Thank You For Choosing BOSSJourneys
By: Lisa H. Owens

Hurry, Bunny. We can’t be late.” The link instructed us to be ready to login before the official time. Lateness would not be tolerated, and we would lose our timeslot.

I made the optional cookies this morning, so we’ll get a small discount. We were assigned oatmeal raisin, no nuts. The link said he has a nut allergy, which is surprising, really. He doesn’t seem like an allergy kind of guy. Are you getting ready?”

Yes, Mommy. I getting ready.”

I am getting ready, Sweetheart. Let’s finish up the wish list. Did you think of some things for me to write down? What do you want?”

Nuffing, Mommy.”

It’s, Nothing, Boo-Boo. Say it with me. Noth...”

Nuff.” Nothing.” Nuffing.”

Almost! We’ll work on those “th” sounds later. Now, how should we fix your hair for the BOSSPics? The glitter headband or side braid with your silver barrette?”

Headband, Mommy.”

I’m going to set up BOSS. You put the cookies on the special plate, like a big girl; and I’ll come in and pour the milk in a minute. Get the snowflake glass out for the milk, will you?”

Okay, Mommy.”

We were elated for this journey to begin. BOSS (Better-Organized Sustainable Systems) simplified the lives of Earth’s Progressive Citizens. It inserted itself into practically every aspect of the progressive citizen’s life. This was the first BOSS event of this magnitude—By invitation only! The sessions were tailored to each client’s taste (a worldwide event), and all the clients would be accommodated in a single night. A mind-blowing concept and a tough one to grasp. The event would start shortly, and my angel was almost ready. I brushed her hair and placed the headband just so. Perfect! If she would tell me what she wanted, it would ease my mind. The pricing could get a little steep and there were no last-second mind changes or returns. All sales were final and included “Lightning-Fast Delivery!” This was a BOSSJourneys’ guarantee, unless, as stated by the fine print, said item was not available. Then, at its discretion, BOSSJourneys would choose the next best thing.

I activated the mood-lighting, then moved BOSS from the entertainment console to the dining room, placing it on the table. It was mandated the tree must be in full display mode, free of obstructions and clearly visible, and that Emma wear the beige coveralls provided. The invitation indicated it was FOR GOOD TIDINGS! We could Touch-Transfer a cloned SceneShot to Grammy. Even though we had just spent Thanksgiving with her, it had been forever since she’d been able to visit in real life. Our last real interaction was shortly before the beginning of THE EARTH WAR. She’d cherish a SceneShot to pin to her interaction wall.

The mandated virtual holiday meals, though better than nothing, had been awkward until recently. Following the most recent system update, BOSS technology was stunning. We’d discovered just how stunning on Thanksgiving Day, when we were instructed to place BOSS in the center of the table for the best virtual dining experience. Once Emma and I placed our food on the table and were seated, at the tap of a button, the BOSS console disappeared, and Bob and Grammy appeared. Through the magic of BOSSJourneys, they were seated side-by-side at our table. Bob had dark circles under his eyes and was still clad in his Progressive Army uniform, looking hollow and exhausted. Given his physical condition, if I didn’t know better, I would swear he’d actually made the endless journey on foot from halfway around the world. That was the beauty part of BOSSJourneys, as it was explained to Bob and me before he was drafted. “Unlimited journey in the comfort of your own home.” For all intents and purposes, Bob was home, but not really.

Daddy! Grammy!” Emma whooped in glee when they appeared.

We bowed our heads and Bob recited the BRB (BOSS-Recommended Blessing) before we filled our plates with food. We talked and laughed and even cried a little. It was so very real. Imagine our surprise when Emma asked Grammy to pass the salt—and she did! Grammy held it out, and when Emma’s hand passed through the physical plane of the shaker, voila! She was holding an identical replica of Grammy’s saltshaker, transferred courtesy of BOSS Touch-Transfer. BOSS was engraved in discreet lettering on the bottom. We kept it; but didn’t use it since it contained Near-Salt, a salt substitute BOSSCare recommended as Grammy’s blood pressure rose.

We decided to try a delicious experiment! We Touch-Transferred slices of Grammy’s pumpkin pie for dessert. It had been a long time since we’d eaten her homemade pie; and Bob’s eyes lit up with every bite. It was that yummy. But then Bob and Grammy started to glitch and flicker, indicating the allotted mealtime was nearing its end. We blew kisses while they faded.

