Oscar Larry, who sat at the other end of the table, was the first presenter of the evening. I knew we were in trouble when he started setting up a laptop and projector to show some of his research. He also passed out little coasters with the name of his store in San Antonio, "Sky Lights – the ultimate resource for your extraterrestrial needs."
"Even though we think of UFOs as something from second-rate creature features on the midnight movies, they are real, mysterious objects that have been observed in our skies since the earliest days of our recorded history," he intoned. "Tonight I am so pleased to get to share with you all of my scientific observations and extensive resources on the subject."
Did that mean what I thought it meant? Did Martha tell any of the other authors there would be a time limit on their presentations? I guess she never actually gave me a limit, just a suggestion there would be no time for me. This could be a long night. I grabbed my cell phone out of my purse and started texting my dad. If I was going to run late, I needed to let him know. Judging by the median age of our audience, running late may not work too well with them, either. We definitely had some eight o'clock bedtime folks here.
My phone lit up with an incoming text. I had turned off the sound so no one listening to Oscar Larry's droning on would realize I was involved in a conversation elsewhere. I expected it to be a text from my father griping at me for extending his babysitting time, but instead it was from Leo Fitzpatrick in Dallas:
Betsy. Tried to call you, but you weren't home. Have you come to a decision?
Oh boy. I did have some thoughts on the matter, but I didn't know if you could get in trouble with the phone company for texting four-letter words. This was it. I could ask him about the woman who answered the phone, but if I did, what would he think of me? It wasn't like we were living in the same town or anything, and it wasn't like we were serious enough to warrant not seeing other people. But still, I felt cheated on somehow.
I had not been involved with a man in quite a while, and I needed to feel safe in my first jump into the dating pool. I had already lived with a guy who had betrayed my trust, and even though I felt I was past all that, I still had these little nagging doubts in the back of my head that I really wasn't good enough. Look at tonight – I was the add-on author. I wasn't the beloved fashion blogger. I was that woman who could tell you how to unclog your sink – that is, once she got her own sink unclogged. Not so glamorous. No wonder Fitzpatrick was seeing another woman in Dallas.
The words on the cell phone seemed to be shouting at me, "Have you come to your decision? Have you? Have you?" Oscar Larry was turning out the lights to show exciting footage of his own personal UFO sighting. How thrilling, except now the room would notice my phone was lit up on my lap. I quickly punched "end" and stuffed the phone back in my purse.
I settled down for the next 30 minutes to view what looked like blurry pie tins floating through the atmosphere. That's it! Betty Crocker was an alien. Now we had the delicious proof of it. Who's next? Mrs. Fields? Marie Callender? The Gorton's fisherman? Would the controversy ever end?
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