Cat got your tail?

Published . 245 words.

“Hey Mike! Where were you last night? We missed you at the kickoff party.”

Mike smiled, and shrugged, and didn’t say anything. His friends assumed it was jet lag, as he came from the opposite coast, and he didn’t disabuse them of that notion. They shouldered their laptop bags, and went out into the night. It was the second night of Festival season, and they had a whole town to explore before the next day’s conference breakfasts and sessions.

Last night.

A flight from Miami. Two-hour train trip from the airport to the conference hotel, fifteen-minute tram from the conference hotel to the tiny rental he was staying in because he wanted to stretch his training budget to two conferences this year. Unpack the sole bag, a carryon, to remove conference-unnecessary items like clothes, to make it easier to grab work-related things. Find a coffee and a pastry. Ten-minute tram back to the conference hotel. Registration, two sessions, a teleconference call conducted from a wall outlet behind an overstuffed armchair, two more sessions, the ten-minute tram back to the tiny rental. How is it only 5:15 p.m.?

I watch the trim roll past my window, dinging its bell. There wouldn’t be another tram for an hour, said my phone, so I decided to walk the miles back to the conference hotel, where I was to meet up with M—,