Editor’s note: Rod Cuthbert (a.k.a. Viator’s Founder and Chairman) is working on a screenplay. If you’re a Hollywood agent looking for a ‘sure thing’, leave Rod a comment and his people will call your people.
A Love Story Not Meant to Be
By Rod Cuthbert
FADE IN: ACT 1, SCENE 1
INT. SUBURBAN AMERICAN HOME – DAY
MAN FLIPS THROUGH PARIS GUIDEBOOK, LOOKING TRIUMPHANT
So you are taking your new girlfriend to Paris for a few days. It’s romantic, it’s got lots of culture and you will glow in the reflected light of this perfect choice.
MAN CLUTCHING MOULIN ROUGE DVD AND PICTURE OF WOMAN
And, it’s a surprise, well, it was supposed to be a surprise, but you let it slip out because you are so excited about it, you are going to the Moulin Rouge cabaret, because your girlfriend loved that movie and, even if you suspect it’s really Ewan McGregor she loves, you are going to make it come alive for her.
You are a man with a plan. You are going to kick this relationship up a gear or two and — God forbid — if things go well you may even propose on the Eiffel Tower.
FADE IN: ACT 1, SCENE 2
INT. SUBURBAN AMERICAN HOME – NIGHT
MAN SITTING AT DESK WITH COMPUTER
Whoa, steady on there man. Let’s book those flights first. Check.
Hotel? Found a great place in St. Germain, check. Pickup from the airport? Check. Passports, guidebook, cash… check, check, check.
FADE IN: ACT 2, SCENE 1
EXT. PARIS STREET SCENE – DAY
MAN AND WOMAN WALKING HAND IN HAND, IN LOVE
And how well is this going? Uneventful flight, customs was a breeze, a man in a beret holding a sign with your name on it at Charles de Gaulle, the hotel room is divine and your stocks have risen more than you could have ever dreamed.
FADE IN: ACT 2, SCENE 2
INT. FRONT DESK IN LOBBY OF PARIS HOTEL – NIGHT
MAN STANDING IMPATIENTLY AT CONCIERGE DESK.
CONCIERGE OBVIOUSLY HAS BETTER THINGS TO DO THAN TO HELP MAN
Saturday night? Of course… but for which month, monsieur?
Surely not this Saturday? Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Surely monsieur is joking with me? You Americans like to make your little jokes…
MAN STARTS PACING NERVOUSLY (CLOSE-UP)
Stay calm. This isn’t happening, OK?
Of course you book this stuff through the concierge, that’s what everyone does.
Geez, mom and dad booked through their concierge when they were here in, well, it was 1975…
WOMAN WALKS OVER TO MAN.
SHE’S BOUGHT A FENDI SCARF AT THE LOBBY SHOP.
Darling, the scarf’s a steal at â‚¬75 and I’ll need it for the Moulin Rouge later.
There’s always a little nip in the air in the evening.
WOMAN PAUSES AND OVERHEARS DISCUSSION BETWEEN MAN AND CONCIERGE
WOMAN IS AGITATED
No babe, there’s no problem. Really, it’s all good, we’ll get the tickets somewhere else…
…no, I didn’t book in advance, the concierge can handle that sort of stuff…
OK, yes, I take your point. He obviously can’t handle this particular request, but if we wanted to go next month he would be happy to help. Well, there’s no need to get upset, let me make some phone calls…
…no, I don’t think I should have let you handle it, I’m quite capable…
…calling me names really won’t help, and no, I don’t agree there’s any relationship between my ability to book a simple thing like a night out and whether I could function as the head of a household. Yes, I’m sure your last boyfriend would have done a great job of arranging things. Well, for that matter my last girlfriend wouldn’t have needed a $200 Gucci scarf to look good in Paris, either.
OK, Fendi, Gucci, I don’t care. Let go of that, it’s got my passport inside.
Oh my God, your nails are sharp… help, security!
VOICE-OVER FROM OFF SCREEN
Don’t let this happen to you. Booking key vacation activities ahead of time on Viator.com means you’ll never have to call Security to drag away your disappointed wife / girlfriend / lover. Leave nothing to chance. It is not worth the hassle.
FADE TO BLACK
Rod Cuthbert is Viator’s Founder & Chairman. He recently attended the Moulin Rouge as a guest of the management, but would have booked online if he had needed to…