Lost in the reverie, I forgot the time and looked at my BOSSTime Interface Watch. “Emma! Hurry! Bring the cookies and I’ll get the milk,” I rushed as I smoothed her hair one final time and patted a crease out of the beige coverall on my way to the kitchen.

Okay, Mommy,” she followed me and together we carried the cookies and snowflake crystal glass of milk to the table—then we waited.

An ear-piercing beep sounded; and with a single tap, BOSSTime Interface opened, and large numbers appeared on a screen hovering above the table. A robotic voice said, “Activating at 60 seconds,” and began the countdown:

60, 59, 58, 57...

I questioned Emma again about her wish list. What was her Heart’s Desire? We’d spent countless hours looking through the virtual catalog in the Heart’s Desire section; but the most popular items quickly disappeared from the list. I hoped she would soon decide.

The countdown progressed: 10, 9, 8… and I sidled away from the table, since the link instructed: Your selected BossJourney is recommended for children only. Emma began to count along with the robotic voice, shouting “FIVE, FOUR, FREE, TWO,” and she clapped and giggled as I scooted closer, and together we shouted, “ONE!”

A symphony orchestra playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” erupted from the walls as the screen vanished and BOSS exploded into a fiery banner proclaiming, “WELCOME TO THE NORTH POLE EXPERIENCE!” The banner zoomed around the dining room in a wide loop causing Emma to hop up and down, my little bunny squealing in delight. The script transitioned to: “courtesy of BOSSJourneys,” before it went up in a puff of smoke.

We heard creaking and cracking from behind; and spun to find our mandated Christmas Tree swaying to and fro. The branches were bucking and swinging like octopus’ arms, casting off the decorations we had so painstakingly placed the night before: ornaments, blinking lights, tinsel...until branches were bare. A low groan emanated from its trunk as it expanded and strained to push its treetop higher and higher until it punched through our low ceiling, continuing upward as it passed through the floors then the ceilings, working its way through the apartments located above us. I joined hands with Emma and together we danced and gazed up into a breathtakingly beautiful starlit night.

A light frost covered our living room—now a forest of pines. I inhaled deeply and detected the distinct scent of the balsam firs that had surrounded my childhood home in the Appalachian Mountains. The air felt cold in my mouth, and I exhaled a frosty cloud. The temperature had plummeted, and it was snowing.

Emma, do you need your coat,” I whispered; but her beige coveralls had transformed into a midnight-blue down parka, covered in an array of stars that twinkled like the night sky. The snow was getting deep, so we bent down, scooping up handfuls and formed perfect snowballs, pleasantly surprised by the woolen mittens now covering our hands. We spied a snowman at the edge of the forest; so, we did the only logical thing. We let the snowballs fly. I hit him square in his carrot nose. The nose shifted and he startled, or was it a flicker? A glitch? Emma and I gasped as the mass of snow began to shift and bend, which seemed impossible, and the snowman planted one branchy arm deep into the snow. The mound of snow then began to shift the opposite direction as he arose to full height, his stick hand holding a massive snowball. Using his other stick hand, he straightened his off-kilter carrot nose and arranged his lumps of coal mouth into an impish grin, then launched the snowball. It dropped down shy of us, powdery snow dusting our…boots? Emma and I were wearing furry boots!

Help me, Emma. Let’s wipe out the snowman!” We hunched over, as one after another, we rocketed snowballs in his direction. Emma and I were really concentrating on pelting that snowman when he began to drip and melt. His face appeared smeared by the time he vanished.

We killed him,” Emma cried out, stopping abruptly when the forest faded with its glitchy snowman and our infinitely tall tree, and we were in a workshop filled with toys. Santa’s Workshop was an explosion of every toy imaginable! We watched an elf, one of Santa’s helpers, as he loaded toys onto a moving conveyor-belt of sorts which led to a giant red bag lying open on the floor. The elf, his name was E.van (it said so on his pointy cap: E.van…Engineering Vanguard), continued to work, ignoring our presence, as the toys swept by dropping neatly into the bag. Dolls, choo-choo trains, stuffed animals, a tricycle. It was endless. The bag never grew full. I noticed small lettering, one of many variations of the words marking everything BOSS related, stitched discreetly into a seam on the bag, courtesy of BOSSToys, and blurted, “Hah!” E.van turned, winked; then poof, Santa’s workshop was gone.

