Columbus Warp: Shopping Without Money

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Paranormal investigator, Sarah Marshal, and her boyfriend, Steven McFerris, have arrived in a parallel world where they discover that money hasn't been invented in that world. Their guide, Debra
O'Brian, take them shopping in a world without money. What is life like without money? Think how easy life would be then.

Submitted: November 24, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 24, 2017



Sarah and I had been sleeping in the spare room at Debra O'Brian's house in a parallel world that we had arrived in last night. It was in the suburb of Mount Eden in Auckland, New Zealand, Parallel Earth Monfree. My right arm was around Sarah's waist. 


Sarah Marshal was a paranormal investigator working for a company called Paracrisis. I had a crush on her ever since I first saw her in the News Paper years ago. I first met her in a time loop about five years ago. Me and Sarah had been dating ever since. I now work as her assistant for Paracrisis. 


"Wakey, wakey, up and shine!" shouted Debra in a loud voice. It sounded like it was coming from the doorway.  


Debra was a lab assistant for a company called Columbus Warp which explores parallel worlds. Her counterpart back in our universe had called us in to cover for Fred Watson after he crashed in a parallel universe without ambulances. Fred and Debra had been dating for years now, even though he spends most of his time exploring parallel worlds. Now he is in Greenlane Hospital, Ambfree World. So, here we are in a parallel world! 


I groaned as I looked at the time on my cellphone, which was a smartfirst cellphone. I said "Debra, it's eight in the morning" as I stretched my arms. Sarah stretched and yawned. She had a fine, athletic build and red wavy hair. 


"I have to take you to the city," replied Debra "You did come here to see my universe". 


"You wanted to come explore parallel worlds, remember?" Said Sarah. 


"Yes" I said nodding. 


"Might as well get up then. Our job is to explore this world and report back to base. So, let's get up and see what's what". 


We slowly climbed out of bed and got changed into our clothes. Sarah put on her jeans, white T-shirt and blue sneakers. Damn she was beautiful. I liked her long wavy red hair. I walked up to her and placed my hand round her waist as we followed Debra down the hallway to the kitchen/dining room. 


What had actually surprised me about this place was that this house was much more flash then Debra's house back in our world. There was brown leather couch, a big screen TV, new microwaves and flash ceramic stove top. The curtains were pink and elegant. In our world Debra had old couches, a smaller TV with Freeview. But in this world, she had Sky. It was as if she was richer. Or maybe things were cheaper in this world? 


We sat down at the table and started gulping down our bacon and eggs with sausages. Man, it was tasty. The bacon was crispy. The Debra in our world would only have backed beans on toast for breakfast, but the breakfast here seemed expensive. 


"So, Debs," I said, popping some egg in my mouth "How much did you pay for the furniture? Must be expensive. How much is the big screen TV?" 


"Pay?" Said Debra with a puzzled look on her face. "And how much? What does that mean?" 


"How much money did you spend? That's what I'm asking?" 


"Back in our universe," explained Sarah "If you want to something from a shop, then you give the shop keeper some money". 


"I don't know what that is though," said Debra "We don't have money in this world. No one has ever invented money". 


"So, what you mean to tell me," I said "Is that you just took it from the shelf? And the shop keeper let you?" 


"That's pretty much it" said Debra. She wore a light purple shirt with a floral skirt. 


"Last night, Steven," said Sarah "I browsed through the history section of the encyclopedia in the guest room. It appeared that they did used to barter goods. But then the Lydians decided that it would be more efficient if everyone shared their resources equally. Without expecting anything in return. That's why everything in this house looks flash. It's as if Debra didn't need money to pay for anything. She got everything for free". 


"That's pretty much it" said Debra, gulping down the last of her expensive Robert Harris coffee. I gulped down my coffee too. "Shall we head into town". Debra smiled. "Take the bus?" 


"Yeah," said Sarah "Let's go shopping". 


Sarah grinned as we put all the dishes in the dishwasher. In our world Debra doesn't own a dishwasher. I was thinking Oh god. They're gonna drag me to the clothing shops. We exited the front door, Debra locking the door behind her. We walked down the path through the brown wooden gate and turned left towards Dominion Road. Debra lived in St Alburns Road. 


While we waited at the busstop next to the dairy, I was about to take out my hopcard, which we use to tag on and off the bus or train, when Sarah said "Steven, darling. We won't need that in this world. Money is not required here, remember?" 


"Oh" I replied. 


There was a group of young teenagers standing next to us. The Auckland Metro

Bus eventually came. We climbed aboard the bus, noticing there was no device for

scanning hop cards or a counter next to the driver's seat. We walked down to the

middle seats. I sat next to Sarah with my hand around her shoulders. Debra sat in the seat in front of us. Sarah looked out the window. 


