“Shit. He could neither roll the car forward nor backwards. Totally the worst day to happen. But he couldn’t start to feel self-pity. And it definitely wasn’t the day either to run over some protesters. He was tempted to leave his car in the middle of the crowd and sneak into the meeting place. But although his car already had a few bumps, he wouldn’t take the risk to find it towed to impound. Not to mention he would arrive all sweaty to his date. Michal smiled and nodded at the guy looking at him trough the window. He picked up his phone to call Katarina but got her voicemail. Third attempt he left her a message to tell he would be late. And started to wait. Like this morning when he was waiting for some guided directions to pick up the money when he found it in the little plush. And all this time his kitten was playing with it. Those guys had a strange sense of humour.
The crowd was getting thinner and soon he saw the last pedestrians. Without further ado, he put the car into reverse and pulled out of the narrow street to find out Katarina wasn’t at the restaurant. He tried to call her again but could only reach her voicemail. She didn’t seem to be the person who stand up but he felt a bit disappointed. He didn’t know where she was living and now the school would be closed for the next two weeks for vacation. And he would be away as well.
Last week he got his answer from Fabulous Cruise. He couldn’t believe it was his confirmation attendance and his tickets. He would be on this year! It has been the dream of his life for the past decade. Applying every year with no chance, hoping to go for it the next year and then watching every live stream, breaking away from his rut. Fabulous Cruise wasn’t just the worldwide biggest festival on a ship, it was the place to be, to be seen and to be amazed. It was actually a 10 day cruise from Bergen in Norway to the Greek island Santorini going through some beautiful locations along the way in Scotland, Normandy, Algarve and Sardinia. But most people would usually stay on board. Because it wasn’t just a regular cruise: the primary concept was to mix a wedding, a funeral and a cosplay competition all along the cruise.
Over the years, it also became some kind of eclectic art gathering with stages and live performances because artists and bands were applying as well. Since its creation, the concept has become so successful people from all around the world would want to join so it was harder to be part of it. Every year, Fabulous Cruise would open the online participation to select the winners who would get the chance to come. Because that was it: every passenger would be randomly chosen. Even crew members selection would be determined by random drawing – even though they would have to attend a specific training to meet the Fabulous Cruise standards.
There were also specific VIP pass you could win, often based on personal challenges passengers would only discover once on board. Like the lucky couple who agree to have their wedding celebration during the cruise would get it for free as honeymoon gift. Because the participation fee was 2 000 euros for every passenger once accepted by the process. And Michal was finally once of the 5000 winner of the year. He felt like the king of the world.
Back from his missed date, he packed his stuff for the next day and left his kitten to his neighbour. He was ready for his flight to Bergen.
On the queue to board the Fabulous, right in the middle of the Fjords, Michal was really feeling how lucky he was. As usual, the cruise was starting with the cosplay parade and some of the participants were already wearing their homemade costumes. He could also feel the excitement coming from all the soon-to-be cruise passengers around him. When he arrived at the gate, the welcoming host gave him an envelope with his name written on it. He waited to be in his cabin to open it. He actually won an ‘open every door pass’! He could go wherever he wanted on the ship for the whole day. Time for a little visit.
Following a waiter, he ended up in a kitchen where the famous French pâtissier Pierre Hermé was filling some extra macaroons in the middle of a cacophony of orders. Michal took a slice of gingerbread with liverwurst and a verrine apparently made of red berries and cookie dough. The buffet would be a hit this year again. On his way to the upper desk where the parade was taken place, he thought he could be nice to have some costume as well. He stopped in front of one of the artist’s dressing room. Using his pass to enter, he found out that all the cupboards were almost empty. He picked up a blindfold and a cape so he could pretend to be whatever.
When he arrived on the desk, he entered a whole new world. A moving and colourful one. A steampunk musketeer hugged him. He stepped onto it. There were a lightsaber show on stage. Princess Mononoke and Rambo were having a toast with Freddy Krueger and the Big Bad Wolf. Some police investigators were attending a cocktail class. Not far away, a slightly drunk version of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was karaoke singing the good old classic from Mungo Jerry in front of a chilled audience. There was a whole bunch of vampires getting a sun tan in chaise lounge.
One of the police officer offered him a cocktail and he sat with some zombies. The chat was about guessing what would be this year’s surprises. Rumours were already spreading about the funeral of a really famous US Marine. On his right, an old lady whispered to him she was the lucky bride of the week. She had been dating her girlfriend for almost 40 years without being married and she finally got a cruise honeymoon. Michal could see her cheeks blushing. He was picturing the nice couple with their bridesmaids and the crowd wearing fancy dress in the Indian summer coming to end. He felt happy.’’
The given words this time were: Cookies, Rain, Cruise Ships, Family Pictures, Empty Cupboards, the Big Bad Wolf, Bridesmaid Dresses, Freddy Krueger, Summertime sadness, Cacophony, Liverwurst, Spaghetti, Alien invasion, Police investigation, Honeymoon, Vampires, Funeral of a Marine + the song In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry =)
I took the freedom not to use exactly some of them but that what is nice with writing constraints/games, you can just get the inspiration from it, connect the words to see what feeling and direction they give you and they will lead you to something that make sense – and this is exactly what happened and how I got the idea of the Fabulous Cruise I decided to follow, which also create its typical atmosphere =)
Feel free to comment below to make what happen next!