I approached the airline ticket counter at least three times, holding aloft an object that looked like my cell phone only larger and encased in a heavy black canvas fabric.
The ticket agent was dressed in an ill-fitting uniform of sorts that looked like it was made from the same black canvas as my cell phone cover. She came out from behind the counter. “I wish to hell you would go ahead and buy your ticket.” She seemed exasperated, but there was an undertone of pleading.
“I have bought it. It’s on my phone . . . somewhere. I don’t know how to find it.” We stared at one another, then another passenger, a young man, walked up. “Take care of him,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”
I heard her say, “No. . .” — but I was gone.
I wasn’t driving the car nor was I a passenger. But I could see and experience everything. Maybe I was the car. There’s a weird thought.
The driver was a woman of an indeterminate age, maybe 45, plump, and somehow she seemed like an English woman from a different century. Ah, I know who she was. She was the head cook in Downton Abbey. You know, the one losing her sight.
She was driving quite fast in an ordinary sedan, and turned from the typical, simple streets of Pensacola into a different world. The street was more of a wide concrete boulevard. Her foot was heavy on the accelerator. Several large, three-story homes appeared on both sides of the road, capped by what could only be called a mansion at the end. It had a circular drive. Beyond it and on either side was water. The bay, I thought. All the buildings were made from the same dusty rose-gold brick. To one side, under a bright blue awning, a table was set for eight guests, one corner of the dazzling white tablecloth flapping in the wind. No people.
“Brakes!” I thought. “Brakes!”
She continued to bear down on the great house, but at the last moment executed a turn around the circle worthy of a Formula One racer and accelerated like a bat fleeing hell in the opposite direction. It was then I noticed several cars full of grim-looking men passing us, headed toward the jumping off place.
“Faster,” I wanted to urge her. “Faster.” I felt the danger; felt her impending death.
Back at the ticket counter, the same drab woman. “You again! Why haven’t you bought your ticket yet?”