A comprehensive retelling of my Bouchercon adventures would not only be long and boring, but would violate several confidentiality clause and at least seven state statutes. Instead, I’ve decided to frame my memories around something one doesn’t usually associate with Bouchercon: food.
While several people have made it very clear that it’s possible to subsist on nothing but alcohol, smoky bar air, and cocktail party cheese plates, I found myself swept up in several actual meals, usually with an odd array of people. So from the top…
I arrived in Chicago around 1:30pm on Thursday and was immediately relocated by the Jordans and several Brits to a martini bar, movie theater/bowling alley featuring waitresses with short, short skirt, big, big boobs, and tall, tall boots. We all embarrassed ourselves completely while I dined on a hamburger and fries that cost roughly the same as my last hospital procedure. That night, after filling our bellies with everything but the alleged “appetizer” at the Crimespree party, John R. Dave W. and I decided to head out for some dinner and ended up at a corner diner with Pat Lambe, Blake Crouch, Steven Sidor, and Michael Koryta. A more motley crew you’ll never find.
Friday, I found myself alone for the first time needing lunch before the BCon BBall game. After turning down an invite to join Ben Rehder and Brian Wiprud for Chicago pizza due to time constraints, I hit a Subway next door and helped myself to the $2.49 daily special. Later that evening I tried several times to get dinner but it just wasn’t quite happening. Lured to the horribly boring MWA party by rumors of free food, John and I ended up passing on the meager scraps left behind and instead spent almost an hour mocking the amateurish and blatantly crappy publicity materials on the goody table. The popularity of knitting mysteries and something called the periodic table mysteries convinced us that our Endometriosis mystery series will be the hit of next year. Ultimately we ended up back at the bar, shocking I know, where John left me along with Russell MacLean to go have dinner with his editor. Russell and I got along very well and I even felt comfortable enough to eat nachos in front of him.
Saturday…was I even there on Saturday? Ha ha. Anyway…I passed on an offer to join John and Neil Smith for coffee in the lobby so I could catch the end of Ingrid’s panel because I hadn’t managed to see her at all up to that point. When that was over, CJ Carpenter and Mary Reagan were headed off to get coffee with Ken Bruen and invited me along but I got sidetracked talking to Steve Torres and found myself standing in awe at the Dennis McMillan table in the book room. The Plots with Guns anthology is the coolest thing ever. Finally I was able to latch on to Paul Guyot and David Montgomery and we were joined soon after by Julia Spencer-Fleming and we all decided it was time to get out of the bar and into the sunlight for lunch at the pub across the way. Well…after waiting for over an hour for our food we ended up back at the hotel bar and I ordered a hamburger and fries that cost even more than the last one and didn’t even come with the slutty waitresses. All was made better though by Julia’s fascinating story of her career ups and downs and her funny pirate joke (Yar, it’s drivin’ me nuts).
Dinner on Saturday was one of the coolest parts of the conference but it was immediately preceded by the single most amazing party I’ve ever been to in my life. Through connections, bribery, blackmail, and good old fashion whining, I ended up at the DHS Literary party thrown in two magnificent Chicago apartments. The guest list was amazing (including my debut outing with my little monkey) the food, splendid, and the open bar…well, open. I really got to chat with Duane who I now want to be MY BFF and heard one of the more interesting bits of conversation from the whole conference, Harlan Coben and John Rickards talking about their favorite Johnny Cash music video. All while I was wondering how sturdy the glass windows we were leaning against were and whether the spiders outside had followed me from Michigan or arranged to have local ringers bug me. After the party, several of us ended up at a restaurant down the way where we sat outside and enjoyed the wonderful night. I had one of the best steaks of my life and all of us toasted with the third Jack Daniels novel (if you know what I mean).
Sunday I ate at the McDonalds in Union Station and headed home where I enjoyed a lunch of McDonalds again.
I really need to start exercising again…