Of you and I engaged in a kiss.
No, I don’t really want you to imagine that. It’s a lyric from When Doves Cry, and seemed a fitting title for today’s ramblings.
My mind is a curious place, my thoughts sometimes bordering on psychopathic. Such is the life of a writer. We don’t have an on/off switch. This strange way of thinking is simply who we are. Journey with me through an evening of bizarre twists in my odd world.
Saturday evening, Michael (my husband) and I went to a concert. We saw John Mayer and Phillip Phillips. (Awesome show!) The event was held at the Amphitheater in Tampa, which is right off the highway.
As we were driving down the on-ramp on our way to the venue, I glanced over and noticed all the people already setting up on the lawn and finding their seats under the canopy. I couldn’t see faces or any clear details, just a busy hive of people. I was only thinking about the concert ahead, but that moment, with that view from the ramp, filed itself away in the research section of my mind. Later, as we were seated under that canopy awaiting the show, I was watching the crowd and flashed to that image from the ramp. I asked my husband, “If I was standing on the on-ramp, could I pick off a bunch of these people with a high-powered machine gun?”
My husband’s reply, “Hell, yeah. I could even take down lots from the roof of Hard Rock. (Hard Rock Cafe, on the opposite side of the highway.) I couldn’t do head shots, but I could do body shots with an M-16.”
Just to be clear, my husband is not a sniper, nor is he a crazed serial killer. He’s ex-military.
As he talked about body shots, I visualized the chaos of 20,000 people trying to escape all at once. Trampled bodies. A lot of screaming. Madness. The killer on the on-ramp or Hard Rock Cafe roof wouldn’t have to do much of the killing himself. A few good shots and he could cause hundreds of deaths.
All this went through my mind within a couple of minutes. Maybe less. Then we were back to the normalcy of the show, as everyone settled in and the lights dimmed.
During a break, I thought about all the carefree people and our illusion of security. Upon entrance, all bags and purses are searched. But people are not searched, and we do not go through metal detectors. A person could easily hide a small gun in a sock beneath their pants. Or a knife. Or a set of nunchucks. I don’t know why nunchucks popped into my head. I had an absurd image of a ninja gone wild. Fortunately, we’re in Florida and it’s early September. I didn’t see anyone wearing pants. Well, long pants. You know what I mean.
At the same time, I was trying to figure out the threesome in front of me. There was a brunette woman in the middle, a blonde woman on her right, and a man on her left. All were in their late twenties, maybe early thirties. The brunette seemed to be some sort of weird glue holding this threesome together. She’d sing a few lines of a song to the man, then lean into the blonde and sing to her. She’d kiss the man, then turn to the woman and give her a weird grin. I wasn’t sure if that grin held a promise or a tease. The man and the blonde rarely even looked at each other. But the woman between them held them both, pulling them into what appeared to be a reluctant sharing experience. All through the evening, the brunette had the look of a woman whose most intimate fantasies had come true. I couldn’t help but give life to their story, a back story leading up to that moment unfolding in my mind. The blonde didn’t appear thrilled with the sharing experience, or with the man for that matter. In my scenario, she kills him off at the end of the night.
These thoughts are random. I don’t set out to consider all the things that can go wrong. I don’t try to imagine scenarios with knife-wielding maniacs roaming concert venues. It’s all just part of the endless stream of nonsense rolling through my cluttered mind.
After the concert, we had to trudge back to our parking space. The amphitheatre is set in the fairgrounds, and the parking is a maze created by some idiot who never attends concerts. We’d been directed to park in the furthest lot, which is a mile or so from where the show was held. I swear I’m not exaggerating. It’s ridiculous. The lot is within the fairgrounds, but nowhere near the amphitheatre. We’d hung back, waiting for the crowd to thin before making our way out of the amphitheatre. By the time we got to the road leading to our parking area, very few people were walking that way. The front lots were still buzzing with activity. Security was out directing traffic. But beyond that, where we needed to go, was quiet. There is absolutely no security on the stretch of road (more like a paved passage) between the empty buildings used during the fair. There is very little light. As we walked, I thought how easy it would be to rob people out there. Or assault a woman. Or kill someone.
We passed one lone woman hanging on the chain link fence, her shorts spotted with fresh dirt. My first thought was that she’d been attacked. A closer inspection, and her swaying, proved her to be crazy drunk and unable to stand up on her own. As we continued on, I invented a story for her. It didn’t end happily. I hope her reality proved far better than my imagination allowed.
Finally, we were on the highway and heading home. Eventually we took an exit out of the traffic and onto the back route. We stopped at a light, on this dark, foggy evening, and I lowered my window. Michael turned to me and, in his quietly serious tone, said, “Are you sure you should do that?”
“Do what?” I asked.
“Open your window. It’s foggy out there. You never know what or who is lurking in the shadows.”
I laughed, even as I imagined a stranger dressed in black reaching through my window. My husband has been around me for so long that he has now begun to think like a writer. Either that, or he really is a psychotic serial killer.
What kind of odd thoughts pop into your head? Is your imagination geared toward crime and suspense? Horror? Or do you have unicorns and mystical beings coloring your world?
Thanks for reading.
Tags: A Writer's Imagination, A Writer's Mind, Concert Experiences, Crime Writers, Great Guitarists, How A Writer Thinks, Ideas For Suspense Novels, Joe Satriani, John Mayer in Concert, Plot Ideas, Story Ideas, Suspense Authors, Suspense Writing, Tampa Amphitheatre, Thinking Like A Writer, Writing Crime Novels