The silver car rose out of the driveway and backed out into the street.
“What are you watching?”
“Some old crystal from more than 100 years ago. Something grandma saved.” The man driving the car covered his eyes with chrome sunglasses. Zack paused the action.
“How clunky,” he said. “Why don’t they just see it.” Arya touched her temple and the movie floated in her view.
On the screen, the unkempt man adjusted his glasses. “Where we’re going we don’t need roads,” he said. Then the car vanished in a flash.
“A flying car,” Zack laughed. “Now, that’s funny.”
A fit woman walked out of the atrium, put her workout mat into the wall, and stood below a fan. A warm breeze dried her sweat.
“That was my dad’s favorite movie,” Clara said. “It’s quaint, right?” Zach looked up at Clara and his view of the crystal vanished.
“I can’t believe you were our age 100 years ago,” Arya said. “They thought our life would be so utopian.”
“Well, it kind of is,” Clara said. “I look like someone in their forties from that time.” Clara glanced at the watch imprint on her arm. “A few hours ago, I turned 134.”
“Happy birthday, grandma,” Arya said.
“But a flying car? Come on,” Zack said. “We don’t even need cars, we have the loop.”
“That reminds me,” Clara said. “I told your mother we’d meet her for my birthday dinner.”
The nearest loop station was on the corner. Clara slipped her terminal into the energy pocket in her jumpsuit. As she left the apartment, she viewed the checklist on her screen. She checked off locking the door, dimming the lights, and enabling the security cameras. A computer announced, “I will lock up. Have a good time at Fang Fang.”
The lights in the living room dimmed and the door locked as Clara exited. She rushed out of the elevator to catch Zach and Arya.
In his view, Zach calculated the distance between San Diego and San Francisco. “We should be there in roughly 47 minutes.”
A conveyance rose out of the street. As they took their seats, the car dropped into the loop.
“We’re on the express,” Zach said. “One stop in Los Angeles, and then we’re eating Ma Po Tofu near the wharf.”
Zach opened a candy bar and placed the wrapper into the chair arm. It quickly shrank into a small ball and an electrical charge turned it into harmless soot.
Munching on the candy, Zach thought about the hockey semi-final game. He touched his temple and the Golden Knights goalie appeared in front of him. He took the player’s view and flinched as the goalie knocked away the puck. The crowd began to cheer and Zach saw his avatar in the stands. A timer appeared on his screen.
“We’re stopping in Los Angeles.”
The car screens showed them rolling into the Los Angeles transfer station. The passengers powered off their views as the car slowed to a stop.
The family quickly ran down the ramp to an open queue. They lined up on numbered circles and waited for the next conveyance to San Francisco. It arrived, slid over to their queue, and they climbed aboard. Seating again, they resumed their trip to Clara’s birthday dinner.
“We’re ahead of schedule,” Zach said. “We should see mother in 30 minutes.”
Arya thought about her school report and the charts she needed to finish. A pie chart appeared on her view and she added colors, numbers, and labels. She saved it to her project folder.
Clara finished her romantic mystery with the author thanking her for reading the book. In the video, the writer even offered her the option of staring in the sequel. Clara declined, yet she knew she probably would buy it later.
The car began to slow as it arrived in San Francisco. Fang Fang served oriental fusion around the corner from the loop station. Inside, Mathica greeted her mother and children. As soon as they reached the booth, a robotic waiter brought them everything Mathica had ordered earlier, including the chrome birthday hats.
“The kids were watching an old movie from the 20th Century,” Clara said. “Made me realize how different we are.”
“They thought we’d have flying cars,” Zach said. “I mean that’s crazy. We’d never get anywhere.”
Mathica laughed and drew her mother in for a hug.
After dinner, Mathica walked her family to the loop station. “Another week regulating the Delta water project,” she said. “Then my part is done and I’ll be bossing you all around again.”
Everyone laughed as they entered the station. Saying goodbyes all three ran down the ramp and found a car back to Los Angeles.
The loop car pushed its passengers back in their seats as it gained speed. Clara found a new mystery and Zach watched highlights of the Golden Knights game.
“I nearly forgot,” Arya said. “I’m supposed to check in with Dalila about our report.”
Arya settled into her seat, touched her temple, and widened her view screen. She thought Dalila’s name and the girl appeared in front of her sitting at her home in Zambia.
“Good morning Arya. Do you have your section?”
“It’s there to add to the report.”
“Oh yes, I see it. Nice charts. When did you have time to think those?”
“They came to me in a dream,” Arya said. “I then just thought them.”
“Very nice,” Dalila said. “I will pass our report to the teacher now. It’s perfect.”
Arya switched off her view and turned to her brother. She touched her temple to link up with his view. The movie “Back to the Future” played while he slept. The car began to slow and she watched the city lights on the cabin screens as they pulled into Los Angeles.
She looked at the movie. The teenager holding a guitar stopped playing when he noticed everyone at the dance was just standing there. “I g-guess you guys aren’t ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it.”
Her present resembled nothing about the movie. Still, the future was a good life, and yes, she did love it.
© 2018, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.
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