Columbus Warp: World Without Telephones

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Fred, Michael and Stephen meet the girls at a Christmas Parade in a parallel world where telephones haven't been invented. Then Fred and Debra come across a fire demon. How will Fred alert the fire brigade if there are no phones?

Submitted: December 17, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 17, 2018



Michael and I had arrived at the Galatos Street Lodge to visit Stephen McFerris while the girls were away shopping at Downtown Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand. We were in a parallel world where telephones had not been invented. That's right. There were no telephones in this world!

Debra and I were transdimensional explorers working for a New Zealand company called Columbus Warp. Debra and I had been dating for a few months now. Michael was our local guide to this world.

Michael reached up and knocked on the front door of the lodge. No one answered. He knocked on the door again but louder. This time Steven came out of Sarah and Steven's unit and walked up to the front door to let us in.

“Hi, come on in,” said Stephen “Nice to have visitors”.

Stephen was a skinny man with short brown hair, white t-shirt with a bulldog smoking a pipe and black shorts. His girlfriend, Sarah, had also gone shopping with my girlfriend, Debra, and Michael's sister, Stephany McCallum, who came up to Auckland to work for Columbus Warp. Sarah was a paranormal investigator working for Paracrisis. Stephen was her assistant. He had a crush on her ever since he saw her face in the newspaper when she battled the poltergeist fire.

We followed him into the unit. I shut the door behind us. Stephen said “I'm just hanging out the washing”.

“OK,” said Michael “This is Fred Watson. He's from a parallel world where they have these devices called telephones”. Michael said telephones slowly for clarification.

“What's a telephone?” asked Stephen.

“Well,” I said “A telephone is a device that allows one to speak to another person over a great distance. So two people can speak to each other from another country, as if they were talking face to face”.

“How do they do that?” said Stephen. “It would take a long time for sound waves to reach the other side of the world”. Stephen didn't look convinced.

“Well, how a telephone works is that when you speak into the receiver, it converts your voice into electrical signals. And its these signals that are transmitted through the telephone wire to another telephone at the speed of light, a sound is converted to electrons. And electrons can travel at the speed of light. When you pick up the phone and dial the number, the phone at the other end alerts the person being called that they are receiving a call. They then pick up the phone and say 'hello' to let the person doing the calling know that they picked up the call. Those electrical signals are then converted to speech that is clear and distinct”.

“I heard,” said Stephen as he finished hanging up his clothes “That Alexander Graham Bell had failed to make the device. He just couldn't build a device that would make a distinct speech, so he abandoned it. They say it can't be done”.

“But, my boy, it can be done. Graham Bell managed to make a telephone work when he spilled acid on his legs. When he yelled out 'Watson, come over here! I need you!' Watson distinctly heard his voice at the other end of the phone. That's how we got the telephone in our world. And you know what? The phone has become very useful in our world”. I grabbed the cell phone out of my back pocket and showed it to Stephen. “This is what we call a mobile phone. We make calls on it. But, since cell towers haven't been put up in this world and there is no phone network here, this phone won't work in your world. You need a cell phone network to make the phone work. But, however, I call pick up gravity wave on this phone. So I can contact Michael's counterpart in my world”.

Stephen grabbed my phone, turned it over and had a careful look at it. He touched a few icons and said “You can still get the internet on here. Your phone must be picking up signals from the satellite. That's how we get internet”.

“In my world, we get the internet through the phone wires. Now I know how you get internet here as well”.

Once Stephen had finished hanging out the washing, he placed the basket next to the couch and the pegs back underneath the cupboard.

“Now my washing is sorted” said Stephen putting his hands on his hips.

“Come on think of it,” said Michael. Michael was in his late twenties with short blond hair and tall build. “Isn't there a Christmas Parade today?”

“Yeah,” replied Stephen “that sounds like a great idea”.

“So, I take it the parade was cancelled last week?” I asked crossing my arms.

“Yeah,” replied Michael “It was raining. So they postponed it”.

“OK, let's go,” I said “Once we get to the Christmas Parade, we can find the girls. Perhaps they'd like to join us?”

Stephen closed the glass door at the back while I closed the window into the corridor. Once we exited unit, Stephen locked the door behind us. It didn't lock properly the first time so he locked it again. Once the door was locked, we exited Galatos Lodge by pressing the green button and made our way down Galatos Street.

We turned left down East Street, right at Karangahape Road. Because there were no telephones in this world, the post office was still open on the corner of K Road and East Street, next to the dairy. To this day and age people still went there to send a telegraph to their loved ones. A lot of the businesses still used Morse code machines to communicate with each other. That's what the did. In this world Paracrisis and Columbus Warp had Morse code machines to receive messages from across the country.

We walked diagonally across the street and headed down Pitt Street. I asked Stephen “So, Stephen, since you don't have telephones in this world. How do people get in touch with you?”

“What are you asking me a silly question for?” asked Stephen.

“Fred is not from our universe, remember?” said Michael “He may not be familiar with how we do things in this world”.

“OK,” said Stephen “Sometimes we receive a telegram from the post office or our Morse code machine. Some people send E-mails and some even travel from another part of the country. Our Morse code messages are sent to Sarah's laptop that sounds the dots and dashes”.

