Monday, October 31, 2016

The Kitbashed X: X Marks the Stack

[Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012 - 2013; Imaged sourced from AGO]

That's Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens) up thereWhen I saw it back in 2013 at the Art Gallery of Ontario, it was covered by a clear plastic box and tucked away in a rather dark corner of the gallery.
[My photo of Artist Colony (Gardens) I shot at the Art Gallery of Ontario's 2013 exhibit]

That second photo I shot at the AGO. The protective plastic enclosure made it difficult to look at and photograph. This being the situation, I was only able to take a few pictures of scene details, but not that many, and they weren't the quality I was looking for ....
... they were mostly overall shots, like this close-up of the car-stack ....
... along with this one of the passenger platform ....
... and this long shot of the harbour .... so, I scanned some images from the brochure the AGO handed out at the exhibit in order to see some more close-in views.
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Gardens), 2012-2013; Imaged sourced from Art Gallery of Ontario's Kim Adams Feb 20 - Aug 11 2013 exhibit brochure.]
Well, I did snap this detail photo of the top of the stack. It caught me off guard, as I had that little pink shirted Prieser architect placed in a similar manner in the top unit of the Ocean View Hotel.

I did some Internet searching and found that dioramas featuring stacked items such as freight cars and shipping containers have been a recurring theme in some of Kim Adams' work.
[Kim Adams' Sleepover (Artist Colony), 2012; Image sourced from Canada Council for the Arts.]
[Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Phase 2): Project Port Credit, 2009; Image sourced from Blackwood Gallery.]
[Kim Adams' Artist Colony (Phase 2): Project Port Credit, 2009; Image sourced from Blackwood Gallery.]
[Kim Adams' Condo Box, 2003; Image sourced from Wynick/Tuck Gallery.]
[Kim Adams' Summer Studio, 1996; Imaged sourced from CCA Canadian Art Database.]
[Kim Adams' Skyscratch, 1995; Image sourced from CCA Canadian Art Database]
[Kim Adams' Model dedicated to Robert Smithson and Gordon Matta-Clark, 1995; Image sourced from CCA Canadian Art Database.]
[Kim Adams' Artist Colony, 1987-1989; Image sourced from Bureau de Change.]
[Detail from Kim Adams' Artist Colony, 1987-1989; Image sourced from akimbo]

This likely isn't an exhaustive list of Kim Adams' work based on stacking scale models, but I think it's a representative selection. 

Stacking shipping containers, among other things, isn't that unusual theses days. Just type shipping container architecture into Google and you'll get thousands of images returned. There's even a wikipedia entry.

Of all the images that are out there in Internet land, this one struck me as rather Adams-like.
[Freitag store in Zurich. Image sourced from inhabit.]

This is Freitag's store in Zurich. inhabit noted in 2011 that it was the world's tallest shipping container building at 26 metres - it might still be.
[A stack structure in Simon Stalenhag's vision of a future America. Image sourced from Simon Stalenhag Art Gallery]

The above painting by Simon Stalenhag won't be found in the shipping container architecture search results, but his powerful futuristic paintings of ubiquitous and monumental, but at the same time weathered and familiar, technological structures are powerful and incredibly believable. They seem so familiar I expect to see one somewhere in the landscape on my next trip to the grocery store.
[Hobo Camp. "Hobos have found a shelter in these used containers, temporarily giving up their train travels." A sight along the N-scale Free Haven Harbor Terminal layout. Image sourced from FHHT.]

Vince sent me a link to the excellent N-scale Free Haven Harbor Terminal layout. It was a layout that was built and operated by the French Association of N Scale Friends between 1994 and 2011. Among the many fascinating scenes is the one above of a hobo camp staked out amongst some abandoned shipping containers.

To me, Adams' works stand out from all these worldly examples in two particular areas. First, there's colour. They don't shy away from an expansive use of colour. Bright, primary and non-weathered colour.

Second, as I mentioned, the others are situated in our world, or seemingly logical extensions of our world, but Adams' are part of a world unto themselves. A new, dynamic world where they are the norm and not odd interlopers. And they enable or enhance new ways of life amongst their inhabitants, not just facilitate the status quo. 

To a certain degree they remind me of are those self contained, totally designed worlds housed in the giant space station concepts of the 1970s. O'Neal colonies, Stanford Tori, Bernal Spheres, that sort of thing.


