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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A telling of what will happen in the near future when getting anywhere in the world takes only minutes.

Submitted: March 10, 2016

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Submitted: March 10, 2016




A Short Story

Nicholas Cochran



As I look back on it, that was The Beginning of a New World; a better one.

I have no reluctance to declare it absolutely The Greatest Day in history.

Coincidentally, Colonel Sanders announced worldwide delivery of Kentucky Fried Chicken; half price on The Momentous occasion.

Pope Francis declared infallibly, that it was almost The Greatest Day.In fact, he stated rather unequivocally that it was quite wonderful, but it was also The Day of St. Joakins, The Patron Saint of Weaving. This capped The Day.

In addition, His Holiness visited The Vatican Station and blessed it profusely amid silent masses and much Holy Water.

In Hawaii, a fever of bonanza ran amok. Rumor had it that Oahu had run out of pineapples on The Day as over eighty-thousand Mid-Western American Legionnaires plopped into Pearl Harbor for a two day convention on The Hulk of The U.S.S. Missouri.

The Number of Tokyo taxi- cab victims dropped off sharply on The Day. It seems that The Quick preferred to walk and throw firecrackers and be trampled together, while raw fish sizzled and sake boiled freely.

The Emperor swung his sword and cut a fine obi. All bowed stiffly as she slunk away. Afterwards, he commanded that The Day be The Only Day. It was, ah so.

Muscovites reluctantly chanted the usual praises of The Day with special regard to the Putin Polkas. The Little Fellow then granted everyone The National Hour Off.

Murmansk did her thing with The Snow and The Bears, while St. Petersburg wigged out.

Later in The Day, The Muscovite Daylong Drinkers inhaled barrels of vodka and threw their glasses against The Kremlin Towers.

Nightfall brought bumps in The Night and The Siberian Railway ran two extra trains. Nevertheless, even The Engineers believed The Day to be The Outstanding Soviet Day.


San Francisco almost brought The Bridge down. All calculations pointed to a Golden Gate Collapse. Moreover, The Span did suffer considerable shaking when The Crowd raced from East to West to view The Mayor on The City Yacht, waving from far below.

Many people spat; but it was The Third Vessel that received it.

Most waved American or Japanese flags and a few sang an old song of The Shirt.

It was The Greatest Day in The West.


Nearly everyone stopped talking when a Priest in Quebec City said he thought The Day was even more important than Christmas.

The Heavy Silence bore bitter truths.

Only a few objected.

The Rest, by their silence, conceded to The Proposition that God was in fact not alive and well in a rocket tube, but rather a distant memory of a world that had whistled past.

The Priest was cast in bronze and sold at The Patois Pharmacy, three for a dollar—a symbol of religious decline and a souvenir of The Greatest Day.

Idi BeMean served man by supping sumptuously on Utter ReVoltas after declaring himself and The Underwear that he was wearing over his uniform, The Greatest Day.

Even at one hundred and five degrees in The Shade, everyone had more or less adapted to Idi’s constant confusion and occasional delusions, but this latest announcement they found to be free from reproach.

General BeMean found a horse to straddle, but it succumbed shortly before reaching The City’s main artery and so The Old But Large Soldier weaved a soldiery path on foot to The Main Square where The Mayor and two other citizens gave The Big Man a pewter walking stick, that was similarly employed.

The Speech lasted two hours and by The End, The Crowd had swelled from two to twenty-two, as several shoppers stopped to express their amazement at The Old Man’s vocal range.

That night, he died, and was buried with The Horse, The Underwear and four Israelis under heavy skies.


The German Volk ran The Greatest Day on perfect time, thereby winning a twenty-one day occupation of The Rhine Land.

Problems developed over whether this included weekends or just working days, and a nasty scene was only just avoided.

Nevertheless, The Saxons were sensational on The Day. Everything hummed, just like The Thirties.

Hamburg was delicious, all covered in red, white and black banners and eagles, while cymbals and medieval trumpets heralded each arrival and departure.

Coincident with, and simultaneously with The Greatest Day, arrived almost instantaneous freight movement.

All over The Fatherland, beer literally flowed in The Streets as locals dumped keg upon keg of U. S. Ponysip Beer into The Gutter.

Achtung! The Whole Scene was flat to The Point of being nauseating. However, by morning, The Cobblestones were dry and spotless; as well as deodorized.

