Mr Decker is fed up. He consults a Travel Agency for help/
Mr. Decker glanced down at the paper in his hand and confirmed that he was at the right address. His eyes roamed over the many shop signs around him. The one he was after was small, nothing flashy. He had almost overlooked it because of the large neon flickering and glowing images either side of it. He approached and stood hesitant on its threshold. Indecision, his wife always said, was one of his least desirable attributes. He squared his shoulders and took a deep breath. Reaching for the door knob, he turned and pushed. A small bell above his head jingled as he made his way into the room.
It was nothing like what the nondescript door had intimated. Many posters be-speckled the surrounding walls, adding color and light to the small room. A desk almost hidden under a large very high-tech looking computer occupied the center of it. Two overly stuffed, comfortable armchairs were before it. Mr. Decker was startled when a voice appeared to come from nowhere.
“Welcome to Genre Travel.”
He realized he was not alone. He peered around the over sized computer screen. A small bald rotund man looked back at him. He was dressed in a dark, three-piece suit which emphasized quite emphatically his shape. The small man struggled to his feet; gaining nothing in height and circumnavigated the confines of his desk. Mr. Decker stood frozen; like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an approaching car. The little juggernaut came to an abrupt halt and thrust out his hand.
“My name is Prendergast. How may Genre Travel assist you?”
Reaching out, he tentatively accepted the man’s hand. His eyes flickered around the room over the many posters. They were unusual. Prendergast caught the look and a smile blossomed on his face. Without releasing his hand, he steered Mr. Decker into one of the comfortable chairs and plopped himself into the other. Prendergast was still; waiting patiently.
Mr. Decker cleared his throat. “My name is Decker and it’s my 25th anniversary in two weeks.”
“Congratulations,” piped up Prendergast.
“Thank you.” Mr. Decker squirmed in his chair. “The past anniversaries, I have been repeatedly told, were not memorable. I need to do something special for this one.” He squirmed some more.
Prendergast looked on sympathetically.
“I was telling some friends my problems over a few drinks. One of them recommended your travel agency for something completely different and as a possible solution. He would not elaborate, just that I should come and see you.”
Prendergast with a remarkable show of the agility sprang from his chair and moved to the door. The sound of it locking sent shivers of apprehension up Mr. Decker’s spine.
“Just so we are not disturbed,” he said as he returned to the chair. He sat back, making himself comfortable. He raised his hands in front of his face and steepled his fingers as if praying.
“Let me tell you a little bit about Genre Travel. We are not just a travel agency. We are a fully packaged holiday reality. Clients are asked their preferences in regards to what they wish to experience based on literary genres. We then combine these activities with a physical destination. Genre Travel is not advertised and our clientele is strictly word of mouth. We are very much a specialized service and do not come cheaply, but satisfaction is guaranteed. We have been active for the past 20 years. A lot of our business consists of repeat customers. Is this something you are interested in Mr. Decker?”
Decker looked nonplussed. Prendergast crossed his arms over his stomach and leaned forward intently.
“This is what you came for isn't it Mr. Decker?”
Prendergast evaluated the man before him.
He saw a small grey man in a dark three-piece suit. Dark hair with flecks of grey dangled limply over pale blue eyes. He looked tired and run down. Life didn't seem to have done him any favors. Uncertainty and indecision seemed to be ingrained and an air of desperation hung heavily upon him.
Decker lurched to his feet and stood swaying.
“I think there’s been a mistake,” he blurted out and made a rush for the door.
“No, I don’t think so,” the little man said. “You need a holiday and you also need your problems to be over. Am I correct?”
Decker looked wildly around and rattled the locked door.
Prendergast said in a commanding voice, “If you could come and sit down, you can look through my listing of genres, I’m sure we can find something to accommodate you.”
The voice seemed to penetrate and Decker stilled. He slowly turned and walked back to the chair.
“You think you can help me?” he asked as he gingerly took a seat.
“I know I can,” Prendergast said in a smug tone and manner which brooked no argument. He reached into his inside coat pocket and extracted a list.
“This is our special list of genres that we have our clients choose from. Using your selection, I can put you into the perfect destination and situation. I guarantee you will come back rested and without your problems. If I may, I would like to suggest some of the more popular genres that our clients enjoy.”
Leaning forward he began to point out various selections.
“There are a number of types which may suit you. I think we should be looking at the ones where there is an element of danger and the likelihood of an accident. May I suggest, ‘action/adventure, crime/gangster or horror’. For any of these we can organize vacations to any part of the world. The far-flung plains of Africa, the mountains of North America, or the jungles of Asia; all have possibilities. Then there are the bustling metropolises of Caracas, Rio de Janeiro, Baghdad, and Karachi. These are considered among the most dangerous cities in the world; accidents can happen anywhere. That is why we get all our clients to sign waivers before they leave. We also provide insurance policies to offset any extra costs a client encounters when an accident occurs to a loved one.
Prendergast could see the look of confusion on Decker’s face. He quickly hurried on.
"If you wish to be more direct, may I suggest this one.” His finger moved to the bottom of the list.
“Honduras is the murder capital of the world. We have a permanently booked penthouse suite available. Just say the word and it’s yours.”
Prendergast’s small rotund body swelled with pride as he enumerated the many places which his agency had access to. Decker sat stunned in his chair. He could not believe he had even been considering this; but after 25 years, this is what it had come down to. Decker stood up and slowly moved past Prendergast to the door.
“I really need to think about this. I need time to decide. Thank you for your time. Can you please let me out?”
Decker’s voice sounded more and more panicked. His body was shaking and his forehead was sweating. Prendergast sat looking at him for a moment… considering. He got to his feet and moved slowly to the door. Decker shied away from him.
“This really is a one-time offer Mr. Decker. I have other clients interested in our services and I can’t hold this window open. I need a decision now.”
Decker could hear the steel in his voice, but he could still not bring himself to make a decision.
“I really need to think about. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.”
“I’m sorry Mr. Decker, but the services of Genre Travel are now no longer available to you. Good day!” With that he pushed Decker out of the store, shut the door and engaged the CLOSED sign.
Prendergast went and sat back behind his desk. He could see Decker outside his establishment, shaking his head and muttering to himself. He shook his own head and sat silently for a moment. Reaching for the phone, he dialed a number and waited for it to be answered.
“Hello. Your travel arrangements are confirmed… I just need you to come into the office to pay your deposit and sign some forms… No tomorrow will be fine Mrs. Decker… I’ll see you then.
Thank you for deciding to use Genre Travel…Goodbye.”