The bus took us down Dominion Road, past the Mount Eden Shops and Countdown Eden Valley. At that point I was thinking of calling this world Monfree, short for Money Free World. The Bus turned right, left and left onto Mount Eden Road, then we turned right onto Symonds Street. We crossed the Symond Street Bridge and turned left onto Wesley Street and we stopped off on Victoria Street which was off Queen Street, which was the main street of Auckland CBD. We got off the bus and headed up Queen Street. 


We turned left onto Queen Street. Monfree Auckland looked identical to our Auckland, except that there were no homeless people in Monfree Auckland. Because you did not need money to buy a house here, there were no speculators in MonfreeEarth, so no homelessness. Everybody had a home. All you had to do was go to a real estate agent and he or she would show where the available homes were. 


We turned left into Cotton On. There was a poster of some 18-year-old girls in one-piece bathing suites in the poster. We entered the store. One of the retail volunteers greeted us at the entrance saying "Hi, good morning" as she smiled at us. There were a lot of girls going through the clothes. Everybody wore trendy clothes in this world. 


"The retail assistants are all volunteers," said Debra "they just want to help out in the store. Make shore people are happy with the clothes they offer. All they do is just stock the shelves and that's it. At the end of the day, the accountant counts how much stock they have left and order in more clothes if necessary". 


I followed Sarah to an aisle as she spotted some jeans hanging from the shelfs. She looked at the dark blue shredded jeans and said "That looks good" as she held it in her hands. "What do you think, honey?" 


"I like it. They would suite you" I replied. 


"You should come and look at this" cried Debra from the other side. She held a black dress with pink flowers on it, saying "Isn't it wonderful?" as she smiled. Then looked up at us. "Should I try it?" 


"Yeah. Try is on" said Sarah. 


As I followed the girls over to the changing rooms, I noticed that where the counter

would have been in our universe, there was a receptionist desk where the

supervisor kept an eye on the store. Her volunteers stocking up the shelves. There

was a long line of girls and a few dudes waiting to try on their clothes. Eventually

the girls were shown the changing rooms by the volunteer. They disappeared into

the changing room for a while. After a while, Sarah came out of the changing room and said "What do you think? Does it suit me?" 


Sarah looked at herself in the mirror. 


"It looks good on you" I said. 


"It doesn't make my bum look fat?" 


"Nah. You have a fine ass". 


A moment later, Debra came out of the changing rooms and said "What do you think?" As she smiled. 


"It fits you well," said Sarah "I like it". 


"It accentuates the legs" I said. 


The girls disappeared back into the changing rooms and cameout in their old clothes.  


"We'll take it" said Sarah as we left the changing rooms with Sarah holding a pair of jeans and Debra holdingthe dress. "Is there a Number One Shoe Wherehouse around here?" 


"Yes, certainly," said Debra "I'll take you there". 


We exited the store and walked across Queen Street as the red man turned green at the crossing. We walked up the arcade between Dotti and Jay Jays, both of which sold clothes. There were a lot of shops in the arcade. We came out onto Elliot Street which was pedestrian friendly now. We turned left and worked towards the Number One Shoe Warehouse on the right on the first floor. We entered the store. 


There were all sorts of shoes in the store. Jandals, sandals, sneakers, training shoes, high heels, work boots, knee length boots, all sorts of shoes. Sarah picked up some sandals with the golden straps off the shelve, plopped it on the ground, took off her left jandal and tried it on. 


"You have enough shoes as it is," I protested "You don't need anymore shoes". 


"Shush you," replied Sarah, looking down at the shoes. "A girl can never have enough shoes. What you think?" 


"I like it," I replied. "Suits you well". 


Sarah tried on the sandals with the thin silver straps, one with thick black straps and another with white straps. Debra reminded her that "You can get as many shoes as you like. It's free". 


Debra tried on some red sneakers, dark blue denim converse shoes, white denim sneakers. Each time showing off her shoes and asking what we think. We agreed that each shoe suited her. 


Once the girls had finished trying on their shoes, Sarah grabbed four pairs of jandals and Debra got three pairs of sneakers.  


"Where to next?" Asked Sarah as we exited the store. 


We turned left down Elliot Street, walking past the Domino's Pizza, Zambero Mexican, Juice Bar. We turned right down Victoria Street West and left down Queen Street. We crossed Queen Street to the Noel Leeming Store that provided all sorts of gadgets and appliances. Cell phones, laptops, desk top computers, flat screen TVs, microwaves, drones, washing machines. I looked through the VR goggles at what appeared to be the interior of the Avenger's Headquarters.  


"Steven," shouted Sarah. I took off my VR goggles. "What do you think of the Samsung Galaxy 8?" 


She held it out as she walked over to me. I took a close look at it. I said "It's great. I like the model though". 


