A chilly December wind whips through the darkened city streets slick from a heavy downpour. A broken umbrella in her hand, a young woman takes shelter under the awning of a storefront she’d never noticed before. A warm glow illuminates travel posters that fill the large bay window, and painted in gold leaf on the glass are the words “Pieces to Paradise”. A sign tucked in the corner says “Yes, We’re Open.” Eager to escape the dreary gloom of the winter night and with a faint curiosity she proceeds to go inside.
“Ding, ding,” chimes a bell above the door. She is greeted by the warmth of a charming little room with a desk full of catalogs, a carousel of old post cards, and a large brass lamp that lightens this peculiar place.
“May I help you?” asks a dapper little man stepping from behind a draped alcove. “Well, actually I…..,” but before she can finish her sentence the man says cheerfully, “Ah, let me guess, you need a vacation? a place to get away? some much needed rest? or somewhere to play?”
She waves her hand, “Oh, no I can’t afford a vacation. And besides, I just started a new job. I can’t take time off right now.” She looks around at the colorful posters advertising seemingly paradisaical destinations. “Although, it would be nice,” she says with a hint of disappointment in her voice.
The man smiles a deep, wide grin, “Well you’re in luck. I may have something here that I can offer you.” He continues, “What if I told you that for less than the cost of a bus ticket, you could travel to a magical new world? A world where you would see wondrous and amazing things? What if when you arrived you could take part in a grand celebration?”
Ignoring her look of skepticism, he continues, “The best part is that you could visit this world as often as you please and spend as little or as much time there as you like. And whenever you need to come back to the real world, you can do so. What if I told you that I can make this possible? Would this appeal to you?”