When I received the wonderful invitation to join the Rogues, I hesitated—only because I had a few things on my plate and worried about keeping a commitment to come up with something coherent to say. I was a bit distracted at the time, packing for a move to a new house, dealing with lenders and agents, acquiring documents associated with said move, and nursing my husband who’d just had knee replacement surgery. But surely things would be back to normal in early April, I thought. I could handle this.
Note to self: don’t respond to emails while drinking alcohol. (My kids know this. Ask them about asking for money when I am sipping my fave wine. I am such a lightweight drinker!)
Seriously, I was thrilled by the invitation. What a wonderful group of writers. I couldn’t wait to get started. Writing a blog piece was not going to be an issue. Finding clean clothes was, however. Did I mention that our washing machine quit right after my husband entered the hospital for his surgery? That darn Whirlpool couldn’t wait three weeks to break down. So, in that mad month of March, before we moved, I had to have a new washer and dryer delivered to the old house. And delivery took another week and a half. We had a few loads waiting when the new LG arrived. (Decided to switch brands based on reviews. Let’s hope that research paid off.)
Moving day started off with a massive downpour, but it was bright sun shining on us when the movers left, and I was feeling pretty good about the trip to Reno the next day for Left Coast Crime. Some of the regulars, including fellow Rogue, Chris Goff, would be at the poker table that night. The drive was smooth, I made it to the panel with 5 minutes to spare (my kingdom for another cup of coffee!), and that night, I made about fourteen dollars playing poker. (We have a 20 dollar buy-in, so this is really good! Usually I’m down about 3-4 bucks.) Of course, being that we had just moved, I had to scoot out early the next day, and so I headed downstairs to find that elusive coffee, and went to pull out my credit card, only to find out that my wallet was gone. Security and I were on a first name basis by the time I checked out. For the record, I actually found my wallet at (mumbles something unintelligible).
Hey, I was sleep-deprived from husband’s surgery and the big move. And it’s highly possible I was instrumental in stopping some nefarious activity. I’ll let you be the judge.
As a result of going to look for my wallet in my car, I made an interesting observation (besides that sleep-deprivation will turn me into an airhead and bad conversationalist). There was a hinky-looking, gang-banger-type in the stairwell/elevator bank, second level of the parking garage. He was standing in front of the control panel, charging his phone from the plug that was between both elevators. I reached for the button, politely saying excuse me. He unplugged his phone, moving to the side, keeping his back to me the whole time. Odd, but no big deal, I thought, reading the tattoos on the back of his neck. I headed to the car on the third level, returned, and he was still there, still carefully keeping his back to me, but doing it so casually, that I didn’t give it too much thought. Well, not until my friend and I left to drive home about a half-hour later. This time, he was on the third level. Still holding his phone, still keeping his back to us as we moved around him to get off the elevator bank, and doing so as though this were a familiar dance to him. Not sure what our Rogue Readers might have done, but I drove straight to the front of the hotel and reported him to security. When I mentioned my first encounter, security told me that a lot of people charge their phones there. (Really? Because it was snowing out, and I could think of a lot warmer places to stand than an exterior stairwell.) When I mentioned my second encounter, his brows went up a tad. When I mentioned my former profession as a cop for nearly three decades, he said, “We’ll go check it out.” And he immediately left to do so.
The writer in me is thinking: plot point! Way to kick off a novel! (And way to distract everyone from that whole lost wallet thing, right?) My question to the Rogue Readers is: what would you think if you’d seen this person? Would it have raised your suspicions? Would you have assumed his presence/actions were suspicious? And would you have reported it? Or is it that writer’s brain, turning everything into the plot of the next book?