Introduction to the city of thrills, excitement, and mayhem

Unbeknownst to billions of people around the world, the North American continent is home to a bustling metropolis of twenty million souls known as Con City. Surrounded by mineral-rich mountains to the northwest, an expansive oak savanna to the west, vast forests to the south, and boring plains that no one cares about to the east, the megalopolis of Con City sits in an ideal location for commerce and industry. Founded at the dawn of the industrial revolution, utterly and completely destroyed at the turn of the 20th century by a flood only to be immediately rebuilt by the rich industrialists who wouldn't take the hint from mother nature, Con City has grown into one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the entire universe.

In spite of such wealth and prosperity, you will not find Con City on any official maps. Likewise, no government official in North America will ever admit to its existence, and any inquiries into the whereabouts of Con City will be met with blank stares and blushing. If you ask too many questions about Con City you are likely to get a visit from a couple of gentlemen wearing neat black suits, who will either threaten to throw you in jail or offer you a donation into your personal retirement fund in exchange for your silence, depending on their mood. In fact, the only place you're ever likely to hear about Con City if you're not a local is in the underground scene, obscure internet chat rooms, and some silent whispers in dark alleys.

The reason for the secrecy and denial at the top of the food chain is, of course, the shame that government officials feel about the amount of violence that reigns supreme in Con City, which they have not been able to control in over two hundred years. Every year the city tops global violent crime statistics in every category. Had Con City existed in the stone age, it would have been the site of the first murder in history.

Yet Con City attracts more tourists than the pyramids of Egypt, the Riviera, and Hollywood combined. Indeed, the city and its surroundings, collectively known as Con County (which, bafflingly enough, spans over fifty thousand square miles), offer plenty of sights, frights, and thrills for all the adrenaline junkies of the world, and fortunately for them a local travel agency caters to all their needs. Con City's very own Reaper Travels organizes sightseeing tours of the area. Tours include the industrial town of Brickton, the picturesque Desert Rock, the sightseeing favorite Greenwell, the tiny fishing town of Black Lake, the eerie Ghost Town of Con County, and of course all six districts of Con City itself.

The latest tourist group to go on Reaper Travels' tour of Con County consisted of eleven highly enthusiastic thrillseekers who were adamant that they would squeeze every last drop of excitement out of life. They knew with absolute certainty that in Con City they would find what they sought. They were to take a round trip of Con County, culminating in a six-day exploration of Con City, a perilous metropolis where most people don't even dare to spend six seconds. Reaper Travels found the group's enthusiasm so exceptional the company felt that for the first time they should document the tour for the sake of the entire world.

That's why Reaper Travels contracted Con City's award winning freelance journalist, Jonathan Parker, to accompany the tour and write a travelogue about it. Having had the privilege of publishing several of Jonathan's articles in the Con City Times, I can attest that he was the perfect choice for this task. Known among his peers and readers for his unmatched journalistic integrity, no one was better suited to accompany the tourists as their scribe and witness their experiences first hand, thriving to offer an authentic account of their odyssey and share it with the world. His hard labor has given birth to Hitchhiker's Guide To Con City, the very book you now hold in your hand. Jonathan's travelogue is worthy of his reputation and I am truly privileged and honored to have been chosen to pen this Introduction for this travel guide, a flawless masterpiece of my esteemed friend and respected colleague.

I hope you will enjoy the story of the eleven brave souls who risked their lives and sanity for excitement and adventure. Below you shall witness the tale of their thrilling journey across the districts of Con City and the small towns of Con County. And now, without further ado, I hand the pen over to Jonathan Parker, so you may witness the events that unfolded over this two-week tour of the most violent and exciting plot of land in the known universe.

Howard Pretentious, esteemed literary critic, poet, and Editor-in-Chief of the Con City Times