- 10:42 AM, November 7, 2015 – Outside TCF Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
The rattly blue Ford Econoline van with the “Magnificent Catering” decals slowly peeling off the sides trundled up Washington Avenue, leaving a faint haze of blue in its wake.
Marcus Boardman drove the van up to the first checkpoint, at the edge of the U of M Campus. There, under the cover of a Social with a huge machine gun in the back, a group of Methodists, backed up by soldiers from the NFL, were checking papers for vehicles coming toward the service gates. He got into the line of vehicles and waited his turn.
“Everyone get your papers ready”, Boardman said. ”They’re checking everyone”.
Fleen, Hendrickson and the Codricius, sitting in the back of the van amid the trays of food, got their passes out.
Boardman hoped they were all in order. That is one huge machine gun, he thought, controlling his breathing as he looked at the gun in the back of the Social. It was the biggest machine gun Marcus Boardman had seen since the huge GAU-8s on the old A-10 Warthogs he’d worked on back in the Air Force. Not quite that big, Boardman thought – at least from the side. From the business end – where he was, now – they all looked like battleship cannon.
He eyed the heat on his van as it idled, gradually moving forward as the vehicles in front of him were admitted.
And finally they were at the front of the line. A pudgy Methodist carrying a menacing black handgun and wearing an old Hennepin County Sheriff hat walked up to Boardman’s door, as Marcus rolled the window down.
“Back unlocked?” the man asked, visibly bored.
“Yep, officer. Go right ahead and check”, Boardman nodded, smiling.
The Methodist, along with another who carried a black pump action assault rifle, walked to the back of the van, and pulled the door open.
Henrickson, the Codricius and Fleen handed over their papers. The doughy man looked at the paperwork, and inspected each of their faces – lingering a little longer with Hana Codriciu, who batted her eyes and smiled.
He man nodded, handed back the papers, and shut the door. ”Go ahead!”
Boardman pulled ahead, and drove to the service entrance, and down under the stadium – right past the Master Control trailer, Fleen noticed.
“OK, everyone”, Fleen said, pointing at the trailer. ”That’ll be our target. Remember where we go to get there”.
Boardman pulled into a parking spot, and the five started unloading trays of food onto two-wheeled carts.