Take a look at the residences in the model that appear around the 2:15 mark. Here's a screen rip.
[A screenshot from the NASA video around the 2:15 mark.]

Stacked boxes is the norm. And over on the left, that looks like some sort of vehicle riding on a track or guide rail. A space station streetcar? Who knows, but it looks like it's gliding down some residential street.
Lots of sedate colours. Palm trees, but no hippos :-) An Adams inspired space colony would be a thing to behold.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Downtown Elizabethton

Looking across E. L. Moore's photos of Elizabethton on the Elizabeth Valley RR the two constants seem to be the depot and the Red Eye Saloon. Both are shown in the above along with a little building tucked away in a corner near the bridge.
A cropped version of the above photo appeared in Civic center for Boomtown, published in the March '63 issue of Model Railroader and described the Red Eye Saloon's construction. If you only are concerned with the construction of the sandwiches served there, you better go here instead :-) I think Adam's General Store shown above is the little building on the layout near the bridge.
Scrawled on the back of this compromising scene on saloon's upper floor is: Do not use. It wasn't, but now it is.

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 20: Which way to go?

The reunion brought chaos to Leslie, Ed and Mary. With nowhere left to go, we conclude....

One might think that an intensely bright shaft of light waving around in the night sky, followed by gun fire, followed by an explosion, followed by a fireball might attract attention. One would be wrong. Nobody came by to see what was up. I can only surmise that there have been many bush parties out here that made our little event seem merely like a children’s birthday party gone slightly astray.

Leslie and I discussed what to do next as we stood over the toeless fusor guy. Argued actually. One look told me he was one of the guys who drugged me in Ottawa. I can only assume his partner, who was now spread thinly around the forest providing food for crows, was the other. In the end our cooler sides emerged and we decided to call Scientific Investigations’ emergency hotline. I wasn’t with them anymore, but I still had their number, and this was their baby.

They said they’d send out a medi-evac helicopter along with an investigator to pickup the toeless one in the woods and secure the scene. More investigators would arrive a little later by train. There was going to be hell to pay when they got here and I was already overdrawn.

After calling the cavalry, Leslie and I went back to toeless guy, stopped the bleeding at his knee, made him comfortable with blankets and pillows from our supplies, even emptied out a cooler to put what was left of his toes on ice, although the fusor beam had probably cauterized them to uselessness along with his now stump of a foot. We left him there for the medical guys to deal with. If he was stupid enough to try and slither away, that was his problem.

We went back to the shed to wait inside for the helicopter. Frank and Mary sat by the fire pit and were helping themselves to the whisky. Thankfully Leslie had brought a few bottles and we drank from our own after we pulled up some chairs and made ourselves comfortable.

I was feeling a wave of philosophy and melancholy come over me. “We need to get out of all this find-the-fusors-and-save-the-world stuff.” 

“You’re right, but even if I stop, there’s always the chance that they’ll keep trying to get something out of me,” answered Leslie after she had sipped from her glass. “I’ll never be completely free.”

“But we need to try. Look at our friends out there.” I pointed my glass towards Mary and Frank sitting by the fire. “We nearly got them killed just because they know us and want to help what we’re doing. If our luck had been just a little different tonight, our problems might be a lot worse than the hang-overs we’re going to have tomorrow.” I drained my glass and poured another.

Leslie was staring out the shed’s sturdy, open double doors, taking sips from her glass. She seemed silent inside, but at the same time she seemed preoccupied with some sort of thinking-out-loud dialogue, “They think I can help them or be forced to help them. I think I might have reached the end of what I can do.” I think the ‘they’ she was referring to was whoever was so determined to have fusor technology they didn’t care what steps might have to be taken. “I can’t do any more.”

Leslie finished her glass and held it out for me to pour a refill.

I did and again nodded toward Mary and Frank, “He’s got a business and she runs a big lab. Both are doing good, important stuff. Look at us, we’re outsiders running around trying to save the world from evil fusor-doers, but we’re limited in what we can do. Maybe there isn’t anything more we can do. Maybe we didn’t even do what we thought we did.” I was exhausted.

Leslie looked back at me and asked in an far away tone, “What should we do next?”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe use some other method?”

