‘The Bullet’

It is the future again. I am in a large skyscraper where some renovations are being done to the elevators. Some of the elevators are still in use, some surrounded by high fencing. Queues are growing around the elevators and people start to remove some of the fencing that protects the elevators that are not working properly. I decide not to go in them. I find, instead, a moving walkway, like those used in airports, and that this new service has just been opened. It is called ‘The Bullet’. I step onto the walkway and it immediately begins to gather speed. I am surprised that it does not remain horizontal. It is taking me down the side and outside the building at tremendous speed and there seems to be no way to get off it. Other people on the walkway move to different lanes with ease while the walkway appears to compensate its speed allowing them step between the lanes without falling over. I give it a try and it works. When I am outside, however, the walkway continues to move me out of the city into areas I have not seen before. It is a wholly new city, really. Have I really been away this long? Could it have changed so much that I am a stranger in my own hometown? The walkway is speeding me further into unknown territory. There are cars, but the ‘walkers’, if that’s what they could be called, are moving just as quickly. I step off the walkway at an intersection where there appears to be some maps and travel information. None of it makes any sense to me. I ask for help from a young man who is handing out printed information at a stand that prints all newspapers and book as they are requested. It is a bookshop, the centrepiece of which is a machine for making books, maps and newspapers. The young man prints out a docket that has a long series of stops and directions on it, telling me where I have to get on and off different modes of transport that will take me home. It looks very complicated. “Is there any way I could get a taxi around here?” I must look very weak. Maybe I am close to tears. “It’s all right, Sir. I am finishing here, soon. I’ll take you there.”

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