FatLand: The Early Days – 32

As they came in sight of the Western checkpoint, Margaret asked the driver to stop the car.

 She got out and looked around.

To the right she saw the flanks of the Colorado rockies, already bathed in snow. To the left she saw the town of Valhalla.

In her mind’s eye she saw a man and an edition of a newspaper.

 He promised, she thought. I probably should have accepted, and will regret not doing so.

 But she couldn’t imagine having to clear design and editorial policy with anyone else, and especially him.

If I deal with the devil, I become like the devil or at least devilish.

She got back into the car. “I’m ready,” she said to the driver.

The car sped up to the Western checkpoint. The driver said something to the soldier on duty, who took Margaret’s passport without a word.

Silent world they have here now, she thought. Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing, to be getting out of here into a world in which people still talk to each other.

She was motioned out of the car.

She waited and watched in astonishment as the soldier gave the car and trunk a thorough going over.

What in heaven’s name does he expect to find in here, she wondered. Contraband cakes?

“Is there a problem?” she asked the soldier, surprised to hear her own voice, but glad somehow that she was saying it.

“No, ma’am.”

The soldier searched the car for about five more minutes.

She thought, Stark? Can he have ordered or bribed his way to this?

The soldier looked over her passport, then handed it to her, reluctantly, it seemed. No mention of a nice trip or even having a good day.

She said to the driver, “Let’s get out of here.”

The car accelerated toward the FatLand Eastern checkpoint.

 As they came within sight of the checkpoint, she was astonished to see a group of people waving and smiling.

A band started to play.

Margaret, to her own outrage and shock -both of which didn’t last very long- started to cry.

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