"I'll give it to you. Since we don’t need money here". 


I put my arms around her, gave her a hugged and kissed her on the lips. I gave

her some tongue for a moment there. We pulled back and Sarah showed the store volunteer the cell phone. He gave it to her in a box and she gave it to me. 


"Thanks, honey," I said as I smiled, looking at the box. "I appreciate it". 


"You're welcome" said Sarah "I'm starved. Are you?" Then Sarah turned to Debra and asked "What is there to eat around here?" 


"Oh, we got MacDonald's, Burger King, Indian food, sushi" said Debra looked up at the ceiling. 


"So, we get free MacDonald's?" I said "Man, I always wanted free MacDonald's. So, I can eat as much as I want?" 


"Yeah," said Debra "Let's go get MacDonald's". 


We left Noel Leemings, turned left up Queen Street across the intersection where Farmer's was. The MacDonald's was in an old building. We went up to the counter and ordered our meals.  


"I'll have the Big Mac Combo please" I said to the volunteer. 


Sarah ordered the Big Boss combo and Debra the Mighty Angus. Sarah and I usually budgeted when we hanged out but … since money didn't exist in this world, we could eat as much as we want. The volunteer printed our tickets with the ticket number on it. Once our numbers were read out we grabbed our food and took them to the drink dispenser where I filled my cup with Fanta. Sarah had coke zero and Debra L & P. We went back to the table and started eating our food. 


"You're lucky," said Sarah to Debra "You can eat as much as you like. Eat whenever you get hungry. Back in my world, we have to budget. If we ran out of money, we don't eat. Same with the other universes that Fred went to". 


"No one has to beg for money here," I said. "You can just get food from the supermarket whenever you want". 


"That's true," said Debra "a few weeks ago there was a shortage of broccoli due to the rain. So, the Government rationed our veggies". Debra picked up her L & P and sipped it. "Shall we go to the movies?" 


"Let's" said Sarah. 


"Love to" I said. 


Once we had finished our lunch, we left MacDonald's and walked up Queen Street towards the Civic Building. We walked down the stairs to where the food court was. Funny seeing that people have more plate on their food. We went up the escalators to the third floor. There were no counters at the movie theatres. Just a reception desk and a shelf full of snacks. I noticed that the movie goers helped themselves to the drinks, popcorn, ice creams and lollies. As if they were in their own home. I could not believe I was in a world where I could just help myself to as much food as I like. Wow.  Above the snacks was a menu telling us what time the movies were on. 


"What movie do you want to see?" Asked Sarah. I placed my left arm around her waist. 


"How about Jigsaw?" I suggested. 


"Jigsaw sounds like a great idea" said Debra. The Debra back in our world was a horror freak. 


"Jigsaw it is!" 


"Do we need tickets to see the movie?" 


"Nah. You can just walk into the cinemas whenever you like as often as you like?" Said Debra "Come, the movie starts in ten minutes". 


Debra checked the directory which showed that the movie was in cinema six on the third floor. We took the escalator up another floor. Debra talked about how she likes to go to the movies everyday after work. Then she would go drinking during the weekends.  


"You are so lucky, Debra," I said "Because … man, let me tell you. In my world, most people can't afford to go to the movies that often. Some can't even afford to go to the movies". 


"That is sad" said Debra. We reached the third floor and turned left towards the movie theatres. "We've come to see Jigsaw". Debra smiled at the usher who directed us to the closest cinema to the left. "Everybody should have the right to go to the movies whenever they like". 


We entered the cinema and walked down the aisle to the row of seats at the front. We made our way to the middle of the row and sat down. Debra said to us "It must really suck living in your world". 


"It sure does. At times" said Sarah. 


The lights went out, the curtains pulled to the side and the ads started playing. There was the L & P ad where the two sheep escaped from the pen and got radical haircuts. An ad for Thor Ragnorak. Justice League which feature Batman, Superman, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg. The same comic characters we have in our world. 


Then the movie Jigsaw came on and the curtains pulled further apart. Everyone went quiet. The beginning of the movie showed five people with tin buckets on their heads being chained to the wall. There were circular saws inserted into the wall. Once the saws started spinning, the chains dragged them towards the saw until they cut themselves. Then the saws stopped. Only one of them died. 


Then they were hung from the ceiling until the cop jabbed the blond woman with needles full of toxins. They then cracked the combination code into the next room where the guy got trapped. The African American and brunette tried to help him, but they got trapped in a silo that was filling up with grains until the cop pulled the lever himself. The African American got cut to death as he was dragged up by the bike. He gave Jigsaw'snephew a shoddy motorbike which resulted in his death. 


Only the cop survived in the end. Turned out he was playing the part of Jigsaw as a condition for him being released. Jigsaw forgave him for getting his x-rays mixed up. He killed the detective who was corrupt. 


