the dead bodies."
"Oooh. Friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies!"
All three of us cracked up laughing, as Chris and I had used that phrase often enough ourselves, and we got quite the stares from the people outside the elevator when the doors opened up. As I hoisted one of the bags over my shoulder, I could hear Andrea behind me making muffled cries of help while we passed by the disturbed onlookers. They were older, and didn't have the look of convention goers about them. Poor souls.
We headed for our rooms in silence, and Chris got there first, so he pulled out his keycards, fumbling amidst everything he had to carry, but wanted to make sure they worked. The door buzzed and clicked open, and the three of us piled into the room.
Chris had all his stuff put on his bed, and he started organising it as I flopped in my occasional chair of sleeping near the window. Andrea grabbed the chair by the computer desk and spun it around to face the two of us as best she could with us each on opposite sides of the room.
"Is this your laptop, Marty?"
"First, don't call me that. I do not have a DeLorean. Second, yes it is." And she took that as her cue to place her coffee on top of the fiery stickered lid. "And third, it will do me no good to ask you to move that, will it?"
She shook her head and smiled innocently. "No, now speak, Stuart! I demand to know all about the crazy train person!"
So I put my feet up on the chair's matching orange stool, and relayed the missive of impending doom and gloom from miss crazypants. I even started getting into it, and as I neared the end of her rant, I hopped up onto my feet in front of Andrea, making her jump at my sudden action, and was even jutting my own finger in her face, like the woman had done to me. I could see the look in Andrea's eyes when I finished. It may not have been fear exactly, but she was certainly surprised, although I could see a hint of amusement as well.
"Yeah, ok," she started and finished off her coffee and tossed it across the room into a small tin trash can beside a table just inside the door near the closets, where the complimentary coffee pot was set up, and it bounced off the back side with a metallic and hollow ding, echoed when it also bounced off the opposite side inisde the can. "I can see how that would freak anyone out. But you two are such a bunch of girls for getting so freaked out about it."
"Hey, you had to be there, Andrea," Chris said, sitting on the dge of his bed, with his bags now piled between the bed and the wall and some stuff put away, or taken out.
"Oh, and you can call me Andy, or Drea. No need to be so formal. But c'mon! You two got freaked out by that? All the way back here? Why would you get so wigged by it?"
I looked back to Chris, who knew me well enough to know why I was so disturbed, and he gave a nod towards my backpack, still waiting to be unpacked atop my bed.
Hurrying over to it, I unzipped it and pulled out a smaller bag, just as black, and opened up the plastic snap fastener, and pulled out my digital camera I used these days.
"I'm the one who sees everything. Who has to know everything. The nutbar on the subway nailed it. I never put much stock in astrology and divining the future, but that was just eerily accurate. And this is my all-seeing eye." I held it up in front of her, and she admired the silvery body, which was missing it's primary lens for travel, and gave a little nod.
"Ok, I guess that is increasingly more weird. But like you said, not entirely impossible either. I wouldn't worry about it, probably just crazy rantings."