By Colin Itkwits
Staff Re-EEEK!-tirement Writer
Staff Re-EEEK!-tirement Writer
Monsters have a hard time coming to the decision to retire.
That’s why Del SpiderWebb, the developer behind the Black Lagoon retirement community, and his team of retirementeers are scattered throughout Transyl-vein-ia recruiting those who aren’t even interested in retiring, but who eventually will be all for it.
Taking their posts at train stations, airports and rocket landing fields everywhere, SpiderWebb’s retirementeers greet the hundreds of arriving vacationers at curbside with free bus rides to the Black Lagoon Sanitarium. Many monsters will say they’re on their way to seek out the gems and jewels of the Carpathian Mountains or to run with the werewolves in Werewolftown.
Action and adventure isn’t exactly what these vacationers need, the retirementeers will tell them. Most monsters, they say, if they’re on vacation, are too sick.
If you’re in your 100s, 200s or older, it’s time to start thinking about moving beyond the scare-focused life you’ve led. It’s time to settle down and think about scaring recreationally.
SpiderWebb and his team have found that most ghouls and goblins considering retirement have the following two conflicting thoughts about calling it quits:
1) Enthusiasm -- “I’ll finally get to reap the rewards from my decades and decades and decades and decades of scaring.”
2) Fear (not the good kind) -- “What will I do when I retire, and will I be successful?”
The above simultaneous thoughts push monsters toward retirement and pull them away from it all at the same time. And while that painful tug of war with your body might sound like fun, it’s really quite the dilemma, especially for all you scare-a-holics out there.
Those monsters who just can’t stop scaring and wreaking havoc on the world have to realize that life isn’t over (it never ends if you’re a monster -- you know this), especially if you settle down in the Black Lagoon.
Take, for example, the Brunch Cruise on the Lagoon. Sounds boring if all you want to do is scare, right? Think again. The Brunch Cruise allows guests the opportunity to stop off during various parts of the journey to visit and terrorize humans on the shores who are innocently picnicking. Talk about a blast. The cruise also stops all boats carrying humans so that guests can capsize these crafts and send people deep into the various abysses of the lagoon. Can it get more fun than that?
You might think the Bingo halls in the many Black Lagoon recreation centers are all about playing Bingo. Well, they are. That’s because Bingo is fun, especially if you’re a brain-dead zombie, so check that out.
But SpiderWebb will tell you new retirees tend to mostly enjoy the classes that the Black Lagoon has to offer. Monsters grappling with the idea of retirement are stuck wanting to accomplish bigger scares. That’s why SpiderWebb and his team offer learning opportunities -- to fill that gap.
Go to any recreation center in the community and you’ll find all sorts of educational opportunities. One of the more popular courses to take is tomb engraving. Students enjoy coming up with their own epitaphs and even those for their children and little grandchildren and their little grandchildren. They make for excellent birthday gifts and Christmas presents. Seriously, how excited would you be to unwrap a customized headstone as it pertains to your demise or, better, someone else’s demise?
Black Lagoon apparitions can also take classes on how to be wall monsters. Many ghosts may find it easy going through a wall from one room to the next, but contrary to belief, it’s actually a difficult task to move vertically through the wall from one story to another. When you think about it, don’t we all typically take the stairs? At Wall Monster Manor in Haunted Mansion Row, expert wall monsters from the human world will show you how to “up” (and down) your spooking game.
Many of those monsters contemplating retirement might ask, “Why would anyone need to learn all this stuff if we’re just retiring?”
Here’s why: The Black Lagoon is filled with portals to the human world, so you’re not ending your scaring at all.
SpiderWebb spared no expense when he was developing his retirement community. He flew in covens of witches on their brooms from Witches Meadow to install year-round portals in all Black Lagoon homes so that monsters, ghouls and goblins can hop into the human world at their leisure to scare people, then return when they’ve had their fun.
According to SpiderWebb and his retirementeers, monsters no longer have to be stuck haunting the same folks in the same setting forever and ever. Instead, they can do it on their own time. That’s the benefit of retirement that SpiderWebb is selling.
But some creatures just won’t change. And that’s just one more reason, according to SpiderWebb and company, for them to retire to the Black Lagoon. These types of monsters are sick in the friggin’ head.
And so, a free bus to the Black Lagoon Sanitarium makes good sense after all. When retirementeers grab and drag you into their transports, they’ll first take you to Bayou Landing at the entrance to the Black Lagoon for some more convincing.
Those who can withstand the many tortures there and who can remain adamantly against signing Black Lagoon retirement agreements are typically tossed into Thing Swap, and the various swamp things there will make one last attempt to convert you into a retiree before they do away with you permanently. That or they send you to the Cypresses where mad doctors simply turn you and others like you into alligator people. You lose all ability to think freely and you then just go where you’re told.
In the end, you all sign those Black Lagoon residency papers, and you board the bus again for the Sanitarium where you’ll be pronounced mad.
To be dead or mad -- that is the life!
This is one in a series of TRAVEL STORIES from the 13 districts of Transyl-vein-ia. These stories run weekdays between August and September. Jack-o’-Lantern Press’s regular news and entertainment coverage will continue in October.