As Commanding Officer of the local Sci-Fi fan group, I round up crewmen for security details at local conventions. And every so often, I get 'special projects' -- a charming colloquialism for "crap even the promoter doesn't want to do." So, when our local promoter had an "opportunity," that should have been my tipoff. It seemed simple enough, drive Marta Kristen to an event in Frederick on Friday night, pick her and Mark Goddard up Sunday morning and bring them to our local event. Couple of hours either way. Sure, okay, love to.
I rounded up my trusty Security Chief Kato (who received the nickname due to another long story involving celebrity transportation), and we joined the promoter at the hotel where we met Marta Kristen and got the directions.
Then it got ugly. Not Frederick, MD, a 90 minute drive but Frederickville, VA, a 4 hour drive, including Baltimore and Washington DC traffic on a Friday night. Marta wasn't aware of the distance, and believed the trip was no more then 2 hours. Apparently the promoter has spatial conceptualization handicap, because the only way to make that trip in under two hours would be to break most of the speed laws and several laws of physics.
Then, to compound my own stupidity, I made the mistake of thinking. "Well," says I to myself, "According to this map, we can take route 15 most of the way and bypass the traffic. That should knock some time off the trip."
Away we go, merrily chatting as we take the scenic route. Five hours later, even Marta, as charming and gracious as any soul I have ever met, was getting tense. It turns out that Virginia, apparently fearing another attack from the Northern forces, has preemptively removed every third road sign. Do not pass go, do not collect $200
It is a rare opportunity for fans on the local level to spend any time with major stars from the world of science fiction. It is even rarer that such an opportunity can be measured in hours. I like Marta. Five hours in a van with a couple of idiot fans, she continued to be good natured, witty and eloquent. And we never did get around to discussing the Lost in Space series.
So, with great affection and no minor trepidation, I humbly offer this fan tribute.