This is the third installment of a multi-part series.
As I was sitting there, trying to reassure Tony that everything was going to be just fine, I began to realize just how not fine we really were. I looked around trying to get some sense of how many people were in the room. My guess was about fifty or so. Before I got around to counting, I saw Eric and his friend Josh pacing around the perimeter of the room. Eric’s hands were moving nonstop, making all kinds gestures. I suspected he had found his voice again and was freaking out. Josh was looking down at his shoes like he was in deep thought. That was no surprise knowing Eric. When he gets going all you can do is shut up and nod your head. I started to wave them over but immediately thought better of it. I wasn’t ready to hear his manic rambling, and figured my buddy wasn’t either. Tony was starting to regain some of his color and I didn’t want to get him stirred up all over again.
I didn’t really know Josh. He was Eric’s friend from L.A. and I had just met him a few hours earlier. I surveyed the rest of the room trying to locate the other two guys. Unfortunately, Alex and Ken were nowhere to be found. I figured they would turn up at some point. After all, the rest of us were here. Why wouldn’t they be?
It was still dead quiet in the room. As I mentioned, this was just weird considering the situation. It reminded me of a bunch of folks at an art gallery; just milling around in their own little head space. There was this one guy standing about six feet from where we were sitting. He finally looks our way and starts talking. No introduction or anything, he just starts talking. It took a second to realize he was actually speaking to us.
The guy looked as normal as could be. He was wearing khaki slacks, a blue button-down Oxford shirt, and loafers; just a preppy looking guy you might see on the street. But this was no average guy. When I was able to process what he was actually saying, it became clear he knew his way around this strange joint. He told us that we would be leaving the area shortly and pointed to a set of gates to our left. Now, this really ticked me off at the time. Where were we… and, who the hell was this guy that looked like us, but was obviously working for whoever (or whatever) our abductors were?
So, I asked him something like: What the fuck is happening here? The guy just ignored my question and went on about how we would be filing through these arched doorways that looked like metal detectors at airport gates. By that point, Tony was getting pissed too and started peppering the guy with questions. No luck, the guy just moved on to another group, reciting the same spiel he gave us.
If all this wasn’t strange enough, Tony, looking around, points out the fact there are no women. I remember being mildly surprised, but was a little too preoccupied, at the moment, to be aware of gender issues. Since Tony was always trying to get laid, I guess it was no big surprise that would be the first thing he noticed after recovering from an anxiety attack. Great, I’m thinking. Not only are we headed for the chamber of anal probe, we won’t be picking up any chicks either. Jesus, the things people notice. It was at that point, I left Tony to ponder his latest revelation while I went to search for Alex and Ken. I figured they would have done the same for us if we were missing.