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The following is a True Account, The mystery will be posted in two parts. Please feel free to offer your solution in this post, the real solution will appear in the next blog.

_______

It was in the early fall of 2007 Mother and I had waited patiently in Dallas for over an hour to catch the 6:15 flight to Tampa only to be delayed an additional hour due to weather.

"We're going to be up all night," Mother sighed irritably, glaring a bit at the crew who were finally disembarking behind the last straggling passengers.

"Do try not to remind me," I requested, scowling at my iPhone. "I'm the one who will have to drive us home at One in the morning."

"One?" Mother scoffed, "We're not in the air yet, try Three." I tilted my phone as my scowl deepened.

"The bloody DFW wifi network has hijacked my iPhone," I stated staring at the screen in surprise. "And they're trying to force me to buy air time."

"That's rich," Mother's glare deepened and several of the maintenance crew scurried down the ramp as if her eyes were scalding them. "Strand you here and then charge you $10 to get your email. Who is it that rated this place the best airport in America?"

"The tourist board of Texas," I replied without missing a beat. I tapped several more keys and then gave a malicious smile. "No worries, I hacked my way out of it." Mother let out a slightly evil laugh.

It was another twenty minutes before we boarded, settled into our seats with our respective, well loved, copies of harry Potter and taxied away from the gate at five after seven, our seat belts securely fastened and the plan quite well full.

"What time did we board?" Mother asked, her scowl returning as she glanced at her cell phone.

"A quarter to seven," I replied, not looking up from chapter thirteen where I was once more developing a cold hatred of Delores Umbridge.

"We've been sitting here an hour," she stated flatly. I blinked several times and then looked up, shifting so that I could see past her out the window. A long line of planes stretched along the tarmac side by side, disappearing into the gathering darkness. Though whether they were ahead of us or behind was anyone's guess.

"This is very bad," I stated. My face crinkling in a mixture of disgust and horror.

"How long do you suppose they can keep us trapped here like rats in leashes?" she asked with a slightly terrified expression, tugging at the end of her seatbelt. I ignored the question, mine had suddenly begun to feel terribly uncomfortable and I didn't really want to tell her that to my knowledge the record for being stranded on the tarmac was nine hours.

After idling for over an hour the captain, who had remained suspiciously silent since leaving the gate ordered the flight attendants to strap in and, much to our collective relief we were off.

"My phone says 10:20," Mother stated, smiling just a little at the grin on my face as I craned my neck to look out across the Bay toward St Petersburg.

"It's so good to be home," I sighed.

"It'll be 11:30 before we get off," she said warily.

"There's nothing for it," I sighed. "We can't sleep in the car and I'm not staying at the Marriot, even if there were likely to be a room. It's not that late."

"Compared to what?" Mother asked incredulously.

"Compared to London," I answered brightly, "It's Four in the morning there." Mother shook her head.

"You've lost it,"

"I think we previously established that madness runs in the family dear," I announced, bounding to my feet as the fasten seatbelts light extinguished. we grabbed our luggage and headed for the ladies room where I rummaged through my overhead carryon before finally locating and extracting my keys from their spot in the bottom of the bag and we set off.

As with all things in Tampa the rail from concourse A was uneventful, as was baggage claim and at twenty to twelve we were already seated on the shuttle to long term parking. The shuttle seemed dreary, though, no doubt because most of its passengers had arrived on our flight and now were, like us, heading home nearly two hours later than they had planned.

"You're not falling asleep?" Mother asked anxiously. I was, but she seemed quite stressed enough.

"That's why I quit reading and started doing the Sodoku puzzles in the magazine." I replied reassuringly. "They keep my brain from shutting down."

"In pen?" she asked, to witch I nodded. "They didn't help much did they?"

"No," I admitted grudgingly.

"Gold section!" The shuttle driver announces as we ground to a halt.

"We have sections?" Mother asked with renewed worry. "How do we know what section we're in."

"Haven't the foggiest," I replied with forced cheerfulness, taking the bags down from the rack. "But that's our elevator over there. I recognize the travel posters." Mother shook her head again. Navigation by pictures of New York is not one of her preferred methods.

We barely managed to catch an elevator to the fourth floor and we extracted ourselves from the other passengers to find that I could indeed navigate via images of the Statue of Liberty. I loaded the bags into the trunk and went around to the drivers door.

"My keys," I looked down at my empty hands. "I don't have my keys."

"I thought you got them out in the lady's room." Mother said fretfully.

"I did," I insisted. "You still have yours?"

"Yes, in the bottom of my carryon," She replied. "But your emergency credit card was on your keys."

"I must have left them on the bus," I said taking off for the elevators at a jog. "I'll try to catch the driver!" I jammed the button violently, bouncing on the balls o my feet as I waited for the lift that seemed to move painfully slowly. In what was surely only a few moments I was back at the station and the shuttle, much to my chagrin, was gone, replaced by a new one.

"I think I left my keys on the bus." The young man driving the newly arriving shuttle gave me a sympathetic look.

"Can you describe the driver?" he asked, reaching for his radio.

"At the moment I can't describe much of anything," I admitted. "But he can't be more than five minutes ahead of you."

"Check the guys coming back." he suggested, pointing at two returning busses. I darted across the drive while he called into his operator, arriving at the first one in time to hear the order to check all shuttles for a lost set of keys.

"Do you recognize me?" The driver of the second shuttle asked me, with a rather charming smile.

"I'm not sure I could recognize my own reflection," I stated miserably, as he indicated I should have a look. "I'm completely exhausted."

"No one's found anything," he stated, checking his radio. I sighed miserably as I stepped back onto the curb before the elevators. The nearest one opened, and Mother stepped out, my keys dangling from her outstretched hand.

"You forgot your phone," She stated as I groaned in relief.

"I know," I replied with a sigh. "I figured you could find me. Where were they?" Her lips curled in an odd sort of smile.

TBC
______________

Ok, all of the information of how the keys had gone missing and where they actually were is all there. And all quite obvious if it's not a quarter to midnight. Brownie points for anyone who can uncover the mystery before I post the end.

Date: 2007-10-09 06:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lego-the-eggo.livejournal.com
It was Ms. Scarlet.....in the Conservatory.....with the REVOLVER!

.....Were they with your phone on top of the luggage? That's always what happens to me.

Date: 2007-10-09 07:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] niennanir.livejournal.com
That would have to be a no, but feel free to keep guessing ;)

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