♥This story won the Award of the Best Travel Fiction Story at Travel University in January 2012
A Nіghtmаrе Discount Flight
by John Chrzaszcz
They say that life is like Discount Flights, you never know what you're going to get. Claire never thought they meant it literally, though. She always thought it was more of a mеtарhor. But as she stared at the discount ticket she had just purchased, and saw that her destination was "somewhere", she couldn't help but appreciate how accurate the saying was. It had seemed like such a good deal. Purchase a discount flight to a random destination, and make up for in cost savings what you lost in preparation, safety and peace of mind. Claire didn't mind though. She considered it an exciting adventure! Besides, she wasn't made of money. A mystery flight was better than no flight. Claire was a frugal young woman of 21, with flaming red hair and a keen eye for any bargains. She was always up for anything, especially if it involved mystery. Her friends had long stopped questioning her random solitary walk abouts. Sure, they might think she was a tad crаzу, but that fact was easily balanced out by the fact she always brought back such quality souvenirs.
She started to get ready to board her plane. She had packed lightly, only a single carry-on bag. What was the point of packing if you didn't know where your flight was going? She sure would be embarrassed if she packed a parka and wound up in the Sahara. She found her seat on the plane, got comfortable, and proceeded to nap through the pre-flights patter. If she had bothered to pay attention and find out so much as where she was going on this wacky discount flight adventure, it wouldn't have changed any of the events to come. But she might have been at least slightly better prepared.
The honourable Count Virgin Branson gazed up at the newest plane entering his magnificent country "Count Virgin Branson Island", located on a remote Pacific island.
He watched it fly directly into his prison compound. It was all too easy, really. Create a fake Discount Flights service, offering impossibly low rates to lure people in, and then enslaving them once they arrived on his island. Yes, this was truly the simplest way to support a labour force for his factories dedicated to making Discount Flights brand t-shirts, cheap video games, and deadly, deadly firearms.
Count Virgin Branson was a simple man in most respects. Short, neat hair cut. Finely tailored suit. And where a normal person might curse the parents that named a child "Count", he found it inordinately hilarious, as evidenced by his insistence on plastering the word Virgin on everything he produced. Personally he pitied anyone incapable of seeing the hilarity of someone named Virgin Count having a Discount airline.
Yes, he might have gone far in life if not for the one respect where he was, in fact, not simple at all. That being of course his predilection towards inordinately complicated plans. Some people were born to build a better mouse trap, but he was born to hatch a 17 phase plan to catch a mouse, involving intricately designed traps, psychological warfare, and lots of pyrotechnics. This is the sort of man who saw no flaws in a plan to run an illegal sweat shop empire by kidnapping people one jet load at a time. A dangerously insane man. Count Virgin Branson looked up to see yet another Discount Flights jet descend into his compound.
"One plane full of suckers, two planes full of suckers, ah ah ah ah", he laughed. Hilarious.
Claire woke up in confusion. The last thing she could remember, she was drifting off listening to Metallica on her iPod. But now... she was in some sort of jail? In who-knows-where, with no means to contact her friends and family? Well, it wasn't the worst discount flight she had ever been on. She'd rather be imprisoned than endure another trip to the history of baking museum. She still sometimes woke up to nightmares about the origins of rye bread. She shook her head. She really should focus on getting out of this prison, or at least find out what the hell was going on. She looked around her cell. It seemed fairly nondescript, standard prison-chique. She did however notice that she had a cellmate. "Hi, what's your name!" asked Claire. "AhHah ahaAh another newbie oh dear-lamb to the slaughter oh no Count Virgin Branson hail Count Virgin Branson you get used to the it dead oh dear... Jill. My name was Jill.... now... only known as dedicated Count Virgin Branson worker number one hundred and three"