Thanotourism: A Cautionary Tale

The Hare learns of himself chiefly by watching others. This  scopophilic philosophy, which he tours around the world as a self-help regime,  has gained him international recognition. One of The Hare’s most famous clients was Andy Williams, whom he inspired to write the song, “Music To Watch Girls By”. To this day, all proceeds from the song go to The Hare and his controversial “marshmallow” fund.

It is not unusual for The Hare’s daily expeditions to bring back a bad memory; we are all familiar with the phrase “Look what The Hare brought home”. Today was no exception.

Situated in text-book “stake-out” style, outside the Church of St. Christoph, the Hare saw a woman enter. Her vacant, blue-sky eyes and mousy demeanor were strangely familiar to him. He followed her into the church, took a pew at the back, and began to chant the first thing he could think of.

 He took a picture of her with his Instamatic, and sent it to me via messenger-pig, before taking some candles and donning a green vestment, in order to leave inconspicuously.

The pig arrived at an inopportune time, when I was preparing dinner. I reasoned with the pig, saying I would never eat a messenger. He reluctantly gave up the photo.

A long time ago, there was an amusement park, for the kind of folks who are not easily amused by “Big Dippers”, “Bottlecorks”, plastic swans or singing pirates. I thought better than to bore my punters with such frivolity devoid of thrills, so I poured almost all of my capital into the building of a single roller-coaster.

Many roller-coasters tease their riders with the possibility of death, but mine had coffins for cars, each one containing an actual corpse. Never before had the roller-coaster enthusiast been confronted so vividly with the fact of their mortality. For some it was an erotic experience, for others, religious. Some just came for curiosity’s sake.

For many the park was a taster course in the afterlife. How they expected me to provide this I don’t know but – supply and demand – i gave them what I could, and whatever it was would be enough…fibreglass structures of various Gods, sprayed alternately gold and coal-black;  crisp, clean crystal structures made of windows, made of sky. From here, visitors could, if they so wished, get a God’s-eye-view of-Heaven, where fake eagles would sore and speakers would play the park’s anthem.

So, you see, death can be clean.

I looked out to watch the spotlights trace the clouds on a gloomy, profitable Tuesday. I watched the long lines of ant-people – tickets in hand – dressing, undressing, looking distraught, happy or uncomfortable.  My office was dusty, and suffocating. I opened the window and had to stop myself from falling.

With a knock at the door, enough to dislodge it from it’s hinges, the woman lunged at me, and held me out the window by my legs.  Any moment then I could have been caught in the queue below me, without a ticket.


*he…he’s in God’s hands now…”


“That’s one way of putting it”, I said, “It’s what he would have wanted”


 “Ditto. It’s what he signed for”

“He didn’t sign for anything”

“Life Insurance. He’s Guaranteed a good time!”

I made a pretty picture on the pavement, and ticket sales have more than tripled.  Now I’m riding in car number 32.  All the TV cameras were there. I was not the kind of interviewee they were used to.

 I always said I’d die before I sold out.

– Peter

See: Theme Park


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