Yellow Brick Road, Inc.
By Jeff Baker
“Okay,” Hillerman said, seated behind the desk in the sunlit office. “Your credit checks out and your forms are all filled. Now all we need from you is a destination.”
Dennis, a short, slender man with glasses and a tie seated in front of the desk looked up at the ceiling thought for a second. “Oh, London, Paris…”
“Mr. Humphrey, any ordinary travel agent can book you to London or Paris. We deal in the extraordinary, not the prosaic.”
“Like what?” Dennis asked.
“Well, instead of Paris as it is today, you could go to a Paris that was always part of a still-thriving Ottoman Empire. Or a London where the advances of the Renaissance never happened and…oh,” Hillerman had been scrolling through a list on a screen. “I’m afraid that one is unavailable.” He shuddered. “Plague.”
“What do most people ask for?” Dennis asked. “To go to, I mean?”
Hillerman sighed to himself. A customer was a customer.
“We had a gentleman a few weeks ago who wanted our Polar Package,” Hillerman said. “New York City under ice. And thriving as I understand. I took him there myself. He stepped through the portal (which in this case manifested itself as a curl of cold water) and found himself in what to him was Paradise.” He shuddered again. “Cold.” He smiled again. “You see, the limits are only those of your own imagination.”
To himself, he thought; good luck with that.
“Nothing with Nazis, I hope,” Dennis said.
“Passage to any variants where the Nazi regime dominates has been effectively blocked,” Hillerman explained. “Too many skinheads, too many fetishists.”
“I wasn’t interested,” Dennis said. “Thankfully.”
“But you are interested in something? Otherwise you wouldn’t be at a travel agency.”
“Yes,” Dennis said. “Someplace closer to here, with free drinks and cable. And no attacking giant insects or invading aliens.”
“You want a staycation, I take it?” Hillerman said with a sigh.
“Yes.” Dennis said. “Do you validate parking?”