Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to our travel agency. How may we help you today?
Oh, I see. You’re interested in our moon tours, Lunar Odysseys as we like to call them. Here’s one of our brochures describing the current tours. As you can see, we have all sorts of themes and price ranges. How much were you planning to spend?
Yes, well. If you will permit me to be so bold, I do recommend the Serenity Sojourn. It is one of our most, most popular tours. Especially appealing to the Zen crowd. The tour’s main attractions are visits to the Sea of Serenity and the Sea of Tranquility. There are side trips to the Lakes of Solitude and Softness, the Bay of Harmony and the Marsh of Sleep. All meals are included in the price. Raw food at that. And you get daily yoga and meditation instruction. How does that sound?
No? I will admit the Serenity Sojourn is usually appealing to our young singles. Perhaps you’d prefer something designed specifically for couples? This one here, the Bountiful Breather, could be exactly what you are looking for. As you can see, it includes visits to the Seas of Fecundity and Nectar. Plus you get to see the Lake of Spring, the Bay of Love and the Bay of Rainbows. And let me tell you that the luxurious accommodations on board the moon yacht truly make this one special. An endless supply of exotic video is available in each room. I know you won’t be disappointed.
Still not to your liking? Well, we do have one other in your price range, the Mystical Migration. This is for those who want something more offbeat. In this one, you would tour the Sea of the Edge and the Sea That Has Become Known. Also the Lake of Time, the Lake of Dreams and the Marsh of Epidemics. And you’ll have the opportunity to attend seminars on the history of Alchemy and Magic. Are you into that sort of thing?
Hmmm. Everything else we have available is out of your price range, I’m afraid. What’s that? The Decadence and Destruction Detour? No, no, we have nothing like that.
Where did you get that brochure?! We were assured that all of those had been vaporized. I must insist that you give it to me. Sir! Please! Hand it over!
Fine. I’ll tell you about it. Not that it will do you any good. The tour encompassed the Ocean of Storms and the Sea of Crises along with the Lakes of Death and Fear and the Marsh of Decay. The most intriguing part was an on-board murder mystery that actively involved our tourists in the developing story-line. It was in fact a very popular tour, one that required booking months in advance.
What happened? Over time, it began to attract more and more unsavory participants. These were not people who necessarily looked undesirable but rather those with something cold inside. Sorry but it’s the only word that seems right — cold. Though we prohibit bringing weapons on our tours, they were always trying to smuggle daggers, swords and even guns past our security. And the poisons were simply impossible to control. They wanted to play our murder game for real, you see. Still the tour was very, very profitable and our executives thought the risk could be managed. We had a few injuries where generous settlements were made to the victims. Then, of course, the inevitable happened. Someone died – stabbed to death in his bed. You can’t fix death.
Sounds like fun? Seriously? I was the tour guide on the last Decadence and Destruction Detour, one of the few employees still willing to work that tour in return for a very large bonus. I can assure you it was not fun. The murderer was never identified. Most of us spent the entire return journey in mortal fear. No. Not fun. No amount of money would have induced me to guide another one after that. Like I said, death can’t be fixed.
Look, I realize it can be hard to understand why a company would discontinue a profitable endeavor. There was actually some serious talk about continuing the tours with at least one murder guaranteed as part of the package. Some on the management side thought the tours could be marketed as a form of Russian Roulette, estimating there were enough people out there who would be drawn in by that kind of risk. Imagine it. “Kill or Be Killed! Which one will it be? Take our Decadence and Destruction Detour if you dare to find out!” Fortunately, saner heads prevailed and the tours were discontinued. I mean, did we really want to be known as the home of the death tours?
Too bad, sir. Honestly, I don’t really care what you think. If you want that kind of tour, you must look elsewhere.
No, I don’t know of any other agency that offers one. Now, may I have that brochure? Thank you. Good day to you!
© Karen Kleis – All Rights Reserved
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