"Come and see me when you ladies are ready to move on with your next stage in pleasure education. Our beauty precludes us." Penelope frowned at her own words and read a sheet of paper resting on the table. "Precedes us, our beauty precedes us, sorry, if our beauty precluded us, our beauty would not allow us to be, fortunately we are, and our beauty is as well. Come with us and your pleasure will grow by an order of magnitude. Good bye and thanks for watching our infomercial with 'Pink Gogo' Airlines, the official Elony air transportation, an all-inclusive beauty lotion available in the Caribbean with your one click buy button on the resting pad of your seat right beside the small statue lamp of our Buddha patron, for only fifty thousand dollars a bottle." Clarity felt the arm of Flower grip her forearm, as the image of Penelope flashed off the screen.
"That´s crazy," said Flower, "fifty thousand dollars for a bottle of lotion."
"Yes, something´s wrong, we´re in a deep mess, I think," said Clarity, "but I´m not sure how exactly, I don´t understand the point of this lotion."
After the plane landed, a man dressed in a black suit with matching tie, and a golden iguana pinned to it, walked in front of them, returning passports to the passengers.
"Welcome to Nassau in the Bahamas, the after hours party you´ve decided to attend takes place this evening at the Neria B night club in Nassau. Samples of Elony will be provided there and a few of you will move on to our second stage in our personal growth services." The man, showing a scar running down his cheek, all the way to his chin, stopped in front of Clarity. She smiled faintly, knowing they were being singled out.
"You weren´t part of the original passengers, were you?" Clarity held his stare and took a deep breath before answering.
"Not exactly, in a way, we´re carry through in transit customers from Lofty Bank, personal guests of Mr. Buddha Talk," said Clarity.
"I see, passports and wallet, please," said the man. Breathing uncomfortably, Clarity took out her passport and handed it to the crumby man, along with Flower´s passport. By then, all passengers had left, and the hostess was closing the door. Boldly, she decided not to give the man their money.
"You haven´t paid this flight have you?" asked the man, looking at the U.S. passports.
"The flight is free, isn´t it? That´s what we were told at Lofty," said Clarity. The man looked at her with a confidence that she couldn´t match. Her eyes darted off briefly, enough for the man to know he had found two flight stowaways.
"You´re not Beverly, and she´s not Somerset. No, this flight isn´t free, there are certain duties the passengers have to carry out and pay to watch this infomercial, it´s not a legal infomercial, we´re working on getting FDA approval, but it´s not the case yet. There are pre-clearance fees that you need to pay in order to watch this infomercial. Did you pay for those?"
"No," said Clarity.
The man started tapping above Clarity´s seat. Clarity looked at Flower, who was silent, and thought about her recent stay at the Acapulco jail and sighed. None of that, thank you. She gathered her courage.
"Any other possible arrangements?" she asked. The man tilted his neck which cracked several times, repositioning it with his hand. He wasn´t very happy about the situation. He looked at the hostess, who looked away. Clarity knew that they were in outright deep trouble, but she refused to accept the word, looking out for an inexistent sign of friendship from the man.
"You´re attending the Elony gala with me, then we´ll see," said the man. A bus came to pick them up and they walked with the hostess to an empty lounge. Clarity could see some people in the distance, but the man turned her head and shoved her inside the lounge. Fifty feet from her, a cleaning lady was finishing her round on the lounge bathrooms. The man went to a counter to pick up some snacks.
"Let´s call the girls," said Clarity, "give me the cell phone, quick." Flower handed her the phone and she stepped towards the man in black.
"Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom, I´ll be right back." Clarity walked briskly into the ladies bathroom, frowned upon by the bathroom cleaning lady.
"We need your help," said Clarity, "we´re being abducted." The cleaning lady lifted her head, showing a bandana labeled with the Elony brand.
"Sorry to hear that dear, do you have a return date?" Clarity stared into the ladies´ eyes and thought for two seconds in silence, before realizing what was happening. The woman was part of the Elony crew as well, the whole area belonged to the company owning that beauty lotion.
"Elony will bring you to your destiny with pleasure, dear, you´re young, you´ll understand." Clarity felt goosebumps, the sentence was rehearsed. The Elony hoax was different from Lofty, more mysterious in nature, less familiar.
"Thank you, I´ll send you a postcard," she said.
"Stay with officer Knocke, you´re in good hands with him. Permanent hands, but good hands."
"I see, thanks," said Clarity.
She stepped into the ladies´room and stared at the smartphone, rolling her finger through Buddha Talk´s facebook profile. The keyboard became blocked, and no numbers appeared onscreen when she pressed on the numbers keys. She kept running different applications until she found the familiar icon of Skype, which showed a credit of five dollars. The keyboard activated. Immediately, she dialed Lanai´s phone number.
"Yes, Lanai, take a flight, yes any flight, but to Nassau in the Bahamas. Yes Bimini Airlines is fine, yes, with Jenna, Cynthia and Taimi, don´t forget yourself," said Clarity, "we´re stuck at the airport in Nassau, with a man we don´t know, look for a blue jumbo jet from the Lofty Buddha Air Lease In-Company. No, two words, In Company. No, it´s not a leasing company, it´s Air Lease in company, with company, if you prefer. Yeah, that´s it, good, get rolling please." Lanai, always on top of important group matters, asked a question, somewhat relevant.
"Did you recover Flower´s earring?" asked Lanai.
"No, it´s at Lofty Bank in Cayman Islands, lent to someone else. A good bank? No, not a good bank, not at all, in fact. That´s irrelevant Lanai, come over here quickly, we need you. No, can´t say that word, let´s say we´re still free, just come with the girls." Clarity hung up, got out of the bathroom, and walked up to the man, who was discussing gold carat discoveries in Ancient Greece with Flower. Politely but firmly, the man was letting them know that they were with him.
"I´ll walk you to the limousine. You´ll be staying there until the gala starts at three in the morning tonight." Clarity gasped and raised her eyebrows.
TO BE CONTINUED - THE BAHAMAS LOTION.
PREVIOUS BANANA FICTION FOR ADULTS,
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THE MALIBU CASE.
Or Whether Corporate Nudity should be part of the Dress Code.
THE ACAPULCO COCKTAIL.
Or How a single Drink can turn Thirst into a Traction with the Law.
THE CAYMAN AIR BANNER.
Or Going Where Your Money Goes to Keep an Eye on How it disappears.