Emma exclaimed, “Magic!” when a miniature desk, stacked with papers aside an old-fashioned pen and inkwell appeared in its place. There, on a tiny task-chair, sat another elf named ELF. It was scripted on his cap: ELF…Enhancements-Legal Facilitator. If I hadn’t noticed a small flicker every so often, I would have sworn he was a real-life elf, another one of Santa’s tiny helpers. In a voice, deeper than expected, he instructed Emma to follow directions and not to talk unless she was asked a question during her SantaSession. All of the good little girls and boys were awaiting their assigned times. In order for everyone to have a turn with Santa, organization and promptness were key. Then, with a wagging finger, he “Tsk-Tsked” me for participating and not obeying the “children only” mandate and added that since I was there, we might as well take care of the legal side of things. I would hear payment information and sign a BOSSWaiver; then, I would listen to prompts and respond accordingly.

A robotic voice resounding from the walls proceeded to read off the expenses related to THE NORTH POLE EXPERIENCE, courtesy of BOSSJourneys. The voice noted we’d clipped the redeemable Cookie Coupon, which would apply a 10% discount and we’d requested the SceneShot with an audio-blip courtesy of BOSSMemories, which was included in every package. The voice continued, explaining that once completed, a BOSSInvoice would ping via BOSSMail, and it should be paid using cryptocurrency—preferably BOSSCurrency. Then it went on for a while to explain how the child must state “in a loud clear voice” which gift, chosen from the upgraded Heart’s Desire Plan, she wanted, and if available, it would appear on the hearth “Early Christmas Morn” (local time, of course). If the delivery-site (our apartment) didn’t have a fireplace, for an additional fee, BOSSDecor could provide The Overnight Cozy Hearth Experience. Finally, the voice said, “Thank you for choosing BOSSJourneys,’’ and Emma looked over at me, eyes pleading. How could I refuse those eyes? I squatted down to sign the waiver. Then we began the verbal side of the contract, for the record:

ELF, opened the Procedures Manual, reading aloud:

ADULT, at the beep, please state your full name:”

BEEEEEEP… “Wintralene Knight”

Wintralene Knight, say: ‘OTHER,’ if you require details of lesser packages,” he paused to glance my way. I shrugged.

Wintralene Knight, say: ‘ACCEPT,’ if you agree to the terms of THE FULL NORTH POLE EXPERIENCE,” ELF’s voice was increasing in volume to be heard over a growing clatter that arose from the apartment’s courtyard area.

I briefly hesitated, thinking how we didn’t have a fireplace and how our entire cryptocurrency account would likely be obliviated by THE FULL NORTH POLE EXPERIENCE, and wondered what the price might be for one of the OTHER packages, but one look at Emma’s face melted my heart and I heard myself shouting over the din of the clatter, “ACCEPT!”

Then—Bloop—ELF disappeared, and we began to hear sleighbells jingling and prancing hooves on the housetop followed by a muffled “HO, HO, HO,” coming from the…chimney? I looked over to see a cozy fireplace, void of fire, and red pants tucked into shiny black boots, dropping down. The “HO, HO, HO’s” ceased as the boots landed, and a bearded face ducked to clear the top of the firebox. Next, in all his glory, a magnificent Santa Claus stepped down into the living room. It was the Santa from my childhood, the cliched Santa we all imagined when watching Christmas Classics, such as Miracle on 34th Street. The round belly, the snow-white beard, the twinkle in the eye. They were all there; but a periodic glitch slightly ruined the effect.

I flinched at the strained, “HO, HO, HO! Merry Christmas,” Santa grunted as he slung the bulging bag over one shoulder. He proceeded toward the dining room table—which had reappeared with the cookies and milk—still repeating the “HO, HO, HO,” (which I found redundant and a bit frightening). He plopped the bag on the floor by a chair and sat down.

As he sat, the “HO, HO…” abruptly ended and he glitched when he asked, in a bowl full of jelly belly-shaking manner, “Will you join me in a cookie?”

