As Paul Ryan showed us around the capital, #3 fell in step next to me and whispered, "We have to get out of this. We've gone back in time to 2015."
I looked in her eyes, and she was dead serious, as usual. "Lead the way," I replied, already sick of our tour leader's company. "Didn't fancy going to Beijing in the first place."
"I'll take you sometime and you'll love it," she said, "but just now we've got to get away from these spoofer idiots before we end up in a Federal prison somewhere."
"Oh, do you think Mark will do something that stupid?" I asked, digging, but she didn't even offer the usual deadpan stare...that serious eh?
We came to a corner near a subway entrance, and I felt a strong pull on my right arm, leading me rapidly into the entrance and down the more-than-200 steps to the platform below. Nobody followed us.
#3 looked back to make sure, then we purchased ticktets. "Where to?" I asked.
"Doesn't matter really," she said. "We just need a convenient place to launch a portal."
"I thought Mark said they weren't working anymore..."
"Mark's an idiot," said #3. "Who do you think broke up one of the old portal models and left it for him to find?" she asked my smiling face.
I knew it was her. She ran everything at The Spoof, and had to stay several steps ahead of the 'leadership' at all times.
The train pulled up and we boarded as soon as it stopped. #3 found a place for us to stand alone near an exit. I was trying to think of something romantic to say, when she pulled on the brake line near the exit, causing the whole train to screech to a halt.
#3 grabbed me and pulled me through the opening door and into dark empty space. We fell about 4 feet into a concrete space between the tracks of the subway. #3 pulled out a small box from her pocket and threw it hard on the ground. It exploded, opening a brilliant blue portal swirling at our feet, and, taking my hand, "JUMP!" she yelled.
We jumped hand in hand, and fell for what seemed an eternity. We ended in each other's arms in some tall grass that looked like rice. I smelled the sweet smokeyness of a tropical marketplace. Getting up on an elbow, I could see we were on the side of a road. I heard a voice yelling "Mai ben rai krup, sip baht g'die!" which, in English, I knew, meant, "Never mind, ten baht is fine."
I smiled warmly at #3, and she smiled for the first time since she came to get me in Florida. "Thailand."