So you want to know how the drive to the Space Coast Writers Conference went? I think it’s best illustrated by an exchange we had close to the end. (As God is my witness, I made up none of the dialogue in this blog). Three hundred and fifty miles from Hilton Head, we were in Cocoa, and we saw a man walking along the intracoastal, muttering.
Bob: There’s a story there and we don’t want to know it.
Jenny: I might want to know it.
(Bob leans forward, fumbles with something on the dashboard.)
Bob: How do you turn this thing off?”
Jenny: What thing?
Bob: The passenger side airbag.
Okay, but up until then, we’d been doing pretty good. Right after we left Savannah, Meg called to say we had a deal with SMP for Agnes (a great deal) and Jen called to say how excited she was about Agnes (and we’re excited, too, although you can’t tell it by Bob’s face) and then we saw a big orange sign that said “Thirteen Foot Alligator, Souvenirs.”
Jenny: We have to see that! It’s Moot!
(We have a one-eyed alligator in DLD called Moot, about which more later).
(Exit goes by.)
Jenny: Never mind.
About thirty miles down the road, there was the same sign: “Thirteen Foot Alligator, Souvenirs.”
Bob: It’s probably the same gator. They just truck it back and forth.
Jenny: Turn here. Turn here!
Bob: It’s really only an eight-foot gator. It’s trapped in the pen going, “I’m only eight foot!”
Jenny: Turn here! TURN HERE!
Bob: Except it’s a male gator so it’s okay with being called thirteen foot.
(Exit goes by.)
Jenny: Never mind.
Another thirty miles down tbe road, there was a sign: “Thirteen Foot Alligator, Souvenirs, Dog Track.”
Bob: There’s our exit.
So we pulled up and it was a gas station with the souvenir shop from hell, which is just my cup of tea. I LOVE souvenir shops. We got out and Bob started to fill the rental car with the gas.
Jenny: Where’s the gator?
Bob: Probably around in back. If I don’t see you again, it’s been great.
Jenny: I’ll check inside.
Inside was a dream. Big shell mobiles, a shelf of comic gators one of which was sitting under a palm tree with sunglasses and a coconut drink (of which more later), a shelf of mermaids (which is necessary because Meg collects mermaids and we owe her for negotiating the great contract), and a shelf of shell sculptures of clams playing poker.
Then I saw it. The thirteen foot gator.
I wanted to take its picture with Bob but he refused. I did, however find Alligator Bob’s Smoked Alligator Jerky. No, I’m not kidding:
So I bought the jerky for my dad and a mermaid for Meg and the alligator under the palm tree that looked like Moot (about which more later) and I really hesitated over the clams playing poker but Bob was looking at his watch so we paid and left.
About ten miles, down the road, I couldn’t stand it.
Jenny: Turn around and go back. I have to have those clams playing poker.
(Silence for a couple of miles.)
Jenny: It’s not going to happen, is it?
Then Bob got sick from talking so much yesterday (he’ll write about that, I think he’s trying to forget the drive) and we stopped at a CVS in Cocoa where a great guy named Dwight helped me find the throat lozenges. And I took them out to Bob, who was suffering.
Jenny: I got honey lemon Cepacol, black cherry Sucrets, and some of those cherry strips you put on your tongue.
Jenny: They’re thin sheets of medication and you put them on your tongue and they melt so you don’t choke on the lozenge.
Jenny: You put them on your tongue.
Jenny: They’re suppositories. Bend over.
But the big creative discovery of the day was the Moot-under-the-palm-tree I bought. I put him on the dashboard of the rental car and got the Great Idea:
Jenny: You know what we can do with this? We can take him with us everywhere and he can be like those gnomes that travel all over, we’ll take his picture wherever we are on the road, won’t that be great?
Bob: (Thinks: A million romance writers in the world and I had to pick her.) Great.
And now I have to go read the latest draft of Agnes because Bob has finally realized that I haven’t read anything he did last week. And he’s taking me to the airport on Sunday and I need that airbag.
But I shoulda bought the poker-playing clams.
Note: About two days after I got home to Ohio, I got the poker-playing clams in the mail from Bob.
2020 Note: More He Wrote She Wrote Reruns are here.