. . . Part 3 and conclusion. Continued from here.
It had started to drizzle while they were laying out the dessert
and by the time that Colicchio took the stage, it was a torrential
downpour. As we made our way out of the event tent and back into the Bally's building, I got soaked by a line of water pouring off the tent. I made my way to the ladies room to get dried off
and to try to get some clear mental space to think about how to ditch this guy. Nothing came to mind.
I wiped the last of my dripping mascara off my face and
sheepishly walked back out into the hallway to meet up with
Dave and convict X. It occurred to me at that moment that I
didn't even know his name.
A long line had queued up at the taxi stand in front
front of Bally's. As we waited in line, I noticed that the guy kept
checking and rechecking something bulky in his front pocket.
I suddenly realized that he might have had a gun.
Here we were, about to get into a cab and drive
through the seedy center of Atlantic City in a downpour
with a (possibly) armed man. What the hell was I going to do?
There was no tipping off Dave to my suspicion as we climbed into
our cab. Luckily ol' striped jumpsuit took the seat in the front
with the driver. Suddenly I knew what to do. I would fake a phone
call to my mother, so that he would think that I was in touch with
someone and could possibly tell them to call the police if things
got ugly. I yammered on and on into the phone about how we
had been slighted by a Top Chef and how the food was very good
but the weather was very bad. I made sure to leave a lot of pauses
for her (supposed) responses and threw in the occasional "uh-huh"
All the while that I was faking this call, I had my eyes glued on
shifty in the front seat. He had introduced himself to the
cabdriver "Jean" citing his own name was "John". I assumed that
he was ingratiating himself to the driver to put him off guard for
the moment that he stuck his gun in his mouth and demanded the
cigar box full of money that he had under the driver's seat.
As we drove on, I noticed that John seemed to have a lot of
questions about Jean's homeland of Haiti. He was
grilling Jean about the people, the culture and his reason for
leaving Haiti to live in America. He also had a lot of questions
about voodoo, asking Jean whether or not he believed in god.
As we rounded the corner to the Harrah's casino, John turned
to Jean and said "Well, I like the way your people do sex."
Relieved to be in front of our destination and not feeling
confident enough that John wasn't packing heat to point out his
disgusting comment and cultural insensitivity, I threw a
$20 bill at the driver for a $13 dollar fare and bolted out of the cab.
John offered to give us something toward the cab ride, but we refused his offer. He mumbled something about talking to the casino host about getting tickets for
the Food and Wine event and he took off. Relieved to see him go, I finally confessed to Dave that he gave me the creeps. Dave seemed blissfully unaware of his shiftiness. Then I repeated the comment that John had made to the cabbie about how "his people" did sex. Again, Dave had no clue what I was talking about. It was just about this time that I decided that I should just shut up and let it go. I was either living a day out of the Belushi/Ackroyd movie "Neighbors" or we just narrowly escaped death.
We proceeded on to the Food and Wine pairing event hosted by Tom Colicchio. I spent the entire event nervously scanning the room for John. As it turns out, he never showed up. Oh, and neither did Tom Colicchio.