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A Sign Of Things To Come

A Sign of Things to Come
Ginny — 22 Sep 1998, 8:23 AM

Ann-zan Lang had been anticipating Race Day for weeks. Now that it was finally here, she could honestly say that it was everything that she had dreamed it would be. She was debating whether to go place a side bet on Tom Janeway or have a refreshing beverage at Quark's nearby refreshment stand, when a distinguished gentleman in a camel duster approached her.

"Are you Miss Lang?" he asked the perky, dark-haired girl.

"Yessir," Ann-zan replied, carefully considering the man before her. There was something vaguely familiar about his face, but she was almost certain that she had never met him before.

The man continued. "I was speaking with a friend of yours just a moment ago, and she thought you might be able to tell me where Kathryn Janeway has gone."

Ann-zan's face brightened. "Well, sure. I saw her head off down Main Street with Betsy and an outlandishly dressed gypsy woman."

"Do you know where they were going?" The man asked, shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his duster and wondering absently who Betsy was.

"Let me think." The girl pursed her pretty mouth and thought for a moment. "I believe I overheard them say that they were going to..." Ann-zan lowered her voice to a whisper and gave a quick look around. "...the Provencal."

The man replied in a similarly subdued voice. "And what's the Provencal?"

"Well," Ann-zan said slowly. "I'm not really supposed to know, being a good Baptist girl and all, but I think it's some sort of exotic pet store."

The man looked confused. "Exotic pet store?"

Ann-zan nodded enthusiastically. "Yessir. I've heard my daddy call it 'that infernal cathouse' a dozen times."

The man unsuccessfully tried to suppress a smile. "Ah, I see. And where might I find this establishment?"

The smile made him look even more familiar to the Lang girl. "It's just a couple of blocks east on Main Street. You can't miss it. It has a sweeping porch, big double doors, and red portieres in the windows."

The man reached out, took the girl's hand, and bowed over it. "Thank you, Miss Lang. You've been very kind." And he turned and walked off down the street.

Ann-zan stared at her hand, which was still outstretched, and then dropped it to her side. Isn't that funny? she thought to herself. Tom Janeway does a little bow just like that.