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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Misty night in Dallas

Several years ago I was privileged to go on buying trips with one of my best friends, Lynn, who owned a decorating and gift shop in our home town. I was, I like to think, an Assistant Buyer. We always have an adventure when we're together and this trip was no exception. Dallas, Texas was our destination to buy at the World Trade Center there, where we flew once (that is another story)...but then took the train the next two times. We would leave from Chicago on the train which seemed kind of silly to take the train from Indianapolis up to Chicago and then down to Dallas..but that is the way the train travels. This trip was in January when it is very snowy in Indiana and Illinois but milder in Texas. One night after a long day of walking, looking, choosing and doing great quantities of dollar calculations for the shop we decided to go to Baby Doe's Matchless Mine restaurant..an old silver mine of sorts that is perched on the only hill, as far as I know, in Dallas, complete with a live burro at the entrance chewing on hay or what ever they chew on. It was a very misty, cool, dark night but Baby Doe's was very cozy and warm and we enjoyed a delicious meal. When the meal was over, we asked for a cab to be called for us. While we waited we shopped in the little gift store that looked just like a "company store" a mine would have~there were pieces of turquoise and silver jewelry and rings, bits of fool's gold and all sorts of books and trinkety things to tempt you. Time passed and no cab. A couple of what looked like cowboys with big ten gallon hats sauntered over and asked us if we were movie stars and we said "Why, yes, we are" I wonder if they believed us? That was fun but waiting that long was not. We asked the maitre d' again to call a cab and waited again. Pretty soon an hour had passed and we had asked 2 more times. Finally they told us that a cab had arrived. We went out into the murky night and saw 5 cabs in a row. Puzzled we looked at each other and decided to take the first one. When we entered the taxi the windows were so steamed up we could barely see. I said to Lynn "I don't feel right in this cab. Something is just not right in here..I feel like there is a gun in here or something." We decided it was going to be alright that my imagination was running away from me since we'd had such a long intense day and that we didn't have far to go. We drove along in the heavy, misty rain on the road that runs parallel to Stemmons Freeway back past the World Trade Center and we saw a man in a trench coat carrying a brief case and piece of luggage walking along the road and waving for us to slow down. Our driver hesitated but we said let's give him a lift since it is so miserable out and he can share the cab fare with us. So our driver stopped to pick up the man. The man said "no, you already have a fare" and we insisted that he take the ride. He and the driver loaded up his suitcase in the trunk and he seated himself in the front. He said he needed to get to the airport right away and he was in a great hurry...he seemed irritated and nervous. We told him it will be alright, the driver can just leave us off at the entrance of our hotel drive and they can go on. The man never looked at us or thanked us. So we were deposited at the entrance of the drive and the cab drove away. The next morning we hailed a cab to take us to the final buying day of our trip. The sky was blue and it was a little warmer and we were talking to each other about what a difference a few hours make. We told our driver that we had a terrible time getting a cab last night...that we were out to dinner and....Our cab driver joined the conversation and finished the sentence Lynn was just saying...He said..."Yes, 5 cabs were dispensed to Baby Doe's last night for a fare of 2 women. During this fare the driver picked up another fare and we are told never, never to do that. After the driver released his original fare at their hotel he was held at gunpoint and robbed on the way to the airport." Silence fell over our gaped mouths like a blanket. Lynn looked at me and whispered, "I'll never not trust your intuition again!"