In my way out of Denver, expecting another string of delays, I decided to continue writing the spooks story I began writing on the way to town. It had proven to be an amusing and effective pastime and my expected arrival at 2:35am to Santa Fe, would provide an attractive setup for its end.
My few obligations in Denver were over, and after the much-awaited farewell, I was sitting in an almost empty bus, waiting for it to get filled. My imagination raced. Where would the counterintelligence professionals place themselves within the bus to comfortably watch over the protagonist? Most probably across and behind him. What would make then invisible? I could make them a young couple, not too attractive, and in love. How would my protagonist disclose them? He could photograph them and watch their reactions...
The bus left a few minutes before 7pm, less than 10 minutes late, almost full and with an air conditioner operating strongly enough to frighten polar bears. Thus, while holding the passengers unable to protest due to our trembling mouths, the driver announced that the next meal stop would be in Albuquerque, an hour after my leaving the bus in Santa Fe. However, by now considering myself well prepared to confront Greyhound oddities, I couldn't but congratulate myself for having prepared basic survival goods for at least a couple of days. You never know with them. A bag of fruits and snacks, bottled water, a thermos of coffee and an almost empty notebook promised salvation under most vicissitudes.
While writing in my notebook the former paragraphs, I noticed such a couple in the anticipated location and amused moved to one of the seats in the back of the bus. Would they follow? Would they enter the restrooms to make inconspicuous phone calls regarding my protagonist's moves? Or maybe to check if there was a message written with some invisible ink? The thoughts warmed me up and a coffee out of my thermos completed the job.
At 20:15 we stopped at Colorado Springs greyhound terminal for a bit over 10 minutes and then for 20 minutes—despite the announced 10—in Pueblo almost an hour later. My couple left here, and left me without material for my story.
Suddenly, at 22:11, the bus stopped at such a speed that the driver had difficulties to control the bus. He began moving between the seats, openly sniffing the passengers' heads. He left me for a few seconds wondering about the unexpected exposure of local oddities, when he picked up a passenger who was smoking and invited him to a motivation talk outside the bus. Moments later, he called his neighbor. Both returned to their seats with a mere warning and we left.
Twenty minutes before midnight, we stopped at Raton, the northern entrance to New Mexico for a few minutes. After 02:30am, I was left alone at Santa Fe's terminal and the hot weather melted the coffee in my thermos in a matter of minutes.