“Can you take me to O’Hare?”

“Mr. Bubbles Kitty und I have had a nice sleep in our portable cryogenic suspension chamber which pumps in oxygen laced wiz particles of pure evil. I am now 100% refreshed wiz a lust for power matched only by cunning and unerring fashion sense. Also, my skin looks fabulous. For today’s events, I haf chosen a smart ensemble complete vis lipstick poison pen purchased online from So You Vant to Take Over Ze Literary Vorld.com. Und Mr. Bubbles Kitty haz a new collar which reads: Will thwart your enemies for tuna. Some of you haf asked, ‘How is it that Mr. Bubble Kitty is a she?’ How should I know? I do not lift ze leg and haf a looksee in ze netherregions part. Is impolite. Even for an Evil Author Overlord. A minion tried to do it once. Hours later, he begged for death, which I refused after consulting ze Evil for Dummies manual under ze tag—‘Mercy, yes or nein?’ (Ze answer is Nein. It is the shortest chapter in ze book.) Mr. Bubbles Kitty’s fabulousness transcends gender. I am just here saying.”

Yesterday was Day #3 of the TSFT World Domination Tour, and what a day it was. It started off in a very promising fashion at Bayside Middle School in Milwaukee. I was in a big gymnasium with a microphone—further fueling my rock star fantasies (I’m thinking of getting one for home use: “Hello, Brooklyn! Tonight, we’ll be ordering from Thai Palace—Alright! One, two, three, FOUR!”) The event was emceed by two students, Sophie and Claire, and they rocked out it with great questions. They even stumped me at one point. And a special shout out to Najwean who decided to make me a character in his writing exercise story. (Apparently I live on a tour bus and the thing I want more than anything in life is…Najwean. You had to be there.) Everyone at Bayside made me feel so very welcome and Lanora Hurley of H.W. Schwartz Books handled all the books with grace and style.

My lovely escort Mary Gielow and I had a great lunch and she drove me around and showed me the gorgeous homes near the lake, stoking the flames of my HGTV-enamored heart. “Mr. Bubbles Kitty und I picked out a house which shall be home of our secret evil compound, Midwest division. It is on ze water, but of course. Shingle style. Graceful und not too ostentatious. I hate tasteless evil. So tacky.” Mary dropped me at the airport, and then my day got REALLY interesting.

It’s 1:30 when I try to check in for my 2:37 pm flight to Detroit. “I’m sorry,” the e-ticket machine prompts. “But you are too close in time to board this flight.” (paraphrasing.) WTF? (not paraphrasing at all.) I approach the counter smiling nervously. “Excuse me, I think there’s something wrong with the machine? It’s telling me I can’t get on my flight because I’m too late.”
Ticket agent: No, you are too late. That flight leaves at 1:41 pm. There is no 2:37 flight.
Please see previous reference to WTF, only now with the power of several exclamation points. I have a schedule that very firmly says 2:37 as departure time. But apparently, Northwest has cancelled that flight and conveniently forgotten to inform anyone.
“When’s the next flight to Detroit?”
(checking) “We could get you on a 6:00 flight through Minneapolis that would get you there around 9:30.”
Panic comes off me like cheap drugstore perfume. “No, um, see, I have a book signing in Detroit at 7:00 pm. I need to be in Detroit at 7:00 pm. Detroit. Seven. PM.” I sound like Rainman at this point, “Quantas, Quantas, gotta fly Quantas.”

There is nothing. There is nothing at any airline at the Milwaukee airport that will get me to Detroit before 9:30 at the earliest. I ask a guard how far the drive is to Detroit. “Oh, about six hours,” she says. “Give or take.”

“Mwoar,” said Mr. Bubbles Kitty, which means, “You are quite screwed.”

I call the amazing folks at Random House, and now, everyone and her mother is working on it. Christine Labov, Elizabeth Mackey, and Wendy Loggia are on my cell phone as I’m running through the airport and it’s like we’re in our own version of “The Amazing Race: Get to Effing Detroit One Way or Another.”
“Okay, there’s a 3:45 United flight out of O’Hare…”
“In Chicago?”
“Yeah, that one. Your best bet is to grab a cab to O’Hare from Milwaukee and fly out of O’Hare to Detroit. Go!”
I’m running in heels, dragging my luggage, and there are exactly two cabs, but one guy’s on his lunch break and he ain’t budging. The other man looks about 90 and his cab seems like something MacGyver stitched together out of Pepsi cans and duct tape. “Can you drive me to O’Hare?” I whimper.
He doesn’t miss a beat. It’s like I’ve asked him to have coffee rather than drive an insane woman 75 miles in a cab. “Sure,” he says.
“How long will it take?”
Shrug. “About an hour and fifteen minutes.”
That would get me to the O’Hare at 3:15, which is the 30-minute cut-off window for flying. “Let’s go!” I say, throwing my crap into his backseat and buckling up for a race through to Chicago.

My cab driver’s name is Kirk. He used to drive 18-wheelers. And I now know XL cool stuff about how to survive a tanker explosion. (Hint: You have a better chance of living if you actually jump from the moving vehicle and a 99% chance of becoming human shish-kebob if the tank is mostly empty rather than mostly full—fumes ignite easily. Who knew?) I store this away in my Worst Case Scenario folder because, frankly, you never know. With a quick stop at an ATM (75-mile cab rides plus XL tip=Gross National Product), Kurt gets me to O’Hare at 3:20, five minutes too late, so Christine (love you Christine!) gets me on the 4:19 and I make it to the Borders in Novi at a fashionably late 7:15, probably looking like a psychotic person with a bag of Swedish fish I was calling dinner.

Will post about the FABULOUS Novi event tomorrow. But my ride’s here (apologies to Warren Zevon) and I gotta go to Haslett High School.

Mr. Bubbles Kitty vants you to know ve are here today:

*****Schuler Books & Music****
*****4 pm.******
2820 Towne Center Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Hope to see you there!

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