East Saint Louis Vacations Inc.

(a travel ad for an unusual tourist destination)

Have your personal belongings never been stolen?
Has it been more than two years since you’ve been mugged?
Is that sleazy husband of yours way overdue for kidnapping?
Then you’ve come to the right place, my dear friend!
Visit East St Louis! The forgotten capital of the underworld. 

Our company takes care of all you travel needs, starting with transporting you to ESL in stylish cattle car trains with authentic used straw and accommodating you in a renowned network of the half star Worst Western Motels. We also arrange for those lovely trash-rummaging trips, so popular with affluent tourists from Northern Virginia.

For your personal safety, we provide a special unit of the National Guard or, for more budget oriented visitors, a dog that barks in four major languages and bites in Braille. Bulletproof kimonos can be rented from a concierge. If you want a festering shot wound to bring home to show your kids, our concierge will be happy to shoot you in the calf with our Smith & Weston .38 revolver, under top notch medical supervision. We can also arrange for arresting larcenies, muggings, beatings and assaults (batteries not included).

Should you decide to procure that festering wound through natural causes, we want to let you know that our company features a top-notch team of lawyers, each of whom has accrued at least 25,000 miles of ambulance chasing. Finally, should something go terribly wrong, you will be relieved to know that we are permanently renting the top floor in a luxury 5-star morgue in downtown St Louis.

In our motels, you will have all the discomfort and inconvenience you ever wanted. We hire Hollywood’s B-list actors to play your noisy neighbors, we have purebred flees with the pedigree reaching back to the critters that vexed King Arthur and for a small fee we can turn your hot water completely off. In addition to that, your room will be constantly defreshened with one of our trademark odors: your choice of the Two Years Old Mayonnaise That Loves To Sunbathe, the NFL Locker Room Medley, the Drunk Skunk Concentrate or the Putrid Pitbull That Never Brushes Its Teeth.

Also, much in the spirit of great Caribbean resorts that offer special "honeymoon packages" for couples that just got married, we offer special "moneymoon packages" for customers who just got divorced. We’ll do our very best to make your spouse feel like a grumpy penguin in a severely overheated sauna and that’s guaranteed or your money back. Ummm, wait a minute; make it "Guaranteed or a really heartfelt apologetic handshake."

© 2004  Jan Rehacek



The Book of Cardinals 2004

Part II.

Inning: 7

When I visited St Louis in March 2004, I was discouraged from visiting East St Louis by so many people that at the end I didn't dare enter its not-so-pearly gates.

Travel Log

To make up for the lost sightseeing, I decided to pay it at least a little Pen Visit.


Part I. Namesakes
1. Cardinal Stritch University
2. Cardinal, Virginia
3. Cardinal Systems
4. Vatican Cardinals
5. Tantoo Cardinal
6. Arizona Cardinals
7. Cardinal Numbers
8. Cardinal Bar
9. Cardinal Fish

Part II. 7th Inning Stretch of Imagination
1. What's In A Name?
2. Nine Amendments For Extreme Motorists
3. Better Butter For Bitter Batter
4. Infield Fly Rule For Dummies
5. How To Wash Red Socks Properly
6. My Kingdom For A Pitcher!
7. East St Louis Vacations Inc
8. Are You A Cardinals Fan?
9. Banbury Cross

Part III. Three Dreams
1. Dodgers: The Robbery
2. Dodgers: The Handshake
3. Dodgers: The Shower
4. Astros: The Flight
5. Astros: The Homer
6. Astros: The Ritual
7. Red Sox: The Comedy
8. Red Sox: The Drama
9. Red Sox: The Heartbreak