© Ronald Fife, 2012


Excerpt from Chapter Four


James said, “I don't get it. You’re so young. Who else is still around?"


Jen said, "Oh, you don't understand. I'm one-hundred thirty-eight. The health quality here is very good. I know you're a few years older than me but you don't look a day older than... fifty, either. I left America in twenty thirty-three. I was fifty-nine. But, you know, the healthcare is so good and our way of thinking, especially. You get younger. There's a few in America too, especially, some of the wealthy. You know, America was progressing until Bill died. So, we still got friends there. Most of the Americans don't last that long. I think the average is sixty. We want to get