My trusty walker, Ms. Scarlet, met a robot in New York City. I met several kind men, including a street beggar. We were in the city for a conference and, everywhere we travel, we look for story ideas.
Many of you know a mosquito bit me 992 days ago. It gave me West Nile Virus, paralyzing much of me. My body is back except for my left leg so I use Ms. Scarlet, a Nitro Euro all-terrain walker, hot red and black. She is a siren when it comes to meeting men. We enjoy their curiosity about her and their conversations with me. In NYC our adventure began at LaGuardia Airport.
I sit curbside on her lap, waiting for our ride. A six-foot tall blue and white robot, shaped like a thick, squat bullet, moves back and forth on the pavement. He is a test robot for the security team. He comes up to Ms. Scarlet. A light in his cone-shaped head scans back and forth, back and forth. Then he rolls away. I don't know who watches us through his eyes. Ms. Scarlet and I move behind a concrete post where he can't see us. Hmm, a thriller?
TWH2018 writers gather in a bookstore. Ms. Scarlet sits in a cab with me. The driver drops us off and says the event is across the street. He fails to say five blocks away, the farthest I have walked with Ms. Scarlet. At the bookstore, we encounter a young man in the aisle on the phone, his back to us. I say excuse me. Nothing. I tap his shoulder. He glances back to me and returns to his phone. Ms. Scarlet pushes against his legs. What happens next? Ah, a mystery, an action story.
Ms. Scarlet and I check out a restaurant, amazed at how many old men bring their daughters to supper. Hmmm. We walk to the grocery where an old man using a cane flirts with us. A four-year old boy challenges Ms. Scarlet to a race in the snack aisle. He wins. The old man asks where I live. A visitor, I say. He tells me I remind him of a copywriter he worked with in advertising. Yes, a love story, a reunion in a grocery.
One night, writers gather to read their works at The Bowery Poetry Club (Awesome place!). Two women help me and Ms. Scarlet onto the stage. Ms. Scarlet loves the stage! And applause, even whistles from writers. (So do I!) After a fun evening full of talent, we take a cab to the hotel where the driver lets us out a yard from the curb. I look up to a beggar near the hotel. He takes a step toward me and stops. I understand he will help me if I need it. At the door, I turn to thank him. He is gone. Maybe, a mystery, a love story, the man, her long lost husband.
Silas House, author of SOUTHERNMOST (amazing book on shelves now), says: "Stories are a balance between mystery and information and stories must be about love." I agree. New York City gave us mystery, information, and kindness, if not love.