The original, 3-page short story version of


Copyright © 1980 by Roger M. Wilcox. All rights reserved.
(typing on this story began 26-May-1980)

The original draft was written on a mechanical typewriter, with no right margin. All spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, etc. are as in the original.

You have been warned.


This work was originally an assignment of the same name, dated as follows: 3/8/80. Nothing has been edited or deleted, and nothing has been changed. By the way, I got an 88 on this assignment.


I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the strange device before me. A simple cylinder, designed to accelerate someone up to 100 years into the future. As I prepared to be blasted by the front end of the cylinder (approx. 8 feet in diameter), I gathered up some gold for money, and an electronic game for enjoyment. Suddenly, a single switch was flipped, and the front of the cylinder radiated a blinding blue light. I had been forwarned of this, and quickly put on my black goggles. For a moment, all I could here was the flicking of switches, the turning of knobs, and the obscene dialog of the scientific personnel. At last, someone pushed the last lever, and every molecule in my body began to tingle. Even though I couldn't see waht was happening, an observer informed me, after my return, that an entire shaft of blue light enveloped me, and had removed me from the current time slot. What I had felt was an entire abolition of gravity; my body was seemingly floating, always in the same direction, through the endless river of time. And I knew that, in spite of all I might do 100 years from now, that I only had a day.

I came down with a THUD. On a reflexive impulse, I removed the blackout goggles to see where I was. What I saw was incredible — there was gold everywhere. I walked down a moving sidewalk, which ended at a large, gold-clad building. In a transparent gold window, a gold television was displayed. As I peered through the window at the gold TV screen, I saw what appeared to be a news show. There was a gold computer, displayed in 3-D, which said, "Today marks the 97th anniversary of the hostages in Iran, and it's obvious nobody cares." It flipped a page of gold paper, and read on. "Well, tomorrow is the 300th birthday of the United States, and in this dictatorship, nobody cares."

'A dictatorship?', I thought. 'This country certainly has changed!'

I didn't especially like that channel, and I wished someone would change it. At that instant, the channel did change, obviously by thought control, to channel 92.

On this channel was a commercial for a 1-seater hovercraft, about seven feet in diameter, that got 7,000 kilometers per litre. Yet, it was competatively priced with other hovercrafts, at about 165,000 dollars.

As I walked away from the display window, I suddenly realized that the gold I had was totally worthless. With this, I commenced to drown my sorrows in a game of electronic basketball. As I moved along a north bound moving sidewalk, a person (see, I'm not sexually oriented!) on a southbound sidewalk adjacent to mine lept over the railing, stared at my game in astonishment, then pointed at it, and bleated out, "That's ... that's plastic!"

"Of course it is", I replied, "so?"

"So?!? I'll give you a hundred thousand dollars for it! If it has any zinc, I'll give you 150 thou!"

"Naturally it has zinc..." I removed the battery cover, and presented a 9-volt rectifier. "In this battery!!"

He (well, so I am a little sexist!) reached into his front pocket, and presented me with two seventy-five thousand dollar bills. I responded by giving him both items I posessed in my hands.

I wanted to know what had happened to this country. For this, I walked into a book store, and bought a "recent history" book for a mere $1,000.

As I read it, I realized what had happened. In 1981, there was a major gold strike in Canada, and gold plummeted to $35 an ounce. The economy nearly collapsed, except for the fact that 3 years later, gold was replaced with zinc. As the fuel shortage got worse, plastic became a valuable item, along with oil and coal.

In the years between 1981-1984, a powerful dictator named Jules Seizer came to the depression, and easily took over the United Stated. He was murdered several years later by Bluto.

As I read, I suddenly realized that my day was coming to and end. The people were moving slower & slower, and soon stopped, and started moving backwards. As an instant reaction, I put on my black goggles, and again felt the gravityless sensation of time travelling.

Again, I landed with a THUD. As I heard someone say, "It's off now!", I removed the goggles, and found myself again in front of the cylinder.


Author's notes from 2013:
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