Samuel Pepys Visits the Wisconsin Dells
Friday, July the 30th
Today encountered unbearable traffic in the Chicago district, where labourers obstructed nearly every roadway suitable for passage, and I fear no traveller with less than half a tank of petrol may safely pass that way, except at risk of breakdown and stranding.
This evening my wife and I by car to see the Rick Wilcox entertainment, consisting of illusion and prestidigitation, for which I had procured a pair of free passes via certain connections with the local solicitor. Mr. Wilcox has a passion for his art, but the effects are of themselves among the most common available to the craft, and his wife, who is a slender blonde armed with a sly and ready wink, possesses bosomry insufficient to arouse the animal instinct. Beneath my seat I found a grimy penny, which immediately I pocketed. I purchased a “money-making machine” from a uniformed busker for some five dollars following the performance, but have not as yet succeeded in exploiting its supernatural qualities to fill my own threadbare pocket book. I begin to suspect that this device is a fraud, and only produces bills earlier concealed within the device, having read some documents to this effect provided with my purchase.
Across the road we found ourselves at Top Secret, a topsy-turvy contrivance whose proprietors present a facsimile of the seat of the new American government as though dropped upon its roof from a great height. Admission was impertinent at twelve dollars, and I resolved to listen carefully through the open exit doorway in order to gauge the performance’s value. None who exited would provide any indication of what lay within, to my utter dismay, allayed to a degree by the shiny nickel discovered upon the adjoining walkway.
Thence to the borders of the Mount Olympus water and theme park, within which I observed a number of frolicsome fellows riding in novel conveyances of steel and wood, which would rise to a great height before plunging the occupants beneath the asphalt field beneath our feet, and allowing them to emerge again on the opposite side of the park. Here, also, the cost of admittance exceeded my ability to pay, and so we were obliged to stand outside the gay midway, vicariously enjoying the pleasures of those fortunate souls within as the temperature dropped in collusion with the setting sun.
Following this diversion, my wife retired to the inn where we had engaged a room, after coldly decrying myself as “a cheap bastard,” thereby allowing me to continue my explorations afoot.
The neighboring Haunted Outpost had posted a sign announcing the hiring of actors, and I thought of the many incompetent performers I have witnessed in my travels who might be suited for this line of work. But it was late and the thought left my mind as quickly as it had entered.
Upon the road I encountered a handbill promoting the Pizza Pub, but even the associated discount was insufficient to meet my financial requirements. Instead, for dinner a fowl, prepared in the Kentucky Colonel’s breaded, fat-cooked manner, then to bed. The air-conditioning device in our room proved incapable of cooling, and I resolved to insist upon a reduced rate upon the morrow.
Saturday, July the 1st
In the morning paid the innkeeper with funds borrowed of a distant acquaintance, after some words of high difference concerning the air conditioning and my wife’s own cooling abilities, then to dine at the house of Mister Pancake, whose thick and substantial offerings sit in the stomach for hours like a lead paste, and emerge some time afterwards with much the same consistency.
In the business district, visited the Torture Museum at very reasonable cost, having avoided the requested donation to Amnesty International by concealing my person below counter level and entering upon hands and knees. Visited a bookshop and perused its selection of pornographic magazines, discovered to my disappointment that the Alien Planet had ended its lease and vacated the premises, and obtained a humorous undershirt from a nearby gift shop, announcing that its wearer is “hung like a black man,” by concealing it beneath my greatcoat and eluding the shopkeeper’s watchful eye. Finding a few bills in the pocket of an unsuspecting passerby, I purchased a small quantity of fudge from an amiable Negress, whose amiability dissipated immediately upon recognition of my comical attire.
My wife had by this time delivered a gesture of the rudest sort and departed immediately with the car, and I was forced to urinate on the street near the tourism bureau, at which point the local constabulary began inquiring as to my day’s activities. I was thus obliged to inform authorities that, despite my educated bearing, opinionated manner and extensive social connections, I possessed no actual means of financial support, and had in fact been passing counterfeit bills since my arrival in the province of Wisconsin.
Tonight, then, to jail.