Tired of forecasts, Harley bought a desktop weather station.
Like every morning, Harley checked the meteorological conditions on his phone app. Thirty degrees—with a chance of snow. His weather station on the counter disagreed on the temp. It said 40 degrees. His hilltop home was 15 miles from the airport that supplied the info on his phone. The display showed current wind speed, gusts, and direction. Plus rain—rate, total by day, week, month and year. Atmospheric pressure, sun/moon and a lot more.
What he didn’t get was a manual. Like most products these days, you gotta download it from a website. When he did, the site urged him to join the network of home weather station users. Upload his data for the benefit of the group. Despite the privacy issues (they said no names, etc.—but of course a GPS location had to be logged) he thought seriously about it. The plus was that he could press a button on the panel to get current weather all around the world. Nothing like a dose of envious reality that he could be somewhere much warmer and sunnier—if he could afford the ticket.
Actually, the company also had an affiliate link to a travel agency that could hook you up with a ticket to wherever. Supposedly at a discount. Sounded good. Go from the snow and cold to a sunny clime with temps in the 70s or 80s. Plus the prospect of short-term rental vacation housing. What’s not to like! He checked out the offers—all sorts of ways, without success. But they were new—very new. So, not much data out there. It was a trial offer—six months for free. Then a monthly fee of $10 or an annual charge of $99. Pricey if he didn’t use it. If he didn’t like it, he could cancel. He was in.
Places in the 80s. Beachfront in Dubai. Tahiti. Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. All seemed a little too rich for his blood. Profitable for the travel agency affiliate—with a kickback to the station supplier.
Soon, the temps dropped at his house, just like the desktop device said. The snow fell too. Ok, time to find a warm and sunny get away. He pressed the weather scan button. Instead of locations, it displayed the weather first. Find what you liked and then select it. That’s when it all began.
The Dubai site looked good. Harley clicked the link. But no booking air or a room popped up on the screen. Instead, he immediately found himself on a pink sand beach. Odd shells, like none he’d ever seen before. Waves of lavender water washed ashore, carrying fragrant flowers amidst unknown flotsam. What the hell! Where am I and how did I get here? This can’t be Dubai.
Yes, this will be continued in an upcoming story–a little later.