The official part of the conference had wrapped up, and the unofficial part seemed ready to follow. Suitcases littered the hotel lobby, and among them flopped bodies of exhausted convention-goers. I don't know about the rest of them, but my body was subsiding comfortably into the floor, and my mind was close behind.
I'd arranged to split a taxi to the train station with a fellow convention-goer, and I looked forward to the peace of the quiet car. I feared only that I'd be roused from sleep in time to get off at Philadelphia and make it back to work Tuesday.
But the train was far more crowded than a train has the right to be on a Sunday afternoon, and we had to grab any seats we could find, quiet car or otherwise. We couldn't find two seats together, but I did get one next to a woman having a family crisis over her cell phone.
By Newark, Delaware, I'd had enough, and I jumped the train. The hour I spent in the cool of a fall afternoon waiting for the next train back to Baltimore and the remnants of Bouchercon was the only chance I'd had all week to read, relax and recharge. But would anyone still be around when I got back to the hotel?
I felt good about my chances when I called Sandra Ruttan on her cell phone, and she couldn't hear me over the noise of the hotel bar. Seventy minutes later, I was back in the lobby feeling as if I'd never left and ready for an evening that was to include two of my most memorable Bouchercon experiences.
(Coming soon: A curious case)© Peter Rozovsky 2008