A party planner
Unknowingly marries a criminal
He was late. Joaquin promised he would be on time this time, but it was almost four o’clock, and there still was no ice sculpture presiding over the cold food table.
I opened my planner and wrote his name on a black page near the back. Then circled it four times and added some x’s through just in case. Do Not Use Again!!!
My client was pacing over near the hot food line. I wished she wouldn’t. She was in the way of my staff trying to get pans from the catering kitchen to the chafing dish stands. I could smell the burning Sterno from where I stood. For me, it was a comforting aroma. It meant parties and celebrations.
The client saw me and started walking over. She pointed to the blank space as she walked. “The sculpture?” she mouthed as she got closer.
“It should be her any minute. I was just on my was outside to make sure the artist knows where to bring it.”
She nodded. “I’m sorry, I should let you do your job. I hate being micro-managed myself. And here I go doing it to you.”
“I get it, Beth. Your company is paying quite a bit for this party, I can understand; Joaquin is usually early with his sculptures. Maybe there was traffic.” I glanced at the door to the catering kitchen. “I going to go check the parking lot.”
I just about ran to the kitchen, then rushed to the back door. A blue van was pulling into the small service parking lot. Finally. I hurried over to the van. “It’s about, the client is getting antsy in there. It’s not a retirement party without a giant ice sculpture of a golf bag, right?”
The van door opened, and a man in a blue suit got out. “Annie?”
Since when did Joaquin have such well-dressed help? “Yes? Do you work for Joaquin?”
He paused a moment. “No, I don’t know any Joaquin.” He turned to a second man getting out of the van. “Arthur, do you know a Joaquin?”
“Is that his latest alias?” The other man shook his head. “Show her the photo, Joshua.”
The first guy held out a photo.”We are looking for this man.”
My heart dropped to my stomach. Who were these guys, and why were they looking for my husband?
“Ah, you do know him,” Arthur said, walking closer to us.
“He’s my husband.”
The two men looked at each other. Did they not know he was married?
“We’ve only been married for a month, so maybe he didn’t tell you?”
Joshua shook his head. “Can’t say we’ve actually met, yet. Can you tell me where he is?”
Is this what mama bears felt like when their cubs were threatened? “Who are you? For all I know, you are some kind of mob hitmen who are after him.”
Joshua laughed. “No, we are not hit men.”
“But would you tell me if you were?”
Arthur nodded. “Good point. But tell me, you have been married for a month and you think mov hit men would be after him? Rather curious that you would marry someone you thought was involved in something like that?”
Oh, crap. The last thing these guys needed to know was that after a month of marriage, I had some questions about Steve. Like where he went when he disappeared for days at a time, saying it was work. But I really didn’t know what he did. I knew he worked in research and development for a large food manufacturer. But he didn’t have a lab coat, which I thought was odd.
“Tell me what you know about time travel,” Joshua said.
That was it. We were getting in trouble for the honeymoon trip. Steve bought the tickets. The guy who led the trip, Turk, had said that we needed to not talk about it. These goons were probably why. “Time travel? What, are we in some kind of tv show now?”
Joshua pulled out another photo. It was Steve and me, dressed in 60’s style clothing. “Here, London, England, 1969. The Beatles had a great show that night.”
“Look, I didn’t know where we were going, and I don’t think Steve knew it was illegal, it was our honeymoon, and he just wanted to impress me.”
“And he was with you, by your side, the whole time?” Arthur asked.
“I’m sure one of us had to use the restroom.” These guys needed to go now. Joaquin was pulling up in a white van. Finally, the ice carving.
“Annie, your husband is wanted for a serious crime. He brought trade secrets from our current time back to 1969.”
“Look, this is some kind of joke, right? You two are pulling a fast one on me. Steve put you up to this,right?”
It was as if my life was suddenly in slow motion. The two men started to tell me who they were, but my attention was on the back of Joaquin’s van, where the ice sculpture started to fall to the asphalt. It was inches from crashing to bits when I felt a hand on my arm.
Joshua grabbed my arm. In his other hand, he held an old-fashioned pocket watch. The ice carving was suspended in mid-air. Blue suit pulled me over to the van, slipped the watch in his pocket, and he started to lift the ice sculpture back into the van. Everyone else was perfectly still as if frozen in time.
Arthur could move, and he came over and helped push the ice carving with Joshua.
Once the sculpture was safe in the van, Joshua pulled out his watch, and everything started moving normally again. Except me, my knees were shaking and my head felt like it would float off my body.
Joaquin got the sculpture off the van with no incident. He shrugged. “You know, my biggest nightmare is dropping these things.”
Right, the sculpture was here, and as much as I trusted the rest of the staff, I needed to be with the event. I turned to follow Joaquin.
“Wait, where is your husband?” one of them called as I walked away.
I didn’t answer. I had vowed for better or worse, sickness or health. Should I have vowed criminal or law-abiding as well? For now, I would trust Steve.