Simpler Times

Sammy, don’t stray too far now.” Alice had a firm grip on her six year olds hand as they walked through the courtyard of the Faire. A woman stood near the front gates and handed out what was supposed to be paper. For only a thousand credit entry fee, however, Alice knew it was imitation. She smiled to the woman as they passed and looked at the map drawn across the plasti-sheet.

“Hmm… okay, Sammy, where do you want to go?” She bent down and shared the map with her son, who was all wide-eyed at the sights and sounds. Staring back at the map and brochures, the boy’s eyes sparkled as he pointed at a section. “Ohhh! That one, mommy! I want to see the Stock Market Reenactment!”

Alice Gardner’s husband came up from behind after having some issue with the credit transfer on the fingerprint console. His face was wrinkled with frustration and an obvious lack of understanding as to the purpose of their visit. “Can you believe they make people walk around here? I mean c’mon… walking?”

“Oh, dear… now where’s your 20th century spirit? Not everyone had trans-spatial ports in their homes back then,” she reminded. The husband muttered and his wife pinched his cheek before they led little Sammy along. Alice loved the 20th century, and Douglas was just going to have to deal with it for today.

A few moments later they were face to face with a man in obviously fake glasses standing behind a counter with a reproduction pocket protector, his torso padded with polymer foam to make him look fat. Even his hair was awkwardly and anachronistically short. “Hey there folks!” he called to the family. “Ever been to a computer store? We have only the finest in Desktops, Laptops and the amazing…. Gasp… Palm Pilot! Care to take a look at my… cool selection?”

“Your what selection?” Douglas blurted out after Alice had already politely declined. Sammy wanted to see the Stock Market go wild with people tossing paper in the air as if paper were worth nothing to them. After the man had explained what cool and awesome meant, Douglas moved along with his wife.

“I guess I just don’t get it, Alice. Why should we go somewhere to be in the past? Isn’t what the present provides for us much better than… hey… are those…?”

Sure enough, Douglas had found something that struck his fancy. Alice rolled her eyes as the grown man walked over to the shop owner who was wearing only the finest Basketball Jersey. Like the computer merchant, this man also wore period glasses, although his were tinted and darker. “Excuse me, sir?” Douglas whispered. Hecouldn’t lift his eyes from the product to make eye contact with the merchant.

“Yo, yo.. I see you’re looking at the finest in footwear made by machines. Actual machines, too. Now these have a lifetime guarantee and we can make sure you get the suede replaced with real suede if you get it damaged or something, homey.”

Douglas didn’t understand a damn word the man said. He picked up the Michael Jordan tennis shoes and looked back to Alice with the same pleading eyes as their child. “Sweetie, it’s a Michael Jordan tennis shoe! It’s made of real suede! Feel it! I have to have this… how much…?”

The man with the dark glasses smiled and did an air-hoop shot. “I see you like the quality footwear. Well, our going price is five million credits.”

Debating over the purchasing of the shoe would to take time, and Sammy was getting hungry. Alice kissed her husband on the cheek and looked back over to the merchant, “He’ll buy them; he just needs time to pick out the laces and the design. Can you tell us where the food dispensers might be?”

“Hells yeah! The Food Court is down the ways and to the left. You can’t miss it; they got excellent pizza this time of year.”

Sammy’s eyes lit up as he tugged on his mothers’ hand, leaving Douglas to decide over the type of shoe he wanted. The Faire was going to be a long day coming and it would leave their credit accounts thinned out, but in the end, Alice will have enjoyed her walk through simpler times.

“Mom, it’s pizza! I bet they make it by machine, too! Let’s hurry!”

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The Past

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