in which i fail a vital saving throw
It was the end of the day, and my blood sugar was dangerously low. Colors and sounds were louder than they should have been. My feet and legs had been replaced by two dull, throbbing stumps that barely supported the weight of my body.
Most of the day, I'd been signing autographs for and talking with countless excited fans. Some of them shook my hand too hard and too long with a sweaty grip that trembled a little too much. Some of them stared at me uncomfortably. Some of them rambled incoherently. All of them were genuinely friendly, though.
I took it all in stride, because I've done this convention thing for -- my god -- two decades, and even though I don't think I'm anything worth getting excited about, I know that it happens sometimes, and I know how people occasionally react. I never laugh at them or make them feel lame. I never make jokes at their expense. I am understanding and grateful that they want to talk to me at all. I wouldn't want to talk to me if I was trapped with me in an elevator, and I certainly wouldn't be excited about the prospect if faced with the option. I am always grateful, and take nothing for granted.
A voice boomed over my head, blasting right through my eardrums and exploding inside my skull. The convention floor was closing, it announced, and it was time for all of us to get the fuck out.
Red-jacketed security guards emerged from shadows I hadn't noticed during the day. A handful at first, then a dozen, like zombies pouring through a breach in a barricade. They shambled forward relentlessly, single-mindedly driving a mass of exhibitors and straggling fans toward the doors.
I picked up my backpack, inexplicably heavier than it was before I emptied pounds of books from it earlier in the day, and heaved it onto my shoulders. My back screamed.
"You have to vacate the hall," a girl said to me. She couldn't have been older than eighteen, but clearly wasn't going to take any shit from anyone, especially someone in my weakened state.
"I'm on my way," I said. I turned to say goodbye to my boothmates, and saw the unmistakable visage of Jeph Jacques walk past behind them.
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