Nightmare Alley

Jack and Gloria Springer reveled in the hoopla. "First in line, first to sign!" Jack yapped for the TV cameras. "No outlet!" Gloria tittered, pointing to the pamphlet. "It means dead end, dummy!" Jack snapped without moving his lips. 

The next day, their radiant faces beamed beneath the bold headline, Dream Street 'dreamboat' sold to Springers. 

Buyers tumbled like tenpins. Brokers faded like mayflies. Jack and Gloria mounted their clippings in a scrapbook. Then the sand at the entrance settled and the water main broke. Dream Street lost not only its water but its outlet.

"Give me the Water Manager!" Jack growled. 

"He's swamped right now," the gravelly voice grumbled. 

"Give me the Street Supervisor!" 

"He's on vacation." 

"Give me the Mayor!" 

"She's attending a seminar." 

"Give me someone in a position of authority!" 

"Please hold."

When the furnace quit in the middle of the night, Jack bumbled to the basement. He came wide awake in the waist-deep water.  

In the morning, Gloria went to pick up the paper. "Yoo hoo!" she warbled. The carrier rowed his rubber raft to the doorstep. "Jack!" she chirped. "We made the front page again!"

"Give me the Governor!" Jack barked. 

"He's incommunicado," the brisk voice bristled. 

"I don't care where he is!"

That evening, in a moderate wind, their dreamboat rolled ever so slightly to starboard, then ever so slowly to port. By bedtime it pitched and yawed; timbers groaned. They roused the Dream Street developer from a deep sleep. 

"We're seasick!" Gloria pleaded. "What should we do?" 

"Take two Dramamine and call me in the morning." 

"Give me the President!" Jack snarled. 

"I'll put you through," the throaty voice intoned. 

"Hello, is that you, Jack?"

Jack awoke in a strange bed. Gloria stroked his hand.

"Our dreamboat!" he whimpered.

 "It sank!" she peeped.