Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Just Not Myself Anymore

Chapter One

I think the first time I heard about Instant Anywhere Holidays was in an ad in the Sunday paper. Yeah, I remember it now... Your typical tropical island. Palm trees. The silhouette of two lawn chairs set up facing the sunset, a wide-brimmed sun-hat peaking out on either side of that chair on the right… Yeah, I remember it clear as can be… The reds and the yellows and the orange streaks in the sky bleeding into each other and down the page.

Shit, I wish I’d worn a raincoat that day. A raincoat is your only protection from the cold in the middle of a Cape Cod winter. Regular coats won’t do you any damn good… they just soak the rain right up and chill you to the bone. I’d chosen a sweater that day. Bad choice. It was only a drizzle at first, but I shoulda known better. Soon a continuous rain was falling from the grey sky above. That sweater sucked the water up like a sponge, and before I knew it, I was sopping, drenched, and shivering. No wonder that ad caught my eye.

Sitting there in the bus stop shelter, freezing my ass off, I noticed a rubbish bin laying, rudely toppled, on its side a few steps out into the rain. An unknown substance oozed from an unlabelled carton. An upturned bin… the culprits were probably just some hooligans out to wreak some havoc.

I’d been hearing more and more those days about marauding bands of youths, breaking and entering houses, scouring them for prescription drugs, brutally attacking the residents, and fleeing into the night… hell, they were getting to cocky that it was broad daylight sometimes! I bet those damn ruffians knocked over this trashcan in one of their drug-induced crime sprees. Ninnies. Ne’er-do-wells. What’s society come to…

Well there I was, ruminating over the nation’s youths and their lack of respect, when I noticed something among the crumpled fast food bags and soda cups strewn about in a mucky mess on the sidewalk. That’s when I saw it. Paradise Found - on a piece of paper. Not this crap, not this depressing shithole around me. Those silhouettes – they were having fun. They were warm. Not a cloud in the sky down in sunny Costa de las Pesadillas. Even a gorgeous name… probably meant “go away tourists, we hate you” in Spanish or Portuguese or something, but, hey, it sounded welcoming. Jeez, I’d have given my left kidney to be down on that beach right then, slurping away at a banana daiquiri, whispering sweet nothings to a wide-brimmed sun-hat silhouette wife. And it’d be warm. Very very warm. God I hate Cape Cod winters.

I darted out from under the shelter to grab the sopping newspaper. I’d underestimated just how wet the paper had gotten though – it fell apart onto the concrete as I ran back for cover, leaving just a jagged, torn half of the ad in my grasp.

HOOOOOOOONK! Thank the Maker the damn bus was here finally. Closer, closer, closer, it came... wait a second, was it even going to stop for me? Oh Hell no, I’m not waiting another 45 minutes in this mess. Flinging my arms up in the air as the bus barreled on by, I dashed towards the road, caught my shoe on the overturned trashcan, and WUMP – face went straight into the curb. I guess the driver must have seen this feat – as I pushed off the ground picking myself up, I looked off down the road. He’d stopped for me. Aching from the fall, I hobbled frantically like a peg-legged pirate in a marathon for that bus – I did NOT want do deal with any more of this shit.

As I climbed aboard, the driver directed a knowing grin my way. Smartass. I reciprocated with a death glare. “How much?” I grumbled, fumbling through my soaked pockets for loose change. He told me, and I threw two American Pound coins into the coin slot and angrily sloshed my way down the aisle, water dripping down and pooling behind me.

Sinking into a seat, and placing my hands on my knees, I noticed something stuck to my palm. There the ad was still, torn and stuck like plaster to my skin… I peeled it off carefully to decipher what I could from the water-blurred text.

Instant Anywhere Holidays!

If you can dream it, we can make it happen! You could be:

Ø Sipping Piña Coladas in Sunny Costa de las Pesadillas!

Ø Skiing in The Snow-capped Mountains and Valleys of The British Alps!

Ø Herding Yaks in Central Mongolia!

Come visit one of our friendly

Instantaneous Travel Centers™

today, and within hours (nay, moments!) you could be having your dream holiday!

And remember:, if you’d come to us yesterday, you’d already be there!!

The FDA and FAA require that we state: Body Reconstruction Surgery (BRS) may cause permanent loss of life, permanent damage to relationships with loved ones, and/or metaphysical paradoxes.

Needless to say, I wanted to know more. As the grey slowly faded into darker grey and the bus wound through the dreary Cape Cod back roads, I decided that I’d had enough. I wanted to be basking in the warm breeze on a beach in the Caribbean, whatever the cost. A day doesn’t pass now where I don’t ask myself: would I have made that same disastrous decision if the opportunity had presented itself instead in the depths of a Florida winter?

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