“Maybe.”

I could hear a low frequency thump, thump, thump. Approaching helicopter blades cusinarting the night sky.

I topped up my glass and rose from my chair. “Let’s go and get this over with.”

I set the bottle on the floor.

The helicopter was almost right above the InterTrak clearing. 

Leslie rose too and clinked her glass with mine, “Let’s.”

THE END

In the mountains surrounding the Elizabeth Valley RR

[Mountains in the lower right corner. This picture raises a question about the track plan - maybe a variation on the Goofy problem -  that I hope to discuss in a future post. Also, you can see Emett's Cabin along the upper ridge.]

Among E. L. Moore's photos were two of the mountains and valley on the other side, to the right of, the central bridge. 
[Mountains in the upper right corner]

Almost all the published photos of the Elizabeth Valley RR feature the lake to the left of the main bridge and give only a peek at what's on the other side to the right. Both of these give a pretty good idea about what's there.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 19: Fireside chat

When we last left Leslie, Ed and Mary they were hashing out their next move over hash browns and eggs. Pass me the tartar sauce before this episode gets going . . . 


I’m going to go back on my earlier thought. Maybe I like being out here at my shed more than I previously thought. It might have something to do with the company. I think what got stuck in my craw was being here trapped with my own thoughts. They’re some mighty unpleasant SOBs. 

Leslie, Mary and me arrived without incident in the early afternoon. They crashed out in the backseats of the rail-ute. I drove and figured out how to get to the InterTrak station nearest my trolley shed. Rail Traffic Control only had to fix one wrong turn on my account, but we didn’t lose much time.

We dropped off the ute at the station’s rental kiosk, loaded our new packs with supplies we bought at Heff’s and walked in. The rest of the afternoon and early evening was taken up with the unexciting task of getting the place opened back up and us settled in.

Leslie called Frank Madwood from Heff’s before we left and got him to change his plans and come out to the shed. I had to go pick him up from the station.

I rolled the trolley from the shed, and all three of us wrestled it onto the rail. My timing was just right and Frank and I got back just in time to roast hot dogs over an open fire. Mary and Leslie had scrounged up some wood and branches and had just gotten a fire going in the pit. Leslie insisted on making her cowboy coffee and I took on wennie roast-master duties. We settled in around the pit on some ancient lawn chairs I found in the shed and scarfed down charred hot dogs and copious amounts of coffee. An open fire with the milky way galaxy above can’t be beat by any fancy restaurant no matter how exciting the menu.

“Ed, may I have another hot dog please?” asked Leslie.

“Certainly.” I pulled one from the fire pit grate, wrapped it in a bun and passed it to Leslie.

While Leslie searched for a mustard squirter, Mary stood up and saluted the gathering with a hot dog of her own. “I haven’t formally thanked you all for rescuing me. Thank you.”

We nodded and murmured our think-nothing-of-its.

Mary sat back down after the ceremony and Frank took it as his opening. “I’ve got two questions. First, and most importantly, do you have anything stronger to drink than this coffee?”

Leslie chuckled, “Yes, of course, why didn’t you ask sooner.” She got up and rooted through the supplies.

Frank continued. “And second, what did you find out about the fusor that brought us all here?”

After munching some hot dog, Mary replied, “I think some new circuitry has been added to solve the reaction’s stability problem. I was going to give you a call to come and take a look, but Leslie beat me to it.”

Leslie stopped searching for a minute and looked up. “If someone has conclusively solved that problem we’re going to need more than a few stiff drinks. This is a real danger.”

Mary sighed, “It looks like someone did something very creative. You two need to put your heads together on this.” 

Leslie pulled out a bottle of brown liquid and held it up for all to see. “This will help.”

Frank tossed the remaining coffee in his cup on the ground and offered the cup to Leslie to pour in something from the bottle. “Sure, but I’ll need my equipment. I dropped it off at the lab on my way here.” 

I hush fell over us.

Leslie froze. “You did what?”

Frank looked puzzled. “I took my stuff to the lab. Problem?”

Mary filled in. “We think someone on my staff is working for whoever stole the fusors and caused all this trouble.”

“Are you sure?”

“No, but things point that way.”

