Still no idea how we got here but last time we were here.
“Ok Einstein, I’ve got a question for you.” I said to Téa from the other side of the table.
She’d already laid down the ground rules for the conversation with wise cracks and the reference to Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee so I figured my wise arse Einstein reference was fitting.
“Only one? Well that a bit of a relief actually. What is it? Maybe I can answer it.”
“Maybe you can!” I started. “So we are sitting here in 1969 America, twenty minutes from the biggest music event the world has ever seen. I’m missing Janis, but I’m willing to accept that for now. You sent me a parcel containing a strange dial, a dial your great grandmother gave you the instructions to seek out.”
“Sounds like you’ve got a grip on this so far, maybe I should call you Einstein.” Téa joked like there was no urgency in the situation at all.
“Yeah, yeah, let me finish.” I took a breath. “You found the dial, for some reason you needed to get rid of that dial and you thought of me. It was sweet that you thought of me by the way.” Téa smiled at me and I continued. “You posted the dial to me, no concerns that it takes three weeks minimum for mail between the States and Australia, and I received it along with the instructions, which I followed.”
“You really are onto this!”
I poked my tongue out at her then continued. “I did as you asked, ended up somewhere it’s not technically possible to be and then I run into you.”
“Is there a reason you’re telling me things I already know? Wasn’t there a question you wanted to ask?”
“I’m getting to that,” I said, but didn’t let her interrupt with ‘of course you are’ like I could tell she wanted to. “In amongst all that you also said that one of the reasons you sent that parcel too me was because the old lady would have difficulty tracing me.”
“Yes that is all true!” Téa was smirking again.
I was having none of her smugness and cheekiness so I continued on without acknowledging it. “After all that I turn up in some place I can’t even get my head round and the first person I see is the old lady you said would have trouble tracking me down. If she was going to have trouble tracking me down why the hell was she the first person I saw when I opened my eyes?”
“That’s your only question?” Téa asked.
Of course that wasn’t my only question but it was the one at the forefront of my mind given Téa’s last comment. I don’t know if my mind was frightened of asking other questions, worried that Téa couldn’t answer the questions I had, or just didn’t want to know the answers and therefore threw up a bit of a silly one to try and protect itself. Whatever my brain was thinking I was hoping Téa could read it because I was having trouble explaining it.
“We’ll I’m happy to explain it to you but we need to get out of here.” Téa said.
“Because that old lady you want to know about is headed this way.”
“What?” I asked.
“Up on the hill up there. It’s hard to make out her out but I can see her.”
I turned my head and looked out the window Téa was looking out, it looked directly up the road we’d ridden the the motorbike from Woodstock down. She was right, I couldn’t make out the details but the figure at the top of the hill walking slowly towards the diner did appear to be old woman like.
“But how?” I asked.
“I’ll tell you everything soon. But right now we have to get out of here. Let’s go.” she said getting up from the booth.
Walking towards the register I realised that I didn’t have my wallet. Because I had been sitting in my office when I was playing with the dial I had no need to have my wallet on me, so therefore I was money free.
“I haven’t got my wallet!” I said grabbing my pocket.
“Its okay, this one is one me!” Téa said without a thought.
Thinking about it later my money free status was probably a good thing because my money of course would have been Australian currency and it would have been the new polymer technology plastic notes that were unheard of in 1969 America, not the American green back. Thankfully Téa seemed a bit more akin to what was going on and although she didn’t have her huge handbag with her, the one she brought to Australia last time could have an elephant hidden inside it, she did have money in her pocket. I didn’t see what kind of green note she gave the lady on the register but when she told the lady to keep the change and ushered me out of there I realised time was more important that money.
Outside I took one quick glimpse up the hill towards Woodstock, I still couldn’t make out the figure walking down the hill but it was still coming towards us.
“Come on, this way.” Téa said as she grabbed my arm and for a second time yanked me in the direction she wanted to go.
Around the side of the diner sat and old Ford tow truck, well it was old for me but for 1969 America it was probably quite young. Téa let go of my hand and ran around to the drivers seat calling to me to get into the passenger seat. I followed her order and by the time I was getting into the truck she’s knocked the sun visor down caught the keys and was starting the truck. Several seconds later we’d peeled out onto the black top and was speeding away from the diner and the old lady walking down the road.
“How did you know this was sitting there with the keys under the visor?” I asked as we drove off.