Greetings, WYMOP readers!
It was Sunday, and I was heading out to Salem Con, a spooky extravaganza in lovely downtown Salem, Massachusetts, put on by the Massachusetts Ghost Hunters Paranormal Society. I was checking it out as a place to maybe get a table and sell books next year, but also because it’s right there in my hometown, and I was fairly clueless about it. I had no idea what it was like or how large it was; all I knew was it was all happening at the Hawthorne Hotel. That was terrific for two reasons: it was a ten-minute drive for me, and there was parking right there behind the hotel.
I was half right. Ten minutes after pulling out of the driveway I was indeed zooming around the parking lot behind the Hawthorne Hotel; what I was not doing was parking. Every spot was filled with vehicles bearing license plates from all over New England: New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont. Never saw one from New Hampshire, though. But still, maybe this thing was a little bigger deal than I thought?
I wound up parking about three blocks away, at the Church Street lot. I locked the Mini and hustled toward the hotel, giggling quietly at the out-of-towners gathered about the parking kiosk. Parking’s free on Sunday, suckers, I thought, satisfied in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to wait in line behind those five to get into the demonology Q&A I was on my way to attend.
I went into the Q&A intending to quietly laugh up my sleeve at the whole show, but it was actually a lot of fun and very informative. It was also a little scary—not the part about demons and spirits, but the audience of more than a hundred people. These were some diehard believers in the supernatural—and one animal communicator—and the thought was at the back of my mind the whole time that one of the presenters was about to go all stiff about the neck and shoulders, point to me dramatically, and boom, “It seems we have an unbeliever among us!” If that happened I was pretty sure the crowd would have knocked me down, taken me up, and carried me, kicking and screaming, to the roof, where they would burn me up in a big wicker man.
Luckily I flew under the radar on that one. For the record, I’m neither believer nor unbeliever; it depends on when you catch me. By the light of day, surrounded by people, the supernatural is something to laugh at and make fun of. When there’s an unexplained noise when I’m alone in the house at 3am though, you better believe ghosts are real, as real death, taxes, and Milk Duds, and I don’t joke about Milk Duds.
The event as a whole was better than I'd expected. Like I said, that Q&A was fun (except for the wicker man vibe), and the dealer rooms were fairly busy. I saw a couple of local vendors I knew, as well as a small publishing house I've spoken with before. It was that small publisher who broke the bubble of happiness that had grown about my head as I’d enjoyed the event.
“I just have to hustle back to Church Street and get my car,” I said. “You know, before the exit rush ruins the traffic.”
“Church Street?” She looked puzzled. “Why didn’t you just park in the garage down the block? It’s like twenty-five cents an hour.”
Partially because I didn’t know that. But I wasn’t going to let her know I didn’t know. “It’s about the same distance,” I said with a smile. “Besides, parking’s free on Sunday.”
“But this is Saturday,” she said.
“Um, what?” I said.
“It’s Saturday,” she repeated—and now she was smiling.
“It’s Sat—” she began again, but it was too late; I was gone, hustle-walking through the crowd (you know, that tight-assed, lotta-hip walk that covers ground faster than a jog, looks a little like a speed-walk, and just emanates a whole bunch of move along, move along, nothing to see here) muttering to myself, checking the calendar in my phone every sixth-through-eighth steps to verify that it was indeed Saturday, and I’d just spent three hours shilly-shallying around with ghost hunters and demon wranglers and giving the real horror all the time in the world to pounce:
The meter maid.
Did I find a ticket on my car? No. But it was raining, so I fully expect to receive my citation in the mail. If there’s one thing in this world that’s real—even realer than Milk Duds—it’s parking tickets.
Damn you, Saturday. Damn you to hell!
~ ~ * * ~ ~
Now, on a more serious note, I’m moving.
No, not moving house. If I were doing that you’d have heard me bitching about it long before now—with or without this blog. What I am going to do is a bit of a hop from one blog to another. I was going to do it this week, sort of surprise you all with it, but things didn’t quite work out the way I’d planned; that story in itself is something that belongs on WYMOP.
I’ll explain it all next week, in a much better way than I was going to (I was rushing myself a bit). I’ll tell you where I’ll be going, and why, and most of all I’ll be inviting you all to join me over there. In fact, I dearly hope you will.
But enough about that. I’m about to get maudlin, and if I do that now, what will I have for next week?
Ah! Something for you to look forward to.
Talk to you later!