Albuquerque or Bust
5 AM in a bus terminal is somewhat like waking up to find yourself smack dab in the middle of the Zombiepocalypse. Rick Grimes, I sympathize with your plight. A handful of fellow travelers wandered into the station, bleary-eyed and looking more zombie than human. Heaven help me, I’ve waited with bated breath to hear them speak. Pretty sure the security guard wouldn’t have been too happy if I used one of the line posts to knock someone’s skull inside out.
Plus, it definitely wouldn’t be the ideal way to start my day. Just sayin’.
I learned my lesson after my last ZSC trip when I went to Dallas Comic Con. Suspect everyone. Has that guy across the way been watching as I report in to Juliette? The woman two seats down seemed awfully interested in what I’m writing… I should put my notebook away before anyone passing by reads. My cover cannot be compromised on this trip!
Noon in Los Angeles. The bus terminal was as busy as I’ve ever seen it. Contrary to what most would think, this is a good thing. I used the crowd to move around unseen by anyone that could be tracking me. It also bought me fifteen minutes to grab lunch. Actually, the salad ended up being breakfast. The ritual of eating poorly or rather, forgetting to eat at all during a con weekend began early.
Around 6 PM my fellow passengers on the bus got really talkative. The guys behind me leaned over and asked that question I dread, “So, where are you heading to?” Me being me, I tell them the truth. Don’t ask me why when I know the UGA could be after me. They’ve been too quiet. I don’t trust quiet . . . . Anyway, I told those around me about the ZSC and what we do. They ended up asking me questions until we arrived in Phoenix where an Amazon—the ZSC’s very own Jinxie G—rescued me.
Jinxie and I went to pick up the rental car. Due to complications, most of Thursday morning and afternoon have been censored . . . .
With Plan B fully checked out, we hit the road four hours behind schedule and with more than a few reservations about the new plan. That was until Jinxie pulled her wallet out to pay for something; a fortune she’d collected at a previous con a few months ago dangled off the bottom:
We took it as a sign to take the risk. Our nerves settled with some laughs and a ton of snarky commentary about bad cell phone reception in the desert, “Can you hear me now? No. You can’t. Because you didn’t drive into the middle of the desert to test your signal!”
The drive was fun, uneventful. We got within two hours of Albuquerque and decided to make a pit stop in what was probably the coldest city in New Mexico! Grants. Eleven degrees, snow on the ground, and Jinxie is wearing flip-flops. Though she did have toe socks on. In the minute it took to run inside the store, we froze. Two people who live in hot climates Do Not Do temperatures under thirty.
Don’t fret; we arrived at Cody and Alfred’s house in Albuquerque before becoming human Popcicles. Juliette arrived earlier that evening. The chaos was already underway as we shivered our way officially into the convention weekend.
Monday-the trip back to AZ:
No one will believe me if I say this, but Jinxie and I were up and on the road by about 10 AM. Shocking, right? Yeah, we didn’t believe it either. Of course, our main motivation ended up being hunting down coffee. But, hey, I won’t argue an early start. And it was a good thing we left early…
The mountain pass that we’d driven through just fine on Thursday transformed into a winter wonderland while we were at the con. We’re not talking a light dusting of snow. Oh no, it’d dropped a good three inches of snow with more coming down as we drove.
Did I mention that we drove THROUGH a cloud, as well? Yeah . . . that was special.
Eventually we started heading back down the mountain. Just like that the snow disappeared. There’s no UGA plot to blame for the random snowstorm, though I’m pretty sure some of the idiots passing us while we carefully drove over the mountain were UGA agents. Or suicidal . . . .
The rest of the trip back became a sightseeing fest since the sun set before I could see anything cool on our way to Albuquerque. By sightseeing I mean Jinxie would point out across the desert and say, “There’s a abandoned mine that way that’s good for disposing bodies and stolen cars. If you look down it in, you can see the pile of cars.” My reaction? Make a note of the location in case I’m in Arizona during the Zombiepocalypse. A girl can never have too many places to get rid of reeking zombie remains.
Tuesday and back to CA:
Very early that morning (by early, I mean before noon, accompanied by death glares from Jinxie), we headed to the bus station. This is the same bus station where last May I observed news reports covering the CDC’s post about preparing for the zombie outbreak. It is also where I determined that bus stations are the worse place to be trapped in when zombies shamble from their graves.
I said my goodbyes to Jinxie and took a moment to regroup. Traveling with a co-commander I can trust is far different than a busload of strangers. One particular stranger kept telling everyone to call him by a different name. I kept my eye on him until I switched buses halfway home.
The remainder of the ride back home was mostly uneventful with only one near miss. I almost disposed of a man after he sat behind me for hours making the most disgusting noises, noises I’ve come to associate with those that have become infected and are in the process of turning into a zombie. The smell didn’t help matters. It wasn’t until he started talking (loudly, I might add) that I stopped thinking about doing my duty as a ZSC commander… and started wishing I could dispose of him simply for being gross and annoying. What? I never claimed to be NICE after a week of travel and convention stress!
I made it home safe, sound, and without blood on my clothes. Another successful Zombie Survival Crew mission.