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Guy was a lowly stock boy living in Newark. He had always wanted to vacation in Florida, especially one December when it was oh-so-cold. He also wanted to impress Veronica, his girlfriend. He saw an ad offering half-priced hotel tickets. He noticed an asterisk, though, next to the offer, something about an investment seminar. Guy figured with the money he saved on the hotel, he’d have plenty left over to invest, so he jumped on it.
And when they arrived at the Hiftgorse Hotel south of Miami, the front desk directed them to the concierge, who told them to meet ‘Stan‘ there the next morning. They took a rugged old shuttle bus with some other tourists at the hotel, and drove a long, long way. The highway became an avenue, the avenue a street, and the street a dirt road, until they got deep into the wilderness, a swampy jungle.
This was truly an adventure, Guy thought. Veronica was frightened, though. What if there were snakes, much less alligators. Finally, they arrived at the location, a remote outpost in a camping area that looked like an open-air retreat. Was this the investment property, Guy wondered? It could use some development, but the price would surely be cheap.
Stan introduced them to his friend Ben, a hulking, bear of a man, with a brushy mustache. In a deep, almost gruff voice, Ben started saying good things about investing in the property — that it would go up and up in value, and that they could vacation there any time, and so on. They showed the tourists all kinds of glossy literature picturing the property, once it was developed. Beautiful resort rooms and amenities in a lush, subtropical wonderland, with sandy beaches, a water park, and even a golf course.
Guy was really impressed. Veronica not so much. She thought she noticed a serpent slithering just off the pavement of the veranda. She insisted that Guy take her back to the hotel, right then and there. Guy was crestfallen, but he really liked this girl. Who knows, maybe she’d even let him sleep next to her on the sofa one evening.
So finally he had to interrupt Ben. “Sorry, Ben, but we have to go back now.”
“You’ll go back when everyone else goes back, please. We’re just getting started.”
“But we’ve already decided not to invest here. There’s no point in waiting.”
“In that case, you won’t be going back at all.”
Veronica started to cry. Guy threatened to call the police.
But Ben took out his wallet, opened it up, and flashed a five pointed emblem at them.
And so, to make a long story short, Guy and Veronica became proud timeshare owners. Not that the timeshare itself was ever developed. Properly speaking, they became owners of Florida swampland. To this day, Guy dutifully pays his annual dues, $1,250. He often wonders what they are for.
On the flip side, he and Veronica finally got married. Now only Guy sleeps on the couch. The moral of the story: Never book at Hiftgorse in the South (of Florida).
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