Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Valley of Doom ‘Hidden Harms’ -- they’re hiding in the middle of nowhere

By Death
Staff Gloom & Doom Writer

It’s the journey that matters, not the destination. But the destination is the Valley of Doom.

If you’ve spent the money on the plane ticket and you’ve already put down a deposit on the room at Doc Howliday’s Hotel and Saloon, then chances are you’ve come to realize the Valley of Doom is really just one big desert. Maybe you knew that coming in, but now you sure’s well know there isn’t a whole lot to do here.

Bear with me a moment. If life’s all about the journey and not the destination, then that means it’s the little things that count. And I got a slew of little things here just dying to eat you, and then some.

Here are a bunch of little great things you’ll find in the Valley of Doom that you’ll just love:

Clean shave
Stop by Butcher’s Barbershop and Meat Market in Border Basin for a clean shave. There’s nothing like it. Even if you plan on going nowhere for the next few months (and if you’re in the Valley of Doom, you ain’t goin’ nowhere for at least a few months), there’s something about a sharp blade against your skin (or scales, depending on your orientation) that really takes the cake. It’s when that blade gets to your neck and the barber slips . . . You can’t buy that kind of pleasure. (Getting butchered at Butcher’s, by the way, is $1.99.)

Food waiting for you
Stop by any hole-in-the-wall eatery in Border Basin, and you’ll smell food cooking. You’re very tired, you had a long day in the heat, and you haven’t got the energy to cook your own grub. Try the Broken Spoke. Can you smell that steak and those potatoes and beans? The food’s always waiting for you at your table. It’ll wait for you to sit down. Then it’ll jump up and get you in one big bite.

All eyes on you
Go into any saloon in Monster Mesa just outside of Border Basin, and all eyes are on you, stranger. The talking stops. The piano stops. Don’t you just love that silence? What follows is pretty much your destruction.

The Monster Mountain Mine in Monster Mesa has a rickety ol’ railroad that’ll take you deep into the farthest depths of the mountain. Ghosts are at play in there. And bats come swooping down on you from every angle. The real pleasure comes when you hear that BOOM sound. Folks just love that racket, especially when there’s no time to get back out of the mine. Even the runaway mine train is nowhere to be found because it usually runs away while you’re admiring the rock formations inside the mountain. That BOOM sound is from the dynamiting. BOOOOOOOOM! BAM! CRASH! It’s the little things . . .

Out there in the Valley you can shout and hear your echo. It’s a child’s joy, but we all love doing it. However, I think we can all agree that it’s the growl that follows that makes us smile most, especially when it’s the actual growl you hear, not just the echo. The beast is close.

Waking up in the middle of nowhere
Just when you thought it was all a dream, you wake up from your heat exhaustion snooze and find yourself in the middle of the hottest desert anywhere, full of deadly predators and no water whatsoever. It’s a dream come true.

You’re in a mummy’s tomb somewhere in Tombtown. It’s full of cobwebs. And dust! Lots and lots of dust. There’s dust in your nose, dust in your throat, dust in your lungs . . . You can’t even breathe because there’s so much dust in you and all around you. Gesundheit. You’re welcome.

The flute
Ah, Mummy’s Marketplace in Tombtown -- it’s crowded with monsters buying and selling goods. Suddenly you hear that most pleasing sound: the flute. It makes such beautiful music. Those snakes coming out of the baskets near you are the real treats.

Amulet of Doom
There’s nothing like a night out at the Kafe Klaris in Tombtown (the famous mummy crooner, Klaris, just opened the swinging place a couple hundred years ago). Good food, good entertainment from the Klarisketeers . . . and good fortune from the Amulet of Doom, which is in your coat pocket. You may not even know it’s there until it’s too late. Good times.

Your bed all made up for you
It’s been a long day, you’ve had all the terrors and doom you can stand. You go into the Oasis in Tombtown for some rest and relief. There’s a bed made up for you. Don’t you love the feel of fresh sheets? And when the tombkeepers wrap you in all those bandages, and then the lid of the sarcophagus closes on you -- never to be opened again for all of eternity -- you know it’s all over. Talk about simple pleasures. Tony Bennett may’ve sung a song about leaving his heart in San Francisco, but if he were with you now in the Valley of Doom, he’d have a whole lot more to sing about leaving behind in this place. 

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.

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