on their 33rd wedding anniversary, gus and sarah endicott decided to take a trip to the garden of eden.
to their surprise, they could not find any listings for such trips on the internet.
they did find a couple of travel agencies still doing business, but when they phoned and e-mailed them, they were told they had no trips to the garden of eden available, nor did they know of any other agencies that did.
do you know why that is? sarah asked the polite woman she talked to, at the last agency they called.
no demand, i suppose, the woman said. i guess the garden of eden just is not what it used to be.
my mom and dad went there about thirty years ago, edith said. i remember it well because our cat snuffy died when they were gone, and i had to give it a funeral and bury it all by myself. it was so sad.
well, thirty years is a long time, the polite woman replied. time goes by and things change.
sarah relayed the polite woman’s messages to gus when she got off her phone.
i guess we will just have to go someplace else, gus sighed.
no, sarah replied, i do not think we should give up so easy as all that. just because we can not find an agency does not mean we can not go. did christopher columbus need a travel agency? or daniel boone?
i guess not, gus replied, with a hopeful smile.
the next morning sarah went to the library, where her best friend jenny rogers was the librarian, and took out a world atlas and the latest edition of the world almanac, in order to find out where exactly the garden of eden was.
after checking the two books out, sarah spent a couple of hours chatting with jenny rogers, and when she got home gus was gone.
that is strange, sarah thought, he must have met someone at the donut shop and gotten into a long conversation with them.
unbeknownst to sarah, gus had for many months been corresponding by e-mail with zena bradley, an old high school girl friend of his who lived in the other side of the rocky mountains.
when sarah had gone to the library, gus had packed a suitcase and called a cab to the bus station where he bought a ticket to zena bradley’s town of residence. he did not call or text zena to tell her he was coming, hoping to surprise her.
gus was never seen or heard from again, by zena bradley or by anybody else.
in no way deterred, sarah made her plans to visit the garden of eden by herself.
according to the world almanac, the garden of eden had been relocated from southern turkmenistan, where it had existed peacefully for six thousand years, to a small island halfway between the tip of chile and the coast of antarctica.
i don’t think there was anything in the news about that, sarah observed to jenny rogers.
that is the mainstream media for you, jenny replied enigmatically.
although it cost half her life savings, sarah managed to get to the island where the garden of eden was now supposed to be located, without being kidnapped by terrorists, or shipwrecked.
sarah was dropped off at the island late at night (and it was night, and dark) by a small boat which picked up and delivered passengers every four months. she was the only passenger getting off.
there was no sign of the garden of eden in the darkness, only three one story barrack like buildings.
one of the buildings had a light in the window and sarah approached it and entered it after knocking.
inside it looked like a bus station, and a man stood behind what looked like a ticket counter, although there were no signs indication destinations or ticket prices. the man wore a sport jacket and string tie, and had a pencil mustache.
he looks familiar, sarah thought, and he dresses neat, not like the slobby men you see these days.
began explaining herself and the object of her trip, beginning with her childhood.
the man smiled when she paused for breath.
but i know all about you, sarah, he said.
my name is sam smith, and some people call me the serpent although i am not really such a bad fellow. in a previous life i was snuffy, the cat you were so fond of. i hope that we can be friends again.
i thought i recognized you, sarah exclained.
look here, sam smith continued, in a few days i am due to go back to my own galaxy. how would you like to go with me, see a bit of the universe?
that sounds good to me, sarah replied promptly. she had always wanted to see more of the universe.
and she did.