The Unknown: The Red Line.

The ride to our hotel was crowded. Fictional characters, it turns out, take up just as much room in a limo as real people. And with Kilgore Trout along for the ride, fiction outnumbered reality 4 to 3. William, Scott, and Dirk were used to this by now, of course, having watched their, what could only be charitably described as, “lives” be completely overwhelmed by their own hypertext fiction.

“Before The Unknown, I never would have imagined touching a limo, much less riding in them as often as we do,” Dirk muttered, to no one in particular. “Not that I’m complaining, but what good is a limo if you have to sit with your knees caressing your cheeks! And where’s the fucking mini-bar anyway?”

“Did someone say ‘bar’? “William” asked groggily. Prostrate on the floor of the limo and being used as an unconscious footrest by the rest of us, “William” vainly attempted to sit upright, only to flail helplessly amidst the legs and feet that imprisoned him. “Excretion is the wetter fart of . . . of val-, of valium,” “he” mumbled before passing out again.

“Did someone say ‘bar’?” “Scott” asked, taking up the cause.

“Yeah, where’s the bar?” Kilgore Trout chimed in. “My author never puts me in such plush surroundings. Better take advantage while I can!”

After a quick search, it was determined that “Dirk” was sitting directly in front of the mini-bar. “He” moved out of the way by sitting in William’s lap and “Scott” and Kilgore tried to open the bar. It was locked. “Scott” rapped on the window to get the driver’s attention.

“Hey, you got a key for this mini-bar, pal?” “Scott” yelled through the glass.

The driver pretended he hadn’t heard the question.

“Hey! Where’s the fuckin’ key, man?” “Scott” was really pounding on the glass now and everyone mentally prepared themselves for another Unknown fiasco, except maybe for Kilgore, who was new to this type of thing, and also “William” who was still unconscious.

“Scott” wouldn’t stop yelling or pounding, despite entreaties from the real and the fictional alike, and finally the driver of the limo pulled over to the side of the road, got out of the car, opened up the back door, and dragged “Scott” out into the night air. Dropping “him” unceremoniously on the curb, the driver shut the back door, climbed back into the front seat, and drove off. A few seconds later the driver’s voice crackled over the intercom.

“The bar’s locked because the lady who ordered the limo wanted it locked. . .

“That damn Marla,” “Dirk” chortled, “Mother Hen strikes again.”

“. . . I ain’t got the key and I wouldn’t give it to you if I had one because all of you are a bunch of fuckin’ whackos and I don’t get paid enough to put up with drunk fuckin’ whackos, o.k.?”

“And I suppose that same lady gave you permission to dispose of unruly passengers?” Scott asked.

“Yep. She warned me. Said I didn’t have to take shit. And as you see, I don’t.”

“That you don’t,” William said, as he slowly returned his one-hitter to his coat pocket.

The rest of the ride was silent, except for occasional groans from “William,” but at least there was a little more room to stretch one’s legs.


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