Travel Mates

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Deal

“Please,” the man said. “Come in.” He gestured to the door behind him. Suzie, Paul and Kira shuffled in, dazed and a little pissed, past the man who was well-mannered enough to hold the door for them all. He was wearing a Burberry suit that probably cost twelve hundred dollars and he had a magnificent British accent. “Please call me John.”

The office they entered looked just like the office of a man with a Burberry suit and a British accent. It was all dark woods, rich leathers and plush carpets. The man took a seat in a massive leather chair behind the desk. Suzie remained standing by the door, hands firmly wedged in her pockets. Kira and Paul took seats on a couch which was so soft, Paul figured he’d need a crane to pull him out of it.

“Our apologies for the slight deception,” the man said. “The Traveler's Club is most exclusive and secretive. Many precautions must be taken.”

“So the rats in a cage thing is precautious?” Suzie mumbled from her post. She seemed unwilling to stray from the door, lest they all get locked in with the man Paul was already thinking of as Jeeves.

The man ignored her or pretended not to hear. “The Club, or Company, would like to offer each one of you a deal.” He opened up a large drawer under the desk and extracted three envelopes. He got up and handed one to each of the three contest winners.

Paul saw that the envelope had his name on it. He slid his finger across the glued seal and opened the envelope, shaking out its contents into his hand. A single piece of paper came out. It was a bank check, made out to him, in the amount of $7,500. He whistled. He could tell from Suzie and Kira’s reactions that they were equally impressed. “That’s a lot of bread, Jeeves.”

“Indeed. Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Dollars to each of you.”

Kira broke the thoughtful silence. “You said there was a deal, John.” Paul sensed an almost desperate quality in her voice.

John smiled at her, like a kindly grandfather. “Yes. Indeed there is. The checks are in your names. You can take them right now as your prizes for winning the contest and simply walk away. Or…” he trailed off. They all waited for the other shoe to drop. Even Suzie seemed to move forward from the door post to hear the great “or”. “The other choice is to give the money back and instead take the option originally presented to you. The travel experience of a lifetime.”

“Yeah,” said Suzie. “We keep hearing about this so-called adventure of a lifetime. But maybe it’s time to elaborate a little.”

“Oh trust me, Ms. Suzie,” John replied with a condescending smile. “You will go places and see things…” he trailed off. “It’s far more rewarding than taking Japanese tourists on weekend jaunts in the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Suzie’s jaw dropping was almost cartoon-ish.

John’s face was back to Paul. “Consider well. The money would buy you a new computer for your writing, plus pay the rent on your, ah, living quarters for several months.” Not to mention pay for a couple of steaks at a halfway decent place, Paul thought.

“And Kira, consider this. The travel experience of a lifetime is the chance to get away from some situation you are in now.” He stared at her, knowing and hard. “Or from someone perhaps. Though on the other hand, the money could allow for somewhat of a fresh start.

“And Ms. Suzie.” Strongly condescending again. “Even a professional like you cannot dream of the type of experience this would allow for you. One of your adventurous nature would regret not going your entire life. And besides,” the grandfatherly smile was back, “what’s money to someone like you?”

With that, John sat back in his chair, leaning forward slightly. “Under normal circumstances, we would give you some time to decide. Obviously, this is a fairly difficult choice. However, the travel experience begins soon. There is a private plane waiting at Henderson Airfield right now for those who choose to go. It leaves in two hours. And please,” he waved them all off with his gesturing hands, “let’s not go through the theater of you claiming that you could not possibly leave on such short notice. We know perfectly well that all of you can. So, let me put it in terms you all can understand. The time has come, as you Americans say, to put up or shut up."

***

A heavy, almost disbelieving silence descended. After about ninety seconds, Paul broke it. He looked at Kira and Suzie more than Jeeves. “Don’t know about you kids, but for me this is a no-brainer.” He smiled. “Seventy five hundred bucks aint enough bread to retire on anyway. Tell you what Jeeves, you keep the money, I’ll get on that plane. Never been on a private plane before. Hope it has a stocked bar.”

“Excellent Paul.” John turned to the remaining players. “Well, ladies. We need some answers from you both as well. And as I said, we need them right now.”

10 Comments:

Blogger The Real Neo said...

Well done, mate. Seriously, extremely well written post and the story flowed.

THANK YOU TECHNICAL DEPARTMENT FOR FINALLY CHANGING THE BACKGROUND. NOT ONLY IS IT MUCH EASIER TO READ FROM BUT IT FITS WITH THE GENRE OF YOUR PIECE.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Elster said...

How r you TT? Thanks for the kind words. Glad to count you as a reader.

11:21 AM  
Blogger The Real Neo said...

Still waiting to hit my stride Elster but I'm getting there. I have been a loyal reader of this story from the beginning. I'm a big fan, in fact you guys can't write them fast enough.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

Well TT you are in luck. We are trying to ick up the pace. Onky Tomboy's unreliability can slow us down now.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Tomboy said...

My WHAT?

Call it my hierarchy of time-wasting values, will you?

8:49 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

Unreliability by any other name...

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NEW INSTALLMENT PLEASE!

--formerly The Tailor

6:03 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

The Management sincerely apologises for the delay of the next installment of Travel Mates. It will be up shortly. Thank you for your patience.

On a side note - What happened to your site TT?

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for a change elster, needed to get a little underground, bak to blogging for himself. Great, now he is on a 3rd person kick!

TT

10:55 AM  
Blogger Elster said...

But how will we find you T? You are too underground

3:39 PM  

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