Thursday, August 11, 2005

Chapter 16: May 26, 2031

Fiona and a couple of the other employees of DeVeaux catering were in quarantine. None of them were sick. But, a tourist from Arkansas at the U.S. Virgin Islands resort they’d spent their vacation at last weekend had died of flea borne hemerrogic fever. The authorities traced the FHF case to a dog that a U.S. serviceman had brought to the resort while he was on leave from his African posting. So, all hands were on deck for the Denver Car Art, Detailers and Enamellers Society convention while the company was short handed. This included Lily Matsunaka, who had planned on taking at least one day off this weekend.

The Denver Coliseum parking lot was full of cars, trucks and motorcycles covered with the flower patterns, fairy scenes, dragons, patriotic displays, every manner of crosses, Memorial Day weekend flags, and abstract patterns. Crowds with tattoos to match their vehicles waited at the front gate. Lily had no doubt, as she maneuvered her motorcycle to the staff entrance, that this was the DECADES convention.
On the way in, she saw the small ice sculpture she’d made yesterday of a Centennial Edition Model A Ford, which had been redesigned to be street legal in the 21st century. It was delivered from the shop freezer to the collector’s vehicles pavilion without any mishaps. A crowd of staffers gathered in to admire it.
Soon, Lily had donned her white apron over her biker’s leather. She was distributing unicycles with orange slice wheels, street car shaped buns and cocktails that looked like motor oil, in the motorcycle and street car area. She surveyed the booths before the show officially opened.

A graceful man emerged from a motorcycle repair shop’s booth that was pitching laser designs to display inside your wheels. He abandoned his booth to cross the hall and embrace a teenage girl who looked glad to see him. They kissed so long, Lily was starting to wonder if they were stuck, although their hands gripping each other tightly in strategic places belied that notion. Someone in another booth whistled at the sight.

A Nigerian man sat at a body shop booth advertising its ability to match secondary market colors. He was immersed in an Arabic language newspaper with a picture of a woman being stoned to death on the front page.

The woman at the Biker’s For Jesus booth was wearing an outfit that made it look like she’d been run over by a flower truck. She was selling religious decals and design sheets. She asked every passer by “Have you been saved?” even though fifteen minutes before the shoe opened this consisted mostly of staff working the show.
Lily herself was hoping she’d get a chance to make a sudden exit. Joe and Lily had completed their dive rescue training over the summer. Today was her first shift on call. She had her swimsuit on under her clothes. A newly fitted siren, used only in practice so far, was mounted on her motorcycle. The snorkel earring she was wearing for the first time today was ready to page her at any moment.

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