Emma sat across from him grinning and exclaimed, “No nuts!” Then she picked up a cookie and passed it to Santa. His hand passed through the cookie’s plane, and through the magic of Touch-Transfer, he drew it back holding a perfectly cloned, nutless, oatmeal raisin cookie. The two of them began to nibble, with Santa stopping once to ask (still jolly), “Will you join me in a glass of milk?” She slid the glass over, carefully, not spilling a single drop. His hand passed through the plane, then he upended his cloned glass of milk and gulped it down. He set it on the table and waited as Emma finished her own glass, so the SantaSession could begin.

Santa groaned as he reached to heft the large red bag onto the table, untying the drawstring so she could look inside. I was happy to see it was still so full. That meant a lot of choices would be available to Emma, who couldn’t seem to make up her mind. Time was ticking and I watched for signs of distress on her five-year-old face; but she exuded joy and amazement at having shared milk and cookies with Santa Claus, but something else too. I recognized it as confidence. I relaxed at the realization that I didn’t care how much it cost to provide my angel with her heart’s desire. THE EARTH WAR had kept her from her Daddy and her Grammy. She had playmates in our complex; thank God for that. Isolationism had recently become a legitimate disability, thankfully covered by BOSSCare Medical Insurance.

HO, HO, HO!” Santa began to flicker and the SceneShot staging began to develop for Emma’s SantaSession. The room transformed. The table was gone, and the ceiling returned to the starlit night, while an enormous chair, surrounded by a pine forest and grouping of regal reindeer, snorting, and pawing at a snowbank, materialized in its place. The chairback extended upwards, nearly bumping the waning moon. There, resting on a seat of moss and pine needles contained within the chair’s ornate structure of reindeer antlers, sat the jolliest version of Santa Claus that BOSSJourneys had yet to provide. He had rosy cheeks, a little red nose, and a beard as white as new-fallen snow. His expansive belly shook and rippled with each string of “HO, HO, HO’s.” He radiated Kris Kringle, Saint Nicholas...Santa Claus...from every pixel.

His fur-gloved hand was extended downward towards Emma, her mouth agape in a state of awe, as she gazed above an icicle staircase to the crinkle-eyed smiling face of the man who made dreams come true. I became concerned she would slip as she aimed one fur boot toward the first ice-step, but my fear was abated when each step was coated with a soft bed of pine needles, one-by-one, before her boots even touched down. I briefly wondered, again, how much this marvelous display of THE NORTH POLE might be costing Bob and me, but as she climbed with her hand extended toward Santa, their fingertips touched and I was transported back to a time when I was an innocent child, not yet jaded by life and war and hard decisions. I watched myself running down a set of stairs to the magic of a Christmas Morn, Mama and Daddy waiting by the tree with faces glowing in the joy of the moment.

What do you want for Christmas, Emma?” brought me back to the moment and I dared not breathe. Emma grinned, stating her wish with determination to BOSSFulfillments. In an instant, the SceneShot with its audio-blip from a tiny girl, whose heart’s desire was “Peace on Earf,” went viral, circulating around the entirety of Earf. It was a request BOSSJourneys was unable to fill.

BOSSJourneys Invoice #2030-12-25

Client: Knight Family


  • “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” a BOSSOrchestrations production

  • Growing Christmas Tree Experience

  • Beige Coverall Transformation Experience

  • SnowSession (*additional fee: uninvited adult participant)

  • Toy Workshop Observation with CEO, E.van (Chief Elf Operations, Engineering Vanguard)

  • Contractual-Terms Consult with ELF (Enhancements-Legal Facilitator)

  • Overnight Cozy Hearth Experience

  • SantaSession

  • BOSSPic’s SceneShot with audio-blip (courtesy of BOSSMemories)

  • Item-selection upgraded to the Heart’s Desire Package—N/A (item not available)

  • On-Time Delivery of Heart’s Desire Item Selection—N/A (item not available)

  • On-Time Delivery of Alternative Item, as Selected by BOSS—N/A (item not available)

**10% discount: The Cookie Coupon - redeemed

Balance Due: $0.00 (as reviewed by BOSSOveride Department)

Thank you for choosing BOSSJourneys; where your satisfaction is our guarantee.


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