During this night of The Long Brooms, a crack street contingent had labored for The Fatherland’s Pavement: without sleep; without food; and without mercy. War rations were strictly verboten.

All of The Aryan Giants loved it; especially The Iron Crosses that were dispensed for The Occasion.

A bronze bar was added to The Crosses The Very Next Day and The Second Night after removal of The Canadian Beer from The Byways.


The London Station created controlled chaos as a receiving line weeded out The Less Desirable Elements. Black tie was tolerated along with an occasional officer’s uniform but only white tie was truly correct.

The Day was marvelous; smashing one would dare say, but proper.

Of course, once quayside, The Queen and Prince Phillip bickered openly for reporters from The Tabloids, and The Prince quickly displayed to The Photographers where a horse had bitten him.

Princess Anne and Prince Charles issued a waxen smile from a seventeenth century coach that was too small for them and The Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

One of Her Majesty’s Corgis abluted upon The Lord Mayor, which prompted a remark about shaking a leg of The British Economy, now that it was possible for The Island to be drained of population in a long afternoon.

The Pubs remained open long enough to have more than two drinks in The Evening, a fact that all commuters from Stateside found most refreshing after The Short Transatlantic Run.


Canada designed another new flag for The Greatest Day and The Prairie Provinces held a wheat selling competition in which Saskatchewan, represented by Moose Jaw, easily dominated with an escorted delivery of five hundred million bushels to Russia in exchange for World Hockey  supremacy.

The Return of The Emblematic Cup to The Canadian representative prompted first tears of joy followed immediately by his demise.

The Warm Line to Ottawa relayed both completion of The Deal and condolences.

The Remains were shipped across The Bering Strait and sent to Flin Flon by rail, and finally to a large slab of ice in The City Square, where The Frozen Representative was memorialized for all The Visitors, complete with bow tie and Argyle ankle socks.

The ANZAC Rocket Tube irrevocably connected Aussie and Kiwi with each other and The Rest of The World Community.


The Day involved The Simultaneous Dedication and opening of The Transoceanic Vacuum Tube Transportation Systems.

The Tubes were supported on land using The Railway Right-of-Way.

For water, The Submarine Ballast Principles were employed to raise or lower The Tube in case of emergencies.

Within The Tubes themselves, all The Air was removed and The Trains, using a variety of cutting edge technology, were allowed to reach astonishing speeds which increased almost weekly.

A web of tubes crossed The Seven Seas, transplanting natives onto foreign platforms in minutes.


World tensions eased at once.

Before one country could become angry with another, The Latter ceased to exist as The Entire Population scrammed to The Riviera until The Heat was off.

Some countries held exchange programs. The Irish took over New York for a month and drank all their imported/exported whiskey and walked The Beats while The Yanks drank whiskey and watched The Sun go down ‘oer Galway Bay.


Governments worldwide shortly threw up their hands in defeat. All efforts to promote either nationalism; or even chauvinism crumbled in The Face of rapidly changing demographics.

Countries could never be sure which or what people would be living there next.

If one country threw a great party, another country might be empty for The Whole Weekend.

Of course, ski season was mad.

Worldwide weather reports, plus The Almost-Instant Transportation, channeled all skiers and would–be skiers to The Current Great Slopes in almost millions.

On one occasion The Weather Guru made an error, and Samoa had eighty thousand people in parkas asking where The Mountain was..


Our family lived in San Francisco in The Spring and visited England every weekend.

Then we moved to Hampshire for the summer and I commuted to San Francisco daily and then went to Hong Kong for The Weekends.

In Autumn we lived in Ontario and Vermont and spent weekends in The Loire Valley.

In The Winter, we lived in Sydney and skied in Japan.

Fares were extremely low; The Traffic being so heavy.

Whole towns would go to another country for The Lions Club Night to Remember or The Father and Son Banquet.

Automatic passport scanners as well as biometrics made entry and exit a snap.

International credit cards eliminated currency problems as well as The Plague of muggers and footpads.

Of course it wasn’t long before The Populations of each county kept an eye out for a good job in some other country; or a better benefit; or a new house. Boundaries began to dissolve; tensions between all countries fell to almost zero; even The Russians encouraged large sectors of their population to travel.

Some were only allowed to live in another country on parole during The week but had to return on The Weekends.  

Of course, this lasted about a month. Those certain brains never came back.