Leslie poured some whiskey into Frank’s cup and he took a long swig. “Christ. When you called me last night to arrange to meet at the lab, I called the lab and left a message that I’d be over the next day. I thought they might have a problem with me showing up after hours so I figured I’d let them know. Then when you called me this morning to meet you here instead, I called them again to say I’d be just dropping off my equipment.”

Leslie sat, settled back in her chair and stared at Frank. “That means they’re here.”

“You’re right, we are,” yelled a voice from the trees surrounding the fire pit.

We froze. 

Leslie put down her drink and slowly slipped her hand into the top pocket of her knapsack that was stashed under her lawn chair.

The trees yelled an instruction. “Don’t move bitch!”

Whoever was out there said the wrong thing. From there on it was chaos.

Leslie grabbed her gun, rolled out of her chair and dropped to the ground. 

The rest of us followed suit and hit the deck.

Turns out there were two out there in the forest. The one with the mouth, directly opposite Leslie, and a silent one directly behind Leslie.

The mouth wasn’t the problem, Mr. Silence was. He made his presence known by firing a fusor and wildly swinging the beam over our heads.

“It does work, bitch!” yelled The Mouth with childish glee.

“Yeah, so does this!” Leslie spun around and fired a round of bullets into the woods behind her.

Replica gun my ass. 

One of her shots hit home. There was a scream and the fusor fell to the ground. Beam still on. Someone had overrode the deadman switch. Someone who may now be dead. The ground sizzled. 

Leslie and I got up and ran towards the fusor beam’s source. Mr. Silence was lying on the ground, crying, balled up in a fetal position grabbing his bleeding left knee. I guess he dropped the fusor when he was hit because the tip of his left shoe was a metre or so from where it should have been attached to the rest of his foot. There were probably five fused toes in there, but I didn’t want to look. 

The fusor was on the ground close to the guy, but he wasn’t paying attention to it. Leslie gingerly walked up to the deadly cigarette box sized device, reached down, shut it off, and then slipped it in her pocket. This part was over.

Frank and Mary’s wasn’t. They had run the other way to find The Mouth.

A stupid move, but who can say what people with adrenaline coursing through their bodies will do.

They ran and stumbled and ran and slipped and ran some more until they had chased Mr. Mouth to a clearing near the InterTrak mainline. 

They all stopped.

The Mouth stood on the track about 100 metres ahead. He reached for something in his pocket. Frank and Mary dove to the ground.

Click. Click. Click. Nothing.

The Mouth waved the fusor at the prone bodies and frantically pushed the trigger button.

Not quite nothing happened. It turns out this was an interesting data point regarding the new and improved fusor stability circuits. 

Those three clicks and a pause were followed by an explosion and fireball. 

The 20th and final instalment can be found here.

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 18: Eats

In the last mind-blowing instalment, Ed, Leslie and Mary were finally reunited and speeding their way to Gordoborough. I hope the tires are good because there's no stopping now . . . 

Heff’s is a sprawling truck stop just outside of Gordoborough. It serves both the highway crowd and the medium short line freight train tier of the InterTrak. There’s parking for around a thousand cars, a hundred Quik-Charge booths, a complex InterTrak switching network and sidings complete with its own Rail Traffic Control Centre, and even mooring masts for small blimps. But most importantly, there’s a restaurant serving the best eggs anywhere. That’s why we were here.

We straggled out of the car and got a booth in the cavernous dining area. The service at Heff’s is fast, I’ll give ‘em that. No sooner had we plopped into our seats our attentive waitress had menus and a gallon jug of coffee on the table. Heff’s waitresses excel in mind reading. I guess we babbled some order to her, or maybe she just used her psychic powers to divine it, either way, we were soon gorging like starving cats. Restaurant at the End of the Universe? Hell, this restaurant was the centre of the universe.

After we’d downed copious amounts of coffee, eggs, ham, bacon, beans, grits and whatever else was heaped on our plates along with the Boomer Breakfast, we started to feel the life force return.

Leslie pointed her fork at some untouched slices of toast on my plate and asked, “Are you going to eat those?”

“No, go ahead.”

I pushed my plate a little towards her and she took them. After spreading some marmalade on a slice, Leslie asked Mary, “What time did you say they took you?”

“Around 8pm Tuesday,” answered Mary. 

Leslie nodded and bit into her toast.