“Ok” I nodded as we turned right down Vincent Street past the Auckland Central Fire Station, synagogue and Amora Hotel whom I heard were owned by people who practiced witchcraft.

We arrived to find that the sides of Mayoral Drive and Queen Street were packed with people waiting for the Christmas Parade to arrive.

“Look at all these people” said Michael.

“Yeah” I replied.

There were a lot of families with young children, teenagers and couples sitting on the edge of Mayoral Drive or standing.

“And there's the parade” said Stephen pointing.

“Let's head down Queen Street and search for the girls” said Michael, turning right along Mayoral Drive.

“And how, may I ask, are we going to find the girls without a cell phone. There's no cell towers in this world” I asked.

“Use your eyes” said Stephen.

“Man, you ask such stupid questions sometimes” said Michael shaking his head.

We turned left onto Queen Street, keeping an eye out for the girls while at the same time keeping ahead of the marching band in white uniforms. We walked at the same pace as the police car at the front of the parade. As we walked past the Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Square on the left, Michael asked “Do you see them?”

“Nah” I replied.

“No sign of them” said Stephen.

Once we had walked past a grand stand and reached the Farmers building on the corner of Victoria Street and Queen Street, Michael stopped, turned around and said “You two stay here. I'll go find the girls”.

“Ok” I said.

“Sure” said Stephen.

Michael walked back the way we came as we waited, watching the parade. That police car out the front came past us first, followed by the marching band. It was a fantastic day. The natives seemed to be enjoying themselves. Hard to see over the crowd of people. The marching band blew their trumpets and banged their drums.

A moment later Michael came back and said “I found the girls. They're over at Wendy’s. This way”.

We followed Michael back up the road. On the way I spotted Willy Wonker on the top platform with the oompa loompas marching at the front to the tune of Willy Wonker, Willy Wonker, he will make your day. Willy bobbed up and down to the music and waved out to the crowd with his cool glasses, purple had and purple suit. I saw the giant inflatable Kermit The Frog followed by a giant inflatable Miss Piggy, Goldie Locks and the three bears.

Then I heard Debra shouting “there they are” pointing to us.

I rushed over to Debra, picking her arm in my arms and kissing her on the lips. Debra smiled back at me. She was a short, medium built woman with brown curly hair and blue eyes behind her glasses. She had been travelling with me ever since she rescued me from the world without police.

Debra smiled at me and said “Nice to see you too. Let's watch the parade”.

I put Debra down. She leaned her head back against my chest as I wrapped my arms around her waist. I saw Stephan kissing Sarah Marshal who had long red hair that went down to her shoulders and medium build. Michael stood beside Stephany who had long brown curly hair and skinny build.

“I saw Willy Wonker, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy” I said.

“Yeah,” said Debra “I thought they had split up. Looks like Stephany's going to trip over”.

It was at that point that I noticed that Stephany had her shoe laces tied together. Michael always likes to play tricks on her. He did a science major in quantum physics and string theory at MIT.

Debra and I saw Cinderella on the back of a glass slipper behind a giant pumpkin and a boy dressed as a mouse. There was a group of Korean students performing marshal arts on the road, Asians waving giant flags and a Chinese dragon dancing on the road. I spotted Ronald McDonald and Hamburgler on the top of the MacDonald’s truck singing a Christmas Carol. Then he was singing “Kids, you must remember, every time your in the car. And it makes no difference if you're going near or far. If you're in the front seat, or if you're in the back. Click goes your seatbelt, before you hit the track. Click, goes your seat belt. Click, click, click. When you take a ride, you've got to belt up quick. Tell all your friends and your family that's the trick. Click, goes your seatbelt, click, click, click. Make it Click!”.

Then he started singing another song. MacDonald didn't just belong to America. All of these floats I saw coming down the road represented the human empire.

Debra looked up at me and said “Fred, I'm feeling a bit dizzy from all this heat. I think I need to sit down”.

“Ok, honey,” I said “Let's go find a place to rest”.

Debra turned to the others and said “Me and Fred are going to find a place to sit down”.

“Ok” replied Sarah waving to us.

Debra and I walked up the street holding hands and turned left down the side street towards the Auckland City Library. Debra turned to me and said “I'm going to go and find a place to sit. You go and buy us some drinks”.

“Ok” I said as I accepted the five dollar note from her.

I kissed Debra on the lips and turned around, looking for a dairy. I walked towards a kebab store. I picked out a can of coke zero and sparkling duet from the fridge and took them to the counter. The store manager said “four dollars please”.

He was an Indian I'd imagine. I handed him the five dollar note and got one dollar back. Then I exited the store, turning left towards the Auckland City Library, then left again as I walked beside the library. I saw Debra sitting on the bench against the library, opposite the old St James Theatre which had been partially demolished. I sat down beside her. We cracked open our cans of soft drink and drank it down. I said “Thanks for the drink”.

“You're welcome” replied Debra smiling.

