Hit and Run
I sat on the train, looking over the british countryside, staring at the green, wind-beaten grass, the violets blue piercing through, the bright dandelions and the weeds trying to grab them by the neck and strangle them all. I looked out in front of the train, and I could see the tunnel diving in to the ocean. I went back to pondering about what I was going to do in Paris. I had somehow gotten away from the company I work for although I am still the Vice President (the president being a close friend who was on this train too), and gotten a room at a fancy hotel in Paris for a week. Of course it was still for business though. I was meeting with the Parisian company, iBot, to talk about wireless power transitions, a new concept since they have a lot of experience with transmitting bluetooth and electronic signals. I pulled out my laptop and continued working on a presentation that I would show later today. After a while of working on my presentation, I put my laptop back in my bag laid back, and watched the world slowly be taken over with darkness.
I woke up from the loud sound of shuffling all around me and talking and yelling outside the train. I had arrived in Paris and I looked out into the packed train station. Boys and girls were running around screaming and yelling, yet the adults walked ignoring all as if there was no one else but them looking straight ahead. I slung one of my bags over my shoulder and the other I carried in my arm as I stepped off the train. I looked around to find Nate, my boss and close friend that I started the company with, because we were getting a ride to the hotel in the same taxi together.
I finally located him by the exit, apparently waiting for me. We walked out and looked for the cab that had a sign that said Donaldson on it, Nate’s last name. We hopped into the cab with the sign on it, and collapsed into the seats dropping our bags. Nate asked me, “So, you almost ready to give that presentation to the board of iBot?”. “Almost” I said not really meaning it. The cab driver asked, “Où êtes-vous partez? (Where are you heading?)” and Nate quickly replied “L’Hôtel Richardson, à 1417 rue d’orange (Richardson Hotel, 1417 Orange Road)”. I could speak some French too, but I didn’t know Nate could. “Merci monsieur” replied the cab driver. “Est-ce que vous parlez anglais?” asked Nate to the cab driver. “Oh yes sorry monsieur.”, the driver replied in a thick French accent. “Oh no it’s fine. I should probably be practicing my French for this trip.” Said Nate jokingly. “So where are you from?”, asked the cab driver. “Boston.” I replied. “Are you here for a vacation or business?” Asked the cab driver. “Business” I replied again as the cab pulled up to our hotel. “That would be €21.68. You can swipe your card, we take American Express.” I swiped my card. “Thanks for the ride!” I said as we stepped out of the cab and looked up at the tall concrete building looming over us with a red canopy over the entrance. We walked inside to the lobby and to the front desk. “Hello”, Nate said. “Hello, may I have your room number and last name?” Asked the man at the desk. “Yes, it’s 428, and Donaldson” Replied Nate. “Ok, yes, here you are.” The man said looking at his computer. “Here is your room key.” He said handing us our card. “Thank you” I said as we turned and walked into the elevator, up, and into our room.
I woke up in my bed in the hotel after adjusting to the time zone difference and looked at the clock. It was 5:30, and the meeting where I would present my power point was in half an hour. I decided that I should get ready for the meeting, and I looked around the room, and didn’t see Nate, so I assumed he went shopping. I opened the closet and put on a blazer and tie, and walked up to the conference room my meeting would be in towards the top of the building. As I walked into the room, I saw a few groups of people talking in French, and I spotted Nate shaking hands with the president of iBot. I walked over and Nate turned and said to the president, “Oh, here he is. This is Luke Basch, my Vice President.” I shook hands and said “Nice to meet you” “Nice to meet you too.” He said. “Nice to meet you too. I’m Pierre, the head of iBot.” One of the employees walked up on stage and tapped the microphone and everyone went quiet. “Hi. I’d like to welcome all of you here to France, and to this meeting. Today our speakers will be Kelly Lawrence, Calvin Fitzgerald, Luke Basch, and Jane Carter. I’d like to thank you all for coming, and please enjoy. The room darkened and a woman walked up on to stage and started talking. I listened for a few minutes, but then my mind turned to the subject of my own speech, and worried that I might have forgotten a slide, or not finished it. My thoughts were interrupted by the sudden blare of the fire alarm and the sprinklers showering down on us. Some people screamed as one of the iBot employees was directing people down the stairs to get out of the building. I ran down the stairs with Nate and when we ran out of the building we could hear sirens in the distance. We looked back up at the building with the base burning. Fire trucks pulled up and firemen told people to move back as others grabbed hoses and started spraying the building. I looked to the left and I saw 2 people in masks run out of the bank next door through all of the chaos. “Hey!” I yelled and chased after the men but they hopped in a blue Mustang and screeched off into the distance.
Later that day, the guests of the hotel were transferred to a nearby hotel down the street. Nate and I were watching the news, and someone knocked on the door and came in. It was two police officers. “Hello.” They said.” “We’re here to investigate the fire that occurred earlier today. Did you notice any suspicious figures or anyone missing when the fire took place?” “No, I said, but I noticed two men in masks run out of the bank and take off while the fire was going on.” I said. “You did?” asked the policeman not expecting an answer. “Did you see what type of car or the license plate?” “It was a blue Mustang and that was all I saw.” I said. The cop was scribbling down on a pad, then clicked his pen, turned to us, and said, “Thank you. You have helped us a lot. Have a nice day.” Then walked out closing the door behind him.
Nate and I were driving through the French countryside trying to enjoy the last day of our trip since we weren’t here for business anymore. As we were passing through Lavender fields, Nate looked at his upper mirror, and said, “Hey, what’s that?”. I looked behind the car and I saw a hazy dot coming up the road. “I don’t know,” I said, “but it’s sure coming up fast.” The car came speeding up, and we realized it was the blue mustang from the robbery! It came and rammed our car off the road and into a ditch at the edge of a river, but during the process, the blue mustang skidded out also and went into the river. “Quick, call the cops! That’s the car that the robbers were driving!” Nate dialed the cops as I got out and saw two men climb out of the sinking car with duffel bags trying to jump to shore. Two cop cars showed up just as they got to shore, and cuffed them. “Thanks for the warning. Fortunately we were right by when we got your message and came here as quickly as he could.” Said the cop. He unmasked the criminals and it was The President and Vice President of iBot! “We think these to lit one of the gas lines in the building to distract the people in the bank, and everyone else, so they could rob it. Thanks to you, we got them. How can we repay you?” The cop asked, and I replied jokingly, “How about a nice flight back to Boston?”