The Shuttle That Would Not Be

The writers stood in the chill night as the convention center emptied. They had stayed all day instead of going back to the distant hotels because, as they had learned by hard experience, the convention center shuttle was not reliable. In fact, it was the opposite of reliable. They were, indeed, astounded to come out and find the shuttle waiting for them, lights blinking.

“It’s here! It’s actually here!” the writer in WWI nurse’s costume cried.

Another writer, not in costume, said, “Ah, but the driver isn’t.”

It was true: the van was empty.

They waited. They waited a bit longer. They waited some more.

“Where IS he?” asked the writer in the black jacket.

“Dead in the back,” said one of the others.

“There’s a number on this brochure,” said the writer in the flowered shawl. I’ll call.”

She dialed the number of the dispatcher while another of the writers stood next to the van and listened, in case the driver’s phone rang from the pocket of a dead body in the back–one never knew, after all.

A cheerful female assured the enquiring writer that “We’ve got you covered.”

Five minutes later, the driver appeared. He said nothing about where he had been, nor did he apologize for his tardiness.

With his customary low-key good will, he drove back to the hotel, finishing the drive with an invigorating detour over a curb or two.

“Tomorrow,” said the writer in the flowered shawl, as they walked up the stairway to their room. “Tomorrow they’ll find him dead in the back of the van.”

WRITING PROMPT: A character is depending on someone for a ride, and the ride is delayed beyond the ordinary.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Shuttle That Would Not Be

  1. Leslie R. Lee

    October 31, 2010 at 1:36pm


    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. KK Brees

    November 1, 2010 at 10:30am

    Love it! Marian, you’ve got the beginning of a great cozy here.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      November 1, 2010 at 10:56am

      Ooo! Now you tell me–I’ve already started my NaNo book. It’s also a cozy, but now I know what I can do for next year. 😉

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  3. Carol Preflatish

    November 2, 2010 at 9:30pm

    You nailed it, Marian. I remember every word and also every bump over those curbs. LOL

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  4. MARIAN ALLEN · New Guy, New Place

    November 3, 2010 at 9:01am

    […] not in charge of it. I could eliminate more than that in bad boyfriends and ex-sons-in-law. And shuttle drivers. I hope Simon will visit here when his book is released. Imma ask […]

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  5. Motel FAIL

    October 28, 2011 at 10:56pm

    […] was now waiting for the shuttle. Yes, The Shuttle That Would Not Be. We scooped him up and went to the convention center to check into the convention, did a panel, had […]

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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