Archive for November 24th, 2010

Cruise Characters

I’m still trying to come up with a good plot for a cruise ship.  Something horror related without going with a haunted house or a sea monster pastiche.  For the time being, though, there were more than a few characters I discovered while on board.  What follows are first my observations then my own creative license taking over.

Washy Washy:  Located outside the main buffet on the ship there were always two hyper cheerful people whose goals were twofold: get people to smile and spray their hands with bubble gum smelling sanitizer before they walked in and started touching everything.  There was one in particular who took extra gusto in his job, smiling everywhere except his eyes.  This was the same greeter they chose to see us off the boat because people absolutely loved him.

The Assistant Assistant Cruise Directors:  There were at least two of these who I met.  One was a gangly American, the other was a stocky Canadian.  Both were in their early twenties and clearly on low rungs within the cruise staff organization.  These two directed people to the gangways going ashore, and helped the Assistant Cruise Director run the bingo game, nightly at port and twice a day at sea.  The ACD himself was only a few years older, and I just felt that for the first time in his professional career he has underlings after being the AACD himself for so long.  I can smell the makings of a petty dictator a mile away, and when the actual Cruise Director wasn’t there, I’m sure the ACD had no problem reminding people who was in charge.

The Shopping Consultant:  This was someone with a job to do.  That job, however, involves helping the stores at each port of call to separate travelers from as much of their money as possible.  For that reason, he’s hawking the Diamonds, talking up the rarity of Tanzanite, and generally is the closest thing to a used car salesman that existed on the ship.  What I’d be curious to find out, though, is whether he was a nice guy who was just doing a job he happens to be good at, or whether he’s someone who actually enjoys his job perhaps a little too much.

The Youth Counselors:  Being neither a child nor a parent, I had little interaction with the youth counselors.  The only reason I ran into them at all is that they had the reservation right after mine at the Teppanyaki table.  They were all uniformly early 20s, uniformly attractive, and uniformly American.  The latter was an abnormality on the ship, this was the largest group of any kind I encountered who all had United States on their name badges.  Also one of the only groups who only had first names on their badges (with the exception of the Latino member whose name tag read, and this is no joke, “Tex-Mex”).  Four guys, four girls, all young and attractive, working and living together.  Strikes me as the perfect combination for pairing off.  They were all sun dresses and khakis for their reservation, but don’t let that fool you that there aren’t some shenanigans going on with this group.  Side note: when I observed the youth counselors to my wife, she swore I said “grief counselors” and was shocked that, even with the older-skewing demographic on board, that eight grief counselors were necessary.

The youth counselors seem the easiest targets for a horror plot, but just because twenty-somethings-in-peril is such a well established sub-genre of horror.  There was even the one requisite ethnic member of the group.

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