On Wednesday Russel and I roadtripped up to San Francisco. We had a few dicey moments with a tailgaiting drunk in a Jag-You-Are, but thanks to the offensive driving skills of Leadfoot Faust, we escaped unscathed. Well, mostly unscathed. I may or may not be responsible for a grey hair or two on the young head of the Terribly Alert Scotsman. I live in LA, but I drive like a New Yorker.
When we hit the city, I ditched the Scotsman and the luggage at the con hotel and met up with Darren McKeeman. I didn’t want to pay the outrageous parking fees at the hotel, so I’d made arrangements to park outside the city and take public transit back in. Darren kept me company along the way, since I knew there was pretty much no other chance of escaping Planet B-Con and seeing any of my local friends.
Once I got back to the hotel, I did manage to sneak away for a quick dozen at the Hog Island Oyster Bar. But then it was back to the hotel bar, where the crime writers were already stacking up and causing trouble. They stopped serving at midnight, but I didn’t complain, since I was pretty worn out from the 5 hour drive up. Little did I know, this closed-at-midnight thing wasn’t just a weekday policy. But more on that later…
Thursday started off like it always does; lunch date with my B-Con husband Martyn Waites. (Though it must be noted that our natural inclination towards polygamy reached new and absurd heights this year. By the end of the weekend, we wound up married to nearly a dozen different people. But don’t worry, English. You’ll always be my primary. Well, you and Judy Bobalik.) Anyway, Martyn had already been in SF for nearly a week with my sisterwife Linda and their kids, but somehow he’d managed to restrain himself from visiting Kayo Books. Needless to say, that was our first stop.
Here’s what I picked up:
The Computer Kill, by Raymond Banks (!) – “Private eye Sam King tangles with a brain – electronic variety – and a flock of bodies – some blonde, some brunette, some dead.”
Run, Killer, Run, by Lionel White – “A hunted hood, a wily wanton and a frenzied flight into hell!”
Strip Alley and Sin Doll, by Orrie Hitt “A novel which focuses on the hot picture racket, boldly revealing how girls are recruited – and why!”
The Woman He Wanted, by Daoma Winston “She begged for his brutal caresses.”
New York Confidential, by Jack Lait and Lee Mortimer “The big city after dark.” (Map back!)
Rump-Mania (!!!) by Cliff Barrett “A documentary (HA!) of anal sodomy perversions as experienced by women to attain incredible forms of sexual pleasure.”
And, yes, I really did buy that novelization of Zardoz.
Pulpdrunk and semi-delirious from pawing through stacks of sleaze and huffing the sweet smell of foxed paper, we staggered down the hill for lunch at the awesomely old-school Tadich Grill, the city’s oldest restaurant.
The rest of Thursday was mercifully free of serious commitment. I wore my tightly tailored hound’s-tooth dress from Pin Up Girl Clothing and hung around the hotel bar, stirring up trouble and catching up with everyone I hadn’t seen since last year.
Later that evening, Martyn introduced me to Sharon Canavar and Erica Morris, organizers of the Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. I in turn introduced them to the tikilicious Tonga Room. I think I almost killed poor jetlagged Dreda Say Mitchell by dragging her up Nob Hill, but she graciously forgave me, even though she ended up tapping out early on the evening. In the end, after several indoor thunderstorms, Polynesian Marvin Gay covers and deceptively strong fruity umbrella drinks, a good time was had by all. We even managed to catch a streetcar back down to the hotel, although we did have a slasher movie moment when Erica, who had been behind me just minutes earlier, suddenly disappeared. Fortunately we didn’t split up to look for her, and no one went into the basement or took their top off. Well Mark Billingham took his top off, but clearly the homicidal maniac who’d nabbed Erica wasn’t interested in man-nipples. I think Mark was more than a little disappointed.
We made it back alive, but the con hotel insisted on closing the bar at midnight again. (Are you starting to see a pattern?) A bunch of angry authors took off in search of a more accommodating bar, but that juicy stack of pulp was calling me, so I decided to make it an early night.
Tune in tomorrow for the next exciting episode of B-Con Follies – Doey Words and Describy Words: In Which Professor Faust Teaches Mad Lib Grammar to Foreign Exchange Students.