Chapter 36:

Frankie’s New Business Plan


All throughout the aquatic-themed town, lines leading to rides and crowds of people on their way to join them filled the land like water through a bottleneck. But despite her fear- that gripping, melting feeling she had whenever someone looked at her- one girl in a pinkish hat pushed through them all.

With her sister and a tall member of the park staff trailing behind her, she made her way straight to the center of Makoasis- where she was sure any park government would lie.

“Frankie!” Umi cried. “Just where are you headed?”

“You guys got a sub-owner, a manager or something, right? Gesus couldn’t be here himself.”

“Yes, we-“ The woman panted. “We have an appointed owner, of course. What do you think talking to her’s going to accomplish?”

“I’ll try to make… an announcement or something, to the whole park! I’m sure she’ll listen if I can just tip her a little…”

“Are you crazy? She’ll kick you out for ruining her profits! You can’t possibly match what she brings in from a single day at this place, you know that, don’t you? Even if you offered every cent of that to her, she couldn’t give you a private day here without scheduling it first! People plan trips to this place every hour of every day of every year!”

Frankie groaned, skidding to a halt.

“Thank you.” Umi put her hand on the girl’s shoulder, hoping she wouldn’t pull that kind of stunt again. “Now have you come to your senses?”

As the three stood in the middle of a street, cheap game and food booths to either side, Katie approached her little sister.

“Frankie. I hate to have these words to anyone, but… it just isn’t going to work. You can’t evacuate a whole park without causing some sort of emergency.”

Bile filled Frankie’s throat as the image of a woman in black standing atop rubble filled her mind.

Forcing the horror back down, the lass took a deep swallow and turned to her elder.

“You’re wrong.” She spoke, rife with an angry conviction. “I’m still doing this. In fact, I just came up with a backup plan.”

“Backup plan?”

Frankie stuck her finger at the booth selling plushies beside them, the older, heavyset man behind the counter looking up in confusion.

“See that sucker there…?” Frankie panted. “We’re buyin’ him out, right now. Then I’ll start my own business- where our customers get paid a fortune just to pack their bags and do something else with their stupid day.”

Umi blinked. There were so many questions, so many problems that such a simple plan would create. But the girl was intent on following through.

Katie was shocked as her sister approached the man without an ounce of fear, slapping an emerald mush on the counter.

“This booth… lemme have it for a day. You can keep sellin’ your stuffed animals all you want, just let me run my act from the front. Deal?”

Astonished, the shy fellow murmured as he flipped through her offer with great interest. Inserting it into his pocket, he shook her hand as she grinned.

Katie and Umi watched on in equal parts horror and amazement.

Pope Evaristus
Steward McOy