From there, Jonas could do no wrong. The tour group loved to hear about peace and love and harmony, and how the area had mystical healing properties, and how Darkwood Gulch provided the only truly authentic hippie experience in the nation, and how the hippies here were leading the movement into amazing new areas. (He separated the last two points, as always, but with this crowd he probably didn’t need to.)
Forty-eight minutes later, everything was ruined, because the guests had to witness the one thing that horrified them beyond all others.
Bare and wrinkly, they made their appearance as the tour visited the hippie camp itself. Jonas didn’t even see them himself. He just heard a shriek coming from one of the guests, a scrawny single man in his fifties. The man wore long beige pants and a plaid button-down shirt and claimed he hailed from Iowa, which Jonas marked as dull enough not bother catching any other information about him, except one obvious piece: He wore a pair of binoculars for birdwatching.
The man’s ludicrous squeal meant only one thing: The hippies were naked again. Jonas knew that some of them had a naturist bent, and was fine with it in general. But he’d given them his tour schedule for the week, and asked them to either cover up or stay nude in the back of the camp, while subtly reminding them of how he’d gotten the city to grant them use of this land and the sharply minimized law enforcement for certain minor infractions thereupon.
So someone was mad about something, and they’d decided that protest was a more effective means of telling him about it than telling him about it would be. Asses.
Jonas silently cursed them as he checked his mental tally. He kept a spreadsheet of who got which favors that he’d have to consult when he got back to the office, but if he remembered right, it was the hippies’ turn to win one. He whipped the tram around, silently damning the hippies from whom he derived his livelihood for doing so much to stand in the way of him making it.
“Sorry folks, it looks like the hippies are in a private mood today,” he spoke calmly into his microphone, but he knew that the tourists would have none of it.
“I saw hooters,” Iowa Birdwatcher Man said. “I’ve never seen anything so horrifying in my life.”
This set his cohorts off. Over the general din Jonas could hear words like “immorality” and “unsuitable for children,” being bandied about. There wasn’t even the usual perverted old guy turning around desperate for a peep.
“I do apologize for that, folks. As you know, hippies are fantastically independent and free-spirited, so we cannot control incidents like that.” Jonas checked his mirror to see about twenty pairs of eyes looking back at him with Biblical rage. He decided that gift shop sales would be unlikely and might lead to arson, so he decided to protect what revenue he could.
Jonas turned back to his microphone and whispered: “No refunds.”