Tourist Trap

by 6S C1 First Runner-Up Rebecca Jane

Balthazar "Old Bull" Orfanelli, our quick-fisted leader, decided to abandon the usual tricks we play on tourists in favor of a sick joke whose punch line could incite either mass panic or mass laughter, depending on where the visitors come from. Our past swindles included picking pockets, running off with cameras when an unsuspecting couple asked us to help them shoot a photo, or giving Seniors' travel groups bum directions to Times Square. Now, Old Bull removes a smuggled stogie from his chops and releases a purple plume that sends us all into fits, coughing; furtively, Old Bull assures us that we're ready to pull off a high stakes confidence game, and so he instructs us to lure all the tourists who pass through Strawberry Fields by informing them of a trendy must-see spot — New York's secret Whip-Tease-Kissing-Booth-Cultural-Wonder-Booby-Trap Expo; however, only the boldest, most curious tourists can attend, and they must agree to be escorted to the site blindfolded. Just when we win these tourists' trust, we are to lead them on a walk uptown to an abandoned high school once open to pregnant teens until the state closed down all such schools because these Institutions for the Knocked-Up turned out students who performed far worse than their peers at regular high schools where the teachers say with pride, "our babies aren't expecting babies;" but, if you ask one favorite member of our task force, Marla Swarthmore Peabody — who is twenty seven weeks and pissed off because they'll give her plenty of vaginal exams but no Regents Exams, nor will any mainstream public school welcome a girl who's showing — she'll tell you she reads at the sixth grade level, "…which is more than they can say for most NYC P.S. grads!" Anyway, phase two of Old Bull's big con involves locking the blindfolded tourists in the former school building with all the Gray's Papaya they can eat and all the champagne they can drink and forcing them to listen to Paris Hilton's 2006 pop hit, "Stars are Blind" over and over on loudspeakers; we wait for the NYPD to declare a hostage crisis and then negotiate a deal in which we handover our bloated captives on the condition that the U.S. Congress agrees to pump more government money into a project to install a global positioning system between Paris Hilton's breasts so that we can all get our skewed bearings straight as they were back when Ralph Macchio was a teen idol (imagine where we would have installed a GPS on that beloved Karate Kid)! If the tourists-cum-hostages are from any place other than the American Midwest, they'll probably laugh the whole thing off when Congress approves our spending bill, and we set the poor bastards free; yes, this event promises to fly off the proverbial meat rack, so keep up with our intrigue by staying tuned to Fox News; it's Old Bull's hope we get our own HBO series and call it "Tours Gone Wild."

6S - C1

Rebecca Jane writes fiction.