Page 58… in a fiction series
Tiller slowly drove the perimeter drive of the old football stadium. There was a security entrance and a guard gate where credentials were checked by a sleepy teenager with acne. Tiller rolled his eyes, Miranda made a note. After parking and securing the car, they crossed a fenced in lot, and passed through a long concrete tunnel. The air on the other side smelled like damp cellar and old food.
A deep echo and the click-clicking of her heels led them into a shadowy space, the sprawling famous field not yet in view. They were met by a man in a suit named McDevitt. He flashed a badge, a gun, then extended his hand to Tiller, acknowledging that they had met before. Miranda, curious, made a note.
They followed him up, up, up a steep spiral pathway. Tiller said the guests on graduation day would be packed together like cattle, given the popularity of the First Lady who was slated to speak. A terrorist, foreign or otherwise, could easily infiltrate the crowd with IEDs, Anthrax, or other deadly weapons, causing panic and mass destruction at an otherwise pleasant event.
Miranda lagged behind for a moment hoping to catch a glimpse of the field. While this wasn’t exactly a vacation, she was happy to be out of Charlevoix for a few days, glad to be away from the ubiquitous Neil Lipman, lingering like a bad winter virus with no cure in sight.
While Tiller made a call to the office, Miranda dashed into a nearby ladies room. The absence of Neil’s prying eyes was refreshing. They continued the preliminary walk around the upper deck, past a row of seasonal hot dog and T-shirt vendors, and up to the press box. It was secured only by lock and key. A biometric signature ID system would be a far better choice. Miranda was glad her boss made her study so hard.
As Tiller walked and talked, she followed his eyes from one section to the next… from the bleacher seats, to a crew of masons repairing an ancient pillar, and onto the monstrous scoreboard. Its size was impressive and intimidating, and so was the guy in baggy jeans supervising a work crew.
Tiller said, “Make a note and stay focussed.” She wrote it down and also noted that she was becoming boy crazy.
Moving down to ground level, the sun came out, the field looking as bright as game day. Before Tiller turned to see the press box, Miranda spotted a fat man leaning back in his seat, feet up, smoking and enjoying the view. She froze. His name growled like a beast in her throat, a cigarette waiting to be snuffed out forever.
Miranda had been a fool to think his presence in her life was a mere coincidence. Tiller had driven most of the day to reach the stadium, up I-75 and through the U.P. Neil Lipman could not have been far behind. She decided a stop at Tommy’s Gotcha in Traverse City was in order. One of the regulars would know something. And it was time to ask Emerson James Tiller for his help.
McDevitt led them toward the end zone. Tiller gestured for her to stay close, sensing her unease. She took one last look over her shoulder at the press box. Lipman was gone.
To be continued…
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.