It was night. Why is always night? An old Air Force buddy, Spencer Faulker had invited me to the movie with him. I followed his truck, and as we arrived we were guided in aircraft-style where to park, adjacent each other between the diagonal yellow lines. Not only was this a theater apparently, it was also a complimentary valet car wash!
We entered the enormous partially-underground concrete bunker and I was surprised such a theater existed. It was also a restaurant! My parents were there having dinner with my wife and kids. I was happy to see them, but lost track of Spence. I re-traced my steps only to find myself back outside in the parking lot. His truck was gone, and not anywhere along the fully-visible car wash route. He'd left me here?
As I came back into the building I was surprised to find little garden snakes in the hallway bumping up against the walls in what appeared to be an attempt at an exit. As I got deeper into the facility, the snakes got larger, and appeared both less like garden snakes, and less interested in bumping against the wall. When I narrowly avoided an attack by one who was decidedly interested in biting me, I was worried how my poor slow-moving mother would be able to avoid the fate I just sidestepped.
That's when the explosion hit. From somewhere deeper in. I was now in a dark hallway, peeking into classrooms filled with personnel in USAF blues uniforms. One door was opened so I went in. This was no theater, it was a military intelligence base, and in the classroom I was in were many people I knew, both from my days enlisted, and from high-school.
Some of the people I didn't know knew me, however. Something I was familiar with when I traveled around the nation after leaving military service. I started gathering information and assisting with the investigation into the bombing, but was embarrassed with the depth of gratitude and honor even from those who far outranked me when they discovered that I had served aboard...the USS Voyager!
I have quite the distinguished service record.