Just back – okay, a week ago – from Bouchercon and it was fabulous.
Bouchercon, the largest mystery/crime convention in the world, is always a great time. It’s a chance to catch up with old friends, some of whom I only get to see once a year. But also, there are always new people to meet.
This year was no exception. I renewed my friendship with Neil Smith and Sean Doolittle, with Craig and Judy Johnson, Alison Gaylin and Karn Olson, the Jordons, with William Kent Krueger, with Jared Case and Dan ‘Tim’ Wagoner, with Sergeant Michael Black and Lt. Dave Case and Investigator Jim O. Born, with Keiren Shea, John Purcell, Sandy Loper-Herzog (who’s day gig is dealing with juveniles in the kind of job I simply could never do…my hat’s off to her in a huge way). I’m sure I’m forgetting someone and they’ll beat my ass next year but when you get old, the memory is the first thing…okay, second thing…to go.
But this convention, more than any other I’d been to, was to make a decision; to hit the re-set button or not. I took a lot of time and listened to some very wise counsel. These people, who were all supportive and who wanted to see a broader horizon, all confirmed what my gut had been saying for a few months. I could not have slept as well as night without them so to all of them, thanks.
Okay, now the fun stuff. This weekend was also about security guards. I’m not sure why it happened that way, but sometimes the planets line up and there ain’t dick you can do about it.
Friday afternoon, Jim Born and I decided to make a run to the Indianapolis Speedway. Jim’s more into races than I am, but hey, American Institution and all that, right? So we head out and we are just about the biggest cop geeks on the planet. All the way there, it was sort of like the scene in Lethal Weapon with Gibson and Rene Russo (ooooo she’s so purty) compare scars.
Jim: I had a case once where….
Trey: Yeah? That’s nothing, I once had….
Jim: Minor league, pal. Listen to this….
Trey: Hah, my dead grandmother could’a done better, but I once had….
So we get to the track and there’s a giant sign that says “NO PUBLIC ADMITTANCE” or the like. So naturally Jim and I take a step past that sign to get a better picture. The security guard absolutely jumps, all frothy and frenzied, from his patrol vehicle (read: personal truck used on the job) and comes to us.
“We’re just wondering if we could get a good picture?”
“Yeah, but – ”
But we manage to convince him to take a picture of us. While we doing that, Jim leans over and says, “How come I hear the ‘Deliverance’ music?”
See, the guy only had one tooth.
He might have been a great guy, but he had a vibe, baby, and I wasn’t completely sure we weren’t going to disappear, get turned into Soylent Green (I know, mixing my movies up, what can I say) and get served as crackers at the convention dinner.
Ultimately, somehow – I’m sure due to our incredible wits and survival skills and physical prowess – we managed to survive. We got back to the hotel, Jim promised me copies of the pictures (which he still hasn’t provided) and we promptly drank.
Next day, I’m out doing some photography. I find a factory, the kind of fetching, grimy, dirt-covered, ‘built America’ kind of factory that I’d never seen where I grew up. I snapped some pix, lined up a few ‘arty’ shots, and then discovered what would make a beautiful commentary on the state of American manufacturing today. But the shot was fucked by a slow-moving train.
No problem, I’ll wait. I’ve got some time. So I waited and waited and at least a good thirty minutes later was still waiting. Long and slow, this train.
Now, while I’m waiting, I pace back and forth on the sidewalk.
And I talk to myself.
I told you, I had some decisions to make and in that time and place was the perfect opportunity to debate myself about what I was contemplating.
But the convention center right behind me was none too comfortable with a man talking to himself, pacing the same twenty feet, and carrying a camera.
A security guard comes out, stands defensively on the other side of the chain link fence, and says, “Wha’choo doing?”
I held up the camera, figuring that was answer enough.
He stared at me and my coat. I was wearing a winter coat that said ‘Sheriff’s Office.’ Not my duty coat, but a cool jacket the sheriff gave everyone a few years ago for Christmas. After a few truly uncomfortable seconds, he frowns.
“You da poh-poh?”
A few more REALLY uncomfortable seconds pass. Then he shrugs.
“A’ight. I don’t care.”
No funny upshot to that story. It was just odd.
I thought about going for the trifecta later with a security guard who was watching over the Catholic flock at some sort of one day Catholic fest in the same hotel. I thought it might be cool to get molested by one of God’s own security guards but ultimately I thought better of it.
It would have been bad indeed if I had had to call the Sheriff’s Office for bail money.