I placed my right hand around Debra's waist and left hand on her leg. She wore jeans. Debra placed her arm around my shoulder, her right arm round my waist and we kissed each other on the lips. Man, her lips tasted fine. We stuck our tongues in each other's mouths, kissing passionately. I felt warm all over. We pulled back. Debra smiled at me. Her smile was so beautiful. And I smiled back.

Suddenly a young man ran down the pedestrian street yelling “Run for your lives. A fire demon is coming!”

Debra and I looked up towards the direction he was running from. At first I thought it was some young man playing silly buggers. But it turned out that there was in fact a fire demon roaming down Lorne Street setting the shops on fire without touching them.

Debra quickly turned to me and said “Fred, go find Sarah. Tell her what's happening. Go”.

“Ok, honey” I replied.

I ran down Lorne Street away from the fire demon and turned right towards Queen Street. There I spotted Sarah and Stephen enjoying the parade next to Michael and Stephany. People dressed as rein deer walked down the street, waving at the crowd. I shouted “Sarah, we need you. Quickly!”

Sarah and the others turned to me. She said “What is it?” Her ginger hair blowing into her face.

“There seems to be a fire demon destroying the shops on Lorne Street. You better come”.

“OK. Show me”.

I led Sarah and them down the side street towards the library, turning left onto Lorne St. Debra said “Over there!”

We stopped. Sarah walked past me, her eyes going wide as she saw the demon attacking the shops. The buildings all alight. She looked shocked. Sarah shouted “Debra, Stephany. Go into the library and get everyone evacuated now!” Debra and Stephany did as they were told, heading into the library. Then Sarah turned to us men and said “Fred, Michael, run over to the fire station and get help. You know on the corner of Pitt St, Vincent St?” We nodded. “Stephen, stay here and help me vanquish the demon”.

We didn't waste any time. We took off down the side street towards Queen Street, ran up Queen Street at a face pace, being careful to avoid hitting people. We turned left onto Mayoral Drive, rushing past the last float with a Maori Santa on the sled. We turned left up Vincent Street, sprinting all the way up the slope towards Pitt Street. Once we reached the fire station, we tapped on the garage door.

A fire fighter walked up towards the door, pressing the button to open the garage door. Another one went up to us and said “Yes, can I help you?”

“You better come,” said Michael “The shops on Lorne Street are on fire. Seems to be a fire demon setting it off”.

“A fire demon you say?”

“Yes. He's setting the whole street on fire. Sarah and Stephen are fighting him off”. The fire chief turned to his comrades and shouted “Come on, guys. We better go put out the fire”.

The rest of the fire fighters slid down the pole, grabbed their fire proof suites and climbed into the fire engines.

“I'm Bob Smith. I'm the fire chief. Hop on board the fire engine. Show me where it's at”.

Michael and I climbed aboard the fire engine with Bob. He started the engine, switching on the siren as he pulled out of the garage. We turned left onto Pitt Street, zooming down very fast. We turned left onto K Road, the cars stopping or pulling aside to make way for us. We cut across Upper Queen Street as Lower Queen was closed due to the Christmas Parade. We skidded left onto Symonds Street, racing down the street before sliding to the left onto Wesley Street. We zoomed down the ramp onto the street and screeched to a halt with the other fire engines.

Michael and I hopped out of the fire engine and ran towards Debra and the others as they tried to vanquish the fire demon. The fire fighters put on their protective clothing, hooked the hose up into the fire hydrant, turned it on and started putting out the fire. Michael and I joined in on the chant.

“Our God, Our heavenly father. Hallow be thy name. Forgive us for our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation”. Sarah held the cross against the fire demon as Stephen sprinkled holy water on it. The demon roared defiantly, shooting out one of his flames towards Sarah who quickly jumped out of the way.

“That was not nice, fire demon. Now you make me very mad. And you do not want to make me mad” said Sarah.

“Give it your best, bitch” replied the demon with a mocking, evil laugh.

“In the name of the son, the father and the holy spirit. I vanquish you back to hell from where you come”.

The fire demon screamed in agony as it was being sucked into a vortex that opened up in the ground below.

“In the name of Jesus, our lord, I condemn you to hell!”

The fire demon roared defiantly as it was sucked into the portal. It was terrifying. I felt my hair stand on end, goose bumps all over. The demon screamed as it was pulled into the vortex which spun faster and faster. The vortex finally vanished. The demon was gone.

The crowd cheered as the demon was finally vanquished. The fire fighters were now busy putting out the fires that were caused by the demon. It took a while to put out the fires. We all ran up to Sarah and gave her a hug as she had a big grin on her face.

“You done so well,” said Debra “You are amazing”.

“I know,” replied Sarah “I always manage to beat the demons”.

“You are such a clever person, honey,” said Stephen “You know how to take charge. And you are always calm in a crisis situation. That's why I love you so much”.

“I love you too, sweetie” replied Sarah, smiling at him before quickly kissing him on the lips. She turned to us and said “Let's go to Wendy’s. We'll have lunch there”.

“Fine by me” I said, as we walked down Lorne Street towards Queen Street. My left arm around Debra's waste. What a lovely day.

© Copyright 2020 simon arthur. All rights reserved.

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