I like to learn things about the place I’m in when I’m travelling. I like to learn a little about its history, its culture. I like to mix business with pleasure when I have to travel for work (but where I work, business IS pleasure, so that’s easy). And when I’m travelling for pleasure, I like to do a bit of work.
I wasn’t really expecting to be assigned a fairly substantial task when I was visiting TUO and R:tAG, though. They were understanding and even offered to help. It wasn’t rocket surgery; I had to go and talk to a fellow who’d been identified as a potential presenter for one of our Professional Development sessions. I felt terrible having to ask R:tAG and TUO to help me out with directions to the fellow’s place, but again, they were accommodating and actually drove me there.
He wasn’t home.
But when we returned to the car which we’d parked a few blocks away, I saw that a Message had been left for us. Mostly for me. Anyone else might have thought that the message left for me on the hood of their car was a joke, but it made me nervous. I made an excuse to jog back to the contact’s house, but instead of knocking again on the front door, I ran around back and hopped the fence. The fellow who lived next door knew what that message meant.
His name is Chris, and he’s an RCMP officer living in California in the winters whenever he can. I told him I was a bit nervous because of the message I’d just recieved, which he asked about. His expression grew tight-lipped when I told him.
“Leave me your hotel keys and I’ll give you a key to my house,” he said, “you don’t fuck around with this kind of stuff.”
R:tAG and TUO were waiting by the car, and I knew I had to tell them what was going on. I pointed at the symbol on their car.
“I know!” R:tAG exclaimed. “Isn’t it cool?”
I stared at him, trying to figure out what to say next.
“It’s not the decepticons who are bent on destruction, R:tAG,” I told him, trying to keep my voice level. “The autobots are going to try to kill me. I can’t explain more now; there isn’t time. We have to get to the coast.”
The great thing about great friends is that sometimes, they just kind of understand that you have to break off your visit early when something big is going down. And this was big. Since their car had been identified, I was able to trade them their car for the one I’d been given when I left for vacation. I didn’t want them involved.
It was a little odd how San Francisco and New Brunswick look exactly the same, but when I pulled over to telephone and check in with my progress, my friend Melistress was able to come and meet me for lunch. We decided to take the afternoon and go to the beach. At one point, she telephoned her husband, and handed me the phone so I could “meet” him. He and I talked for a few minutes, and I encouraged him to come out to the beach with us.
In New Brunswick-cum-San-Franscisco.
Within half an hour, Melistress informed me that her relationship was ending. For the first time that day, I was shocked. I asked what had happened. She said he had been unfaithful. I said that wasn’t possible. She pointed out a bunch of things that might, if you kind of squinted your eyes and stared directly at the sun for a few minutes before looking back at something, be construed as unfaithful.
I took her with me back to Chris’ house, to get a brief update on the case. The house had been tossed; Chris wasn’t anywhere to be found. I sent Melistress out to the arts centre, telling her I’d meet her in a few minutes. I didn’t want her involved in whatever the hell attack was going to come.
Instead of having to get involved in the threat of the autobots, I went back to the beach, where I found Melistress’ beau, beside himself. He spoke with a distinct East coast accent, which made sense as we were in San Francisco, New Brunswick. He told me what had been going on, that he wasn’t stepping out on Melistress, but that he felt lost, and didn’t know how to make her happy. He said he was afraid of losing her and so he’d backed off, trying to give her the space he thought she needed. He said he loves her with all his heart, but just can’t do the things other people do to show their feelings because he doesn’t think that those sorts of things matter. That he works hard to help her raise their family, and that he knows he can’t be everything to her, and that breaks his heart.
I was able to get to the arts centre without encountering the autobots. I’d invited TUO and R:tAG, but they hadn’t yet arrived. It was a dress rehearsal for Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, and the patrons were all lying on sleeping bags watching the ceiling. I’m still not sure if there was supposed to have been a laser light show playing on every ceiling surface in the sprawling arts centre or if maybe it was Free Shrooms Day at the symphony, but either way, that was weird.
Melistress and I took our seats in the theatre, and I ate chips through the entire first movment, having forgotten that that sort of thing is incredibly rude.
And that is when the massive battle between His Nibs and The Captain woke me. I hope the auotbots don’t destroy San Francisco.