Once the movie finished, we left the cinemas, took the elevator to the ground floor and went to the toilets at the end of the foodcourt. I went into the men's toilets and took a pissin the urinal. Such a pleasure to relieve myself. Once I was satisfied, I washed my hands and dried them on the airblade hand dryer. I left the toilets where Debra was already waiting for me and waited for Sarah to come out. Sarah eventually came. 


"Right," said Sarah brushing the hair from her face with her right hand. "Let's go". 


Sarah held my hand as we walked through the foodcourt, up the stairs and turned left down Queen Street. 


"Where to next?" Asked Sarah. 


"We'll go to Countdown, Mount Eden," said Debra "Get some groceries on the way home". 




"Sounds great" I said. 


Sarah and I followed Debra across the intersection towards the busstop on Victoria Street East next to the Look Sharp store. We climbed aboard the bus and went and sat down at the back. I placed my around Sarah's shoulder. I kissed Sarah on the lips. It was nice having her tongue in my mouth. We pulled back. After about a few minutes of people climbing onto the bus we left. 


We arrived at the Dominion Road Shops. Debra pressed the red button. We got off the bus as we reached the bus stop and walked across the intersection and turned left towards Countdown. The carpark was full. There was a sign saying open from 7 to midnight. We entered the supermarket. Debra grabbed the shopping trolley in the foyer before we entered the building. 


Unlike back in our world, there were no checkout counters at the supermarket as no one had any money. People could just walk into the supermarket, grab as much food as they want and take it home. That was the beauty of it. It was awesome. Grabbing whatever food you needed and not having to worry about money. 


Debra and Sarah discussed what they should get for dinner. Sarah said to me "Grab a bag of oranges, honey. That's your job". 


Debra grabbed a bag of apples and bananas. Sarah grabbed the watermelon. We took a packet of Huntly and Palmers crackers, feta cheese, gherkins, pickled onions, olives. Yuck, I hate olives. Don't know why anyone would eat them. The girls grabbed shampoos, conditioners, makeup. Sarah told me to grab some red wine from the alcohol aisle. We grabbed bottles of red wine, white wine and Woodstock's. Sarah also grabbed some grapes.  


We had grabbed all the grocery items that we needed. We walked up to the bench and put our groceries into the plastic bags from the shelf. A volunteer watched us from behind the desk. They mainly stocked the shelves; the accountants would take inventories. We walked out of the supermarket with our bags of groceries. 


"I have never grabbed so much food in my life," said Sarah "We have more than enough". 


"Back in our world," I said "We can only get as much food as we can afford. In my country some children go hungry because their parents can't afford enough food". 


"That's sad," replied Debra "Children shouldn't have to starve". 


We walked around the carpark, past the chemist and Valentines restaurant and turned left down Dominion Road. We walked past the church on our left, a funeral home and a Nosh supermarket. We turned right into St Alburns Street, past the local dairy. We finally arrived at Debra's house and walked up the path to the front door. 


Debra opened up the front door. She never seems to lock the house. I asked her "Why don't you lock the house when we go out?" 


"Why would we?" Replied Debra with a puzzled look on her face. 


"Steven, honey," said Sarah "Why would anyone want to steel from Debra if they could get it for free at the shops?" 


"Oh, yeah. I didn't think about that". 


"Come here, stupid". 


Sarah pulled me towards her and briefly kissed me on the lips. It felt wet. 


That night we had oranges, apples, water melon, gherkins, onions, cheese and crackers, grapes and red wine for our dinner. And we didn't have to pay for the food! How cool is that? We watched the 6 o'clock news on channel one as Debra talked about the events that happened in her life. 


"About six years ago," said Debra "The Government banned tobacco in the shops. It is now illegal to grow and supply tobacco in this country". 


That was because the tobacco companies could not do anything about it. Because how can you sue the Government if money never existed in the first place. So, the Government had more power to protect the health of its people. 


According to the news Prime Minister Jacinda Adern was at the APEC summit in the Philippines. She wanted to discuss trade with Russia and offer to accept refugees from the Australian Government. The Filipinos protested against Donald Trump being in their country. There was an Earthquake near the border between Iran and Iraq. 


Because there was no money in this world, electric cars became more common and diesel trains were rapidly being replaced by electric trains. Factories were pumping less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, opting for solar power to power their machines. Global warming was slowing down. 


"I was thinking," said Debra as she sipped her glass of red wine "Maybe we head down to Hamilton tomorrow. Go shopping. Go out to the pubs. Visit my friends at the university. How does that sound". 


"Yeah," said Sarah "That sounds great". 


"Fantastic" I said. 

© Copyright 2020 simon arthur. All rights reserved.

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