“The prestigious school was founded in 1945 when Mr. Price…” The droning, nasal voice of the tour guide continued.
Sam, better known as Sammy when not surrounded by his suited coworkers, was bored out of his brain.
His bosses thought some “cultural exposure” would be inspirational. There was nothing wrong with that. Sam liked learning about the past.
But it seemed every building they went to was under some form of historical reservation – whole parts covered in opaque white tarps that shifted temptingly whenever the tour group passed them by.
It reminded him of when he was twelve and his parents took him to Germany. It was one of the only trips his family ever went on. They stopped in Bavaria at the Castle Neuschwanstein, and rather than take any of the numerous shuttles uphill, they climbed on foot.
“It’s good exercise” his father insisted, while huffing and puffing.
But when they finally reached the top, they could not see the towers. In fact, they only saw a few of the big main halls and the tourist cafeteria. His mother, sweating and cursing softly under her breath chewed angrily on a granola bar in the corner while glaring at the taunting white tarps.
“What’s the point of saving a historical building if people can’t even see it?” his father complained to a guard who pretended he couldn’t understand a word of English, even though Sammy had heard him speaking it before.
It was years later, but Sammy had never forgotten his anger at not being able to see everything, inwardly knowing he might never be able to afford a trip back.
The tour guide was talking again, but Sammy wasn’t listening. The group was standing at a bend in the hallways, with Sammy to the rear.
He stared at the white tarp just behind him.
What he was considering was truly radical behavior for a grown man.
“Screw it,” he whispered under his breath, and slipped behind the tarp.
This is fiction for Trifecta’s weekly prompt, this week the third meaning of the word “radical,” meaning
a : very different from the usual or traditional : extremeb : favoring extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutionsc : associated with political views, practices, and policies of extreme changed : advocating extreme measures to retain or restore a political state of affairs <the radical right>
The original prompt can be found here:
This is actually (sort of) based on a real story. I went on tour with an orchestra when I was twelve, and we did visit the historical Castle Neuschwanstein. I went walking up the hills, both for exercise and for fun. I can’t help but wonder if they let tourists DO that anymore without a guide. Any one of us could have wandered into the Bavarian forests along that mountainside and hiked off a cliff! They probably have stricter measures now. But anyway, we reached the top, and like my fictional Sammy, we could only see a few rooms, none of the towers, and none of the interesting bits. I remember staring at these huge white tarps hanging off the parapets, blowing in the wind, and thinking, if only I could sneak off…
My parents and I were very frustrated, but we did not argue with any guards.
My apologies to the German people in regards to that: almost all of you were incredibly nice and wonderful people towards me when I visited there, although I know from personal experience that you are like EVERY other country – you have jerks too, just like the guard in the story above!
Sammy in Germany would have been a fun story in and of itself. Having him wander off into one of the closed off rooms would also have been fun, but I would have had to research about the rooms I did not get to see myself…and I felt lazy today.
…hope you enjoyed.