Mary looked down at her demolished plate and continued on in an absentminded tone like she was repeating something she had gone over and over in her head, “I was taking the garbage out to the curb. A car drove up with two guys inside. One driving and the other in the passenger seat. The passenger rolled down the window and asked how to get to the hospital. I walked over and stood beside the passenger’s window. He pulled out a map and showed it to me. I leaned down to take a closer look. Before I knew what was happening, he grabbed me, stabbed my arm with a needle-gun and injected something. All I remember was falling over and then waking up duct-taped in wheelchair. I was in some storage room. Turned out it was a freight holding area and they wheeled me into that train as soon as it arrived. I never left the train and never knew where we were going or stopping. I had no idea we stopped in Ottawa”

Mary had already told us this account several times in various ways, but it hadn’t yet lost its power. We were probably going to hear it lots more. 

After eating a few bites of toast, Leslie asked, “I don’t understand, why the diversion to Ottawa?”

Mary had a quick answer, “I think they wanted to take me to some facility there. They wanted you there too Leslie, but your friend here threw a wrench in their plans when he showed up instead of you.” She nodded in my direction.

Leslie saluted me with her toast.

“I guess when they saw me at Lester’s they improvised from there on,” I added.

“Those guys took your keys too?”, asked Leslie.

“Yeah, they took all the stuff I had on me.”

“They’re pretty decent improvisors. The hotel name and room number were on the key fob. I guess they decided to poke around the hotel and see what they could find,” said Leslie.

“And they found you.”

Leslie smiled, “Image their surprise. Thinking they’d find fusor things stuffed in your luggage with your undies, but instead found me with my finger on the trigger of my constant companion.”

I stiffened. “You don’t still have that gun do you?”

“Don’t worry, it’s just a replica. Doesn’t work.”

“Doesn’t matter. You’ll get yourself killed with that thing or tossed in jail. A gun’s a gun, real, replica or whatever. You’ve got to get rid of it.”

“Ok.”

I think Leslie gave in so easily just to end my preachy conversation. 

There was a bit of a long, uncomfortable silence. I sipped some coffee. Maybe the food hadn’t completely mellowed me out. Leslie was taking too many risks with that toy gun of hers.

Thankfully Mary got things back on track and continued with Leslie, “Whoever they are, they know you pretty well and knew you’d come to my house to look for me. I don’t think they know where you live, so the whole thing was some weird Where’s Waldo test where I was Waldo. I guess if they knew where you were in New Toronto, they’d have just kidnapped you too.”

Leslie put down her toast and added, “Your Cobs’ Corners cops said you weren’t kidnapped, or even a missing person. Once they figured out the severed thumb was plastic, they thought this was some sort of prank. You’re an adult after all and weren’t officially missing yet just because you didn’t show up for work one morning,” said Leslie.

“Great.” replied Mary.

“The cops had a we-are-dealing-with-hysterical-women tone to their conversation once their cop doc told them the thumb was fake,” added Leslie.

Leslie’s gun thing had made me a little hysterical, but I was a bit calmer now and asked Leslie, “Where do you live?”

Leslie smiled and replied, “Why do you ask?”

“Well, I think we should lay low for a day or two to figure things out. We could go to your place since it looks like they don’t know anything about your habits, or we could go to my trolley shed, but there aren’t any amenities there. We shouldn’t go back to Mary’s or the lab. Especially not the lab”. I turned to Mary and added, “You’ve got a spy on your team. How else would these people know what you’re doing with fusors and that you were meeting Leslie.”

Mary nodded. “I’ve been thinking that too, but I didn’t want to believe it.”

Maybe I was refueled after all. I felt I was on a roll, “And come to think of it, when I visited Adams in the hospital he mentioned that his daughter had some sort of government job in Ottawa.”

“That might explain the Ottawa connection. Father and daughter in cahoots?”, mused Leslie.

“Who knows, but it seems fishy.”

Fish. Turns out Heff’s was offering a side of fresh caught pickrel with the Boomer Breakfast, but I didn’t have room for any more. I thought of getting some to go.

“I called Frank Madwood last night and asked him to meet us at the lab at 7 tonight. I’ll have to call him back and cancel,” said Leslie.

“Who’s he?” I asked.

