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PALM LATITUDES

BOTTOM LINE : And We'll Throw In the Brooklyn Bridge . . .

October 25, 1992|Mark Ehrman

You see them in the classifieds every day--"Hawaii RT $198 for 2," "Helsinki, $1,200 for four," or my favorite: "Anywhere in the U. S., $300." Someone with an airline coupon who needed cash, right? So I called the 213 number and left a message that would become my link to the (cue up weird music) Travel Twilight Zone.

After a series of traded messages, Jason, in a very South Bay, white guy manner, offers me a choice of airlines and itineraries, the price still $300. Agreed. He says he'll swing by my house that afternoon.

A few hours later, a young blond man saunters up the sidewalk. Jason, I presume. He claims he missed a turn and parked around the corner. He rattles off a list of flights, then asks for a $50 deposit. No phone number, no car, no merchandise. No way. "Bring the tickets and I'll give you the whole $300," I tell him. He promises to come by the next day. "Do you have an office?" I ask. Jason hems. Jason haws. Jason claims affiliation with an agency downtown. I find it in the White Pages. They've never heard of Jason. I haven't heard from Jason. And the next day, his ad was gone.

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