No retaliations could be made against any country by another hostile country, simply because half the native population might be on a bender in that country should hostilities break out, or bombs be dropped.


High speed trains fed the main stations for The Rocket Tubes and not once had there been an accident.

 Sub sonic and supersonic jumbo liners only lasted two years.

Ten crashes one year killed over seven thousand people.

Sonic booms accounted for one hundred thousand more when The Victims were crushed beneath The Collapsing Walls of older buildings .


And thus, man finally returned to The Earth and solved problems while staying on The Earth.


International cooperation replaced isolationism and, after a period, world suggestion boxes replaced The Useless Functions of governments.

College kids turned down summer desk jobs and headed for The Big Money to be made while personing pumping and emergency stations in The Middle of The World’s oceans, for a month or two.

Australia flowered almost overnight.

Perth had to fight for her station because of cost overruns of almost four trillion dollars.

However, she was able to entirely remove The Debt within two years.

The Western ‘Out back’—even into The Center of The Blazing Hot Desert Areas—were pounced upon by ‘new’ pioneers, with and without capital.


The Rocket Tubes carried traffic two ways. The Top Two Tubes carried passengers; freight was moved on The Bottom Two.

Transcontinental tubes were constructed simultaneously with The Transoceanic ones.

The Sun never set on an idle rocket train.

Of course, there were problems with The Transoceanic Commuters.

I remember when I worked in New York and lived in Salisbury, England. 

At five or six PM, I would leave The Office for The Tube, and after a twenty-minute ride, I would exit at Southampton and take an electric train non-stop toSalisbury.

My entire trip from door to door was approximately forty-five minutes, but having left New York at five or six pm, I now found it to be eleven fifteen in England—and no supper yet.

Of course, that took some adjusting to; but I saw a lot of English countryside by moonlight and every Late Show at The Movies or on The Telly.

I wouldn’t leave for work until after noon while I played golf, went swimming or rode a horse every other day.


Once more I must stress that The Fares on my transoceanic trip were ridiculously low.  One estimate placed The New York to London passenger flow at well over three million, six hundred people per day.

The cost of the tubes were fixed; pumps; garages; and fuel.

However, The Per Day average of five dollars per trip equals approximately eighteen million per day; or about one billion five hundred million per year.

Scarcely one year had passed before new tubes were being constructed to transport The Overflow that had already built up during The Inaugural Year.

Instead of going to a zoo for The Afternoon, people would take special charter tubes to Kenya or Zambia to view The Real Thing for a small admission fee.

Just as The Populations of countries had concentrated near The Seaports before airplanes, so now The Populations swelled around The Tube Stations.

Feeder transportation increased in speed to a remarkable degree.

Many complaints and suggestions were never lacking from frustrated holiday seekers planning a weekend in Mumbai or Macao.

Eventually private companies built smaller, faster and less expensive tubes but had to pay states, provinces or countries, exorbitant sums to locate The Tube Station within their taxable area.

New competition developed and prices fell close to two dollars while The Traffic increased.

Atlantic eastbound car traffic left every fifteen seconds on The Main Line—and fifteen cars every thirty seconds on The Private line, with The Private Cars arriving one and a half minutes before The Public Train.

 Speeds increased somewhat with The New Trains and engines.

Soon a speed of fifteen thousand miles per hour was reached and The New York to London trip was a sixteen minute trip and cost only a dollar ninety-nine.

Special bargains offered two sixty-nine, ninety-nine return tickets with a dinner and show for two.

Gradually cars disappeared and grasses grew between The Concrete Sections of The Highways and The Freeways.

Only pleasure driving was done on roads; The Older and more scenic, The Better. People began to walk again and enter The Air again—and even talk again.

Every land and culture was a short ride away. It was like a magic slide through wonderland.

Colonel Sanders had free delivery to every country in The World except Tibet.

However, take-out restaurants in Des Moines might get an order for fresh corn to be picked up in ten minutes by a Colombian.

Gambling trains hit Monte Carlo every hour with one-half of The Fare returned to The Guest in chips; plus one drink of Chianti, Campari or Pernod.

Berlitz was The Number One stock of The Year, closely followed by a Dale Carnegie knock-off, while Esalen, The Big E was finally on The Move.

The Future looked very rosy indeed.

My family decided to live on The Silk Road.

I chose to live on Space Colony Thirteen. 

© Copyright 2018 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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