This is a work of fiction.
The resemblance of any character to any living person is purely incidental.
I’m minded to stay overnight in Tombstone, got a good reason, snowed in, no, two good reasons, Talia (without Tat the Cat), but then I get a text from Benson saying he’s already here and parked around the corner and it shreds my fantasy.
I text back saying come into the saloon but he responds by saying the storm is getting bad and we need to get moving while we still can, better hurry.
Two minutes later Talia and I are climbing into the Rover and I see what Benson means, a full-on blizzard, road conditions shot to hell including Route 80 being heaped with heavy snow and no plows coming out until the white stuff stops falling.
Passing Ike’s Mini Market on Route 80 moments later Benson says, “This is where we should buy Powerball tickets!” and he swings the Rover into their carport aside a gas pump that has seen better days, its various parts secured by duct tape.
Ike’s is closing up because of the storm but by banging on the glass door we convince the woman reconciling her cash register to open up and let us inside just long enough to buy lottery tickets.
Benson buys ten tickets and I fork over two bucks on just one sequence of random numbers and fold it into my shirt pocket. I ask Talia if she’d like a ticket, my treat, but she just smiles sweetly and says mine is all we need.
We are off again, moving only fifteen miles an hour due to poor vision and a slippery road in near-whiteout conditions. Not five minutes later we pass a pick-up truck that has overturned by the side of the road going the other way, an emergency crew already on the scene.
And very soon after, nearing Bisbee, we enter a long dark tunnel and… and… it looks and feels so much like the tunnel in my dream that I expect the light at the end to disappear as we drive toward it. But we keep on going, a brief respite from furiously falling snow, until we spill out the other end it feels to me as if we’ve passed through some kind of powerful portal into another dimension. Bisbee is spread out to the left over a large mound coated with fresh white powder, lights twinkling magically. We exit Route 80 and cut a wide loop into town, onto Tombstone Canyon Road, lit up with colored holiday lights still up though the holidays are over, are maybe they’re always there, zigzagging overhead for a quarter mile.
Coupled with the untouched snow on the ground and snowflakes falling, and illuminated by old-time incandescent street lamps, the scene looks like a Christmas card, evoking a sense of magic that touches all three of us, especially Talia, who seems mesmerized by the awesome natural beauty of these precious moments.
Benson slides the Rover alongside a slushy curb outside the Grand Hotel and says, “We took some rooms here. They’re holding their least expensive room for you, ninety-nine bucks. I assumed that would be okay.”
“Very okay.” I say. “Are you and Tat okay slumming it?”
“We have no choice. It’s probably the best place in town, and it’ll do just fine. Funky and authentic. Tat took their Victorian Suite, the most expensive they have. But he wasn’t too happy about lugging his suitcase up a staircase all by himself.” Benson grins. “No elevator, no porter. Oh, and I made a reservation at the best restaurant in town, close to our hotel. Tat’s already there holding a table for us.”