Author : John Conway

Grant pushed through the crowd, ignoring the direction indicator. He longed for elbow room and privacy, luxuries of a forgotten past. But rumor had it there were still places–distant, underpopulated islands. He only dreamed of reaching their shores … until today.

He shoved and nudged through the ebbing crush until he found Cali at 5th and Main–brown hair, golden eyes–now she would finally take him seriously.

“You again?”

“We need to talk.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Alone,” he whispered.

She laughed and gestured to the throngs around them.

Grant scanned the nearby faces. No one paid attention. It would have to do. “I have a way out of here!”

“Of where?”

“The crowd.”

“Oh, please …”

Grant yanked a device from his pocket. “With this!”

He turned it in his hand.

“What is it?”

He leaned into her ear. “A teleport.”

“Teleport?” she said.


Several passers slowed, glancing at them. Grant’s face flushed. He shoved the gadget into his jacket. “Move along,” he said. “This doesn’t concern you.”

He waited for the throngs to shift and change. With new faces finally around them, he returned his attention to Cali. “It’ll take us away.”

She seemed doubtful. “Where’d you get it?”

Grant smiled. “I was minding my own business. The crowd I was in wandered through a science building of sorts. We passed this tight clutch of government people and a technician. They had this and they were tense. As the crowd shifted, I lingered. I finally heard the technician explain it. Then, as I’m standing there listening, without looking like I’m listening, some pack of chaos–parents trying to coral their children–the technician was bumped — and it dropped.”

“That still doesn’t–”

“There was commotion. It got kicked. They dove at the floor. I stepped away … and it got kicked right to me!”

“They’ll come get you.”

“They didn’t notice.”

She glanced around. She regarded him. It was more attention than she’d ever given him before. “Let me see it again.”

He gulped. “Sure.”

“It’s kinda complicated.” She touched the Instruction Manual button. An 80-page holographic tome appeared. She whistled. “I don’t know. I’ve seen you stumped by vending machines.”

Grant canceled the display. “Never mind that. I listened. He explained. We don’t need those.”

They heard a disturbance up the street.

“It’s them,” said Cali.

Grant tried, but couldn’t see the source of the approaching uproar. His heart pounded. “We haven’t much time. Will you come with me?”

She scrutinized him. People were tossed aside in the distance. It was the government people.

He could not wait for Cali to make up her mind. “Now or never,” he said, twisting the dial. Finally, she slipped her hand around the crook of his arm.

“You won’t be sorry,” he said.

The government people closed, throwing pedestrians like sticks. “There it is!” one shouted.

“Prepare for peaceful surf.”

Grant and Cali smiled and waved.

Arms reached. “Don’t!”

The machine hummed … and vanished from Grant’s hand.

In an instant, Grant found himself off the ground, lifted by the lapel.

“Where did you send it?” shouted the strong woman holding Grant.


“He didn’t set the proximity,” groaned another.

The woman shook him. “Where?”

“K-Kiribati ?”

The woman threw Grant to the ground. He saw that Cali received a similar treatment.

“I don’t understand,” he said.

Cali brushed herself. “Directions,” she said in disgust. “You need to read directions.”


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