“He made some fusor parts for us when the prototypes were still handmade. He told me something weird when I called. Some woman had come to his office a few days ago with a box of parts she thought was a model that her husband couldn’t build and she hired Frank to put it together. Turns out it was a box of junk, but with fusor parts mixed in.”

“Well, we certainly need to meet him.”

Leslie thought for a moment.

I drank some more coffee. So did Mary.

“How far is your shed?”, asked Leslie.

“Couple of hours?”, was my tentative reply.

“Let’s go there. Is that ok with you Mary?”

“Sure. Safer than my place. It’ll be good to disappear on my own terms for awhile,” replied Mary.

“Ok. We’ll need some supplies,” I said.

“There’s a general store here, and there’s a rental exchange here too. We’ll leave the car and swap for a rail-ute. Can you figure out how to use the InterTrak to get to your shed?”, asked Leslie.

“I’ll ask the agent.”

“I’ll call Frank and ask him to meet us at your place,” said Leslie.

Mary and I started to make motions to get up and leave, but Leslie stayed put, picked up the menu, and asked,“Is that pickerel?”

Instalment 19 can be found here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

E. L. Moore's General

I make no pretensions at being a locomotive expert. I've built just one, and that was a mongrelish little narrow-gauger. The General is only the second engine I've altered. I'm merely telling you what I did to transform the General into something more modern. It is a simple alteration, costing little more than $1, the only additions being a two-piece boiler, a boiler front, and a stack.
E. L. Moore summarizes his conversion of Mantua's General to something more likely to be in operation in the early 20th century. His Welish-American hybrid locomotive was likely too freelanced in appear in a magazine; however, the General conversion was possibly considered more plausible, so it was publishable.

Photos of the Elizabeth Valley RR show pictures of a few different locomotives unlike the Eagleroost & Koontree where I've only seen one so far. One of the Elizabeth Valley locos was a conversion and got featured in the March 1962 issue of Model Trains, in an article called A new look for the Old General,  where E. L. Moore discussed converting Mantua's General to something similar to the locomotives featured in Florida Woodburners that appeared in the March 1951 issue of Trains.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Light Ray Blues, Series 2, Instalment 17: Drive he said

When we left Leslie she had sent two would be kidnappers running and was last seen driving like crazy to Sharbot Station. Buckle up bucko, we're in for a wild ride . . . .

Knock, knock, knock.

“Leslie, wake up.”

Knock, knock, knock.

“Come on Leslie.”

The Sharbot Station clock said it was 5:30 in the morning. Leslie was three hours early and asleep behind the wheel of a four-door sedan in the station’s minuscule three slot parking lot. Mary and I had stayed out of sight all night behind a stack of ties piled a little ways away from the station on the off chance that someone might come back to look for us. I woke up early and it was only by accident that I saw Leslie's car while on a little walk to stretch out my right leg. Lucky for me Mary could pick locks and freed me from the ankle cuff, but twist was still causing me grief. I ran back and woke up Mary. We hustled right over to the car so we could get out of there PDQ.

Leslie was dead asleep. I could see her through the driver’s side window. Arms folded on the steering wheel with her head resting on them. I could hear snoring. Hear it clean through shatterproof automobile glass. 

Mary knocked on the passenger side widow.

I knocked on the driver’s glass again. My knuckles were starting to hurt.

Leslie slowly lifted her head and turned to see who it was. I had a two-day beard, so maybe she was too groggy to recognize me. She reached down, grabbed the crank and rolled down the window. 

“Ed?”

“Yes, it’s me Leslie. Why don’t you get in the backseat and let me drive.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“I insist.”

I reached in through the window and unlocked the driver’s door and the rear passenger door. Leslie left the key in the ignition, climbed out and got in the backseat. I got in behind the wheel, reached across to the passenger side and unlocked the door for Mary.

“Which way Leslie?” I called to the rearview mirror.

“Turn around, turn left out of this lot, go straight to the intersection, then right on 62, then keep going straight till Gordoborough. Stop somewhere around there to eat.”

“Ok.”

Leslie laid down and stretched out on the backseat, but had one last sleepy parting thought, “You don’t have your license. Somebody stole your wallet.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I called back to her over my shoulder.

I heard snoring.

I gunned it.

Instalment 18 can be found here.