Samuel E Evans

“Shipping Out” by David Foster Wallace

Progym: Fable

“Luxury Megalines’ brochures are always magazine-size, heavy and glossy, beautifully laid out, their text offset by art-quality photos of upscale couples tanned faces in a kind of rictus of pleasure … Every Celebrity staff member takes pleasure in making your cruise a completely carefree experience and treating you as an honored guest (36-37).”

“Vacation is the ultimate form of relaxation,” says a man. He basks in a reclined deck-chair upon the deck of a massive sea vessel floating upon the Caribbean sea, somewhere between Miami and Kingston. He appears to be in his late 50s, is coated in sunscreen, and wears only a pair of swim trunks and flip-flops. He holds a magazine up before him, largely blocking the sun from hitting his face.

“Yes, and cruises are the ultimate vacation,” responds his wife, who lays on a similar chair next to him, her face shaded by an oversized sun-visor as she reads something on her tablet. A man staggers past, his face looking somewhat green from seasickness.

“The ocean is the best place to truly get away from everything, isn’t it,” says the man, as his phone buzzes and he turns instinctively to look at it.

“Undoubtedly,” responds the woman, not looking away from her iPad, “it really is the top-flight luxury experience as well, isn’t it?” As she is speaking a roar of laughter from a nearby onboard bar erupts, nearly drowning her out.

The man nods, and adjusts himself in his chair, flipping the page of his magazine. “We’re just here to pamper ourselves, and the staff is here to make our experience the best it can be,” he says, and looks up slightly as a Filipino waiter offers him a drink, “no, no thank you.” The woman sighs and sits up in her chair, setting down her tablet and turning to look at her husband.

“Let’s go sit in the cabin for a little while, I’ve had enough of the heat for now.” The man nods in agreement. The pair begin gathering their things, and as they get up, the man drops a flier. “Royal Antilles Cruises,” it reads, “Vacation is the ultimate form of relaxation, and cruises are the ultimate vacation. Come on your perfect trip with Royal Antilles Cruises, and escape to the ocean, the best place to truly get away from everything. We offer a top-flight luxury experience, and we allow you to pamper yourself, assisted by staff who are there to make your experience the best it can be.” The leaflet flutters gently to the ground.

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