Reporting from All-Con 2018 in Dallas, Texas. Tomorrow we’ll sit at a table outside the Lalique Ballroom and sell our wares–David has Alien Resort patches; I have copies of Lone Star Lawless, Day of the Dark, and Murder on Wheels.
I say we’ll sell, but that’s to be seen. I asked David if he plans to stand in front of the table and call to passersby, “Do you like aliens? I have some alien stuff here. And my wife has books for sale. She’s a writer.”
He said, “No.”
That’s not good. I expected him to hawk my merchandise. Like Jane Austen’s Lizzie, I don’t initiate conversations with people to whom I haven’t been introduced. Especially when I want them to buy something.
Years ago, a friend encouraged me to sell Mary Kay makeup. It could have been a lucrative career. I might have ended up with a pink Cadillac and a bulging bank account.
But my pitch would have gone like this: “Mary Kay makes excellent makeup, and reasonably priced, and you don’t have to go to Dillard’s and stand around waiting for the saleslady to notice you’re there; just call and I’ll deliver it to your door. But women don’t need really need makeup, they put all that goop on their faces and for what?, vanity, just vanity, and you know what the Bible says about that, and you can’t afford it anyway, save your money to buy something of lasting value.”
I liked the makeup, but I kept on teaching.
Our drive to Dallas was uneventful and as pleasant as a drive from Austin to Dallas can be. If you’ve ever taken that route, you know what I mean. I rode the train to Fort Worth several years ago. Boarding, I so looked forward to the scenery: trees and grass and farmhouses and cattle and horses and possibly a chicken or two.
Oh, silly me.
It was flat, barren plowed land, and scrubby fields lying fallow, pretending to be pasture, and the warehouse districts of a string of small towns. The most interesting sights were the water tower in Holland and a building with Macaroni painted on the side. A few cows grazed in the distance. No chickens.
No wi-fi, either, for writers who have to keep an online thesaurus running behind their digitized manuscripts.
Unlike IH-35 scenery, the hotel is attractive. The convention holds promise, too. On the way to our room, we met a bunny rabbit. She wore a G-rated costume of electric blue and black and had black ears, black fishnet stockings, and a reasonable amount of visible skin. She was cute. I didn’t want to be obvious, so I didn’t turn around to check for a powder puff tail.
Fortunately, David registered early enough to get a room on a lower floor. It’s near the elevators, so we don’t have to walk down a long hall to reach them. Also, our rides down will be brief.
At a hotel where we stayed last year, only one of the two elevators was in service, and therefore was always crowded. During each ride, I was sorely tempted to break into a chorus of “Getting to Know You.” We got to know one another quite well.
Elevator rides could be critical this weekend. David reported that on one of his recon missions, he saw people with swords. I don’t want to be in close quarters with a bunch of Game of Thrones wannabes, especially when they might have spent happy hour swilling mead.
Now I backtrack: As I wrote the preceding paragraph, I realized All-Con elevators pose no particular threat. Since last September, it’s been legal in Texas to carry blades over 5.5 inches.
Said Time Magazine shortly after Gov. Greg Abbot signed the bill into law,
“People could already carry knives with blades under the 5.5-inch limit, but they generally could not purchase or carry longer weapons. Now they will be able to take many more weapons with them when they run errands, for example, or when acting out their favorite scenes from Game of Thrones in the local park.”*
Not long after, CBS News reported,
“Carrying a sword down the street, carrying a Bowie knife down the street… completely legal. Machetes if you want to,” said general manager at the House of Blades in Fort Worth, Ahnna Escobedo.
“I think it was more to give people more rights and to make sure they felt like they were free to carry what they wanted,” Escobedo said. “Texas move right there, sure.”
Time points out the law wasn’t pushed through without thought. “… [A]fter a man was accused of killing a University of Texas at Austin student and wounding three others with a hunting knife, debate on the legislation was delayed. And the bill’s author, State Rep. John Frullo, stated, “House Bill 1935 provides a common sense solution by prohibiting any knife with a blade over five-and-a-half inches in certain location restricted areas,…”
Frullo also said, he just wanted to simplify current laws: “‘What we wanted to do was make a law where citizens could understand it, law enforcement could understand it and the judicial system could understand it … It adds clarity. All we have to do is use a tape measure and we can tell whether or not a knife is legal to carry.'”
The law also prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from carrying swords, machetes, and other long, pointy weapons.
[I think law enforcement understood the original law–heck, I understood it. If a tape measure said a knife was longer than 5.5 inches, police should then haul the carrier to straight to the pokey. But that’s just me.]
Anyway. Forgive my whining about elevators and swords. We’re probably as safe here in the hotel with people dressed up as pirates and ogres and princesses as we are on the streets of Austin. Safer. Who can say? Not I.
Tomorrow I shall rise, breakfast, help David attach our banner to our table outside the Lalique Ballroom, and prepare to do battle with whoever and whatever comes at me.
I hope it’s nothing scarier than the bunny rabbit.
*Am I the only reader to detect a hint of laughter in this sentence? I’ll wager I’m not.
Did I say David also witnessed this scene:
A woman walked in carrying a long gun.
A man said, “Is that a deer rifle?”
“Yes,” said the woman. “I got it for twenty dollars. They were having a going-out-of-business sale.”
Just one more thing to think about in the elevator.