The ride from the airport was, at least for the first 20 minutes or so, uneventful. The landscape was flat, covered with brownish gray scrub brush and patches of dirty snow. I could see mountains in the distance. I didn’t notice any immediate affect of the higher altitude, but my sinuses didn’t have much nice to say about the lack of humidity.
Lots of industrial complexes and hotels as we got closer to the city, Day’s Inns and Applebee’s territory. The driver exited the freeway (or do they call them ‘highways’ in Colorado?) into hinky looking industrial part of town, lots of chain link fences, graffiti’d brick walls, safety bars on windows and padlocked doors. The occasional bar, greasy spoon eatery (and one strip club) broke up the monotony of warehoused auto repair stores and parts manufacturers, but I didn’t see any people.
My mind immediately went to ‘this would be a great setting for a zombie movie!’ My mind often travels this path in its spare time, along with ‘if I were here when the zombie apocalypse hit, what building would be the most easily fortifiable and practical?’ Hey, I’m not the only one I know who thinks this way.
Before I could decide if I’d rather hole up in a bolts manufacturing company (totally surrounded by chain link) or Zeke’s Autoshop (solid sliding metal doors and next door to a Mexican restaurant that could be raided for supplies), a large car, Cadillac or Buick or some other big American gas guzzler (the old fashioned kind, before Humvees came into popular use – damn you, Ahnold!) pulled up next to the driver’s side of the shuttle. Both drivers saluted each other with a wave. Ours rolled down his window; the front passenger window of the Caddibuick was already open. Both cars reached a red light and a conversation commenced in a foreign language I didn’t recognize. Which means it wasn’t English, Spanish, French, Gaelic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Polish, Russian or Japanese. I don’t know all these languages, mind you, but I do hear them on a semi-regular basis here in San Francisco.
What I didn’t assume (using one of my barometers for logical thinking, which is ‘what would George Dubya NOT do’) is that the drivers were Islamic terrorists on a suicide bomb mission. Then, of course, my mind started concocting a South Parkian/Team America scenario in which it WAS a terrorist plot to destroy the Adams Mark Hotel and take out the mystery writers of America. Why? Didn’t matter. I was having fun picturing myself and the SinC members I’d met so far as Thunderbirds style puppets.
Meanwhile the stoplight changed to green and both cars moved forward about 20 miles an hour, conversation still going. I exchanged looks with my fellow passengers. This was kind of weird, not to mention potentially hazardous to our health if other cars came along and our driver didn’t start paying attention to the road.
They reached another stoplight and our driver picked up a white wrapped package next to him and tossed it into the passenger window of the Cadibuick. Eyebrows raised all around this time. “Some extra money on the side?” said the woman next to me just loud enough for us to hear. The driver was oblivious, still talking to his buddy as the light changed and they began rolling again. They reached a fork in the road and our driver went straight while his friend/business acquaintance drove off to the left.
I was dying to ask what it was all about, but didn’t quite dare as the super shuttle driver settled back into stony-faced silence. Chain link fences and graffiti gave way to a much more upscale downtown area and we reached the Adams Mark Hotel in short order. I got out along with the man in the backseat.
Heh. If he was another LCC attendee, I wondered which of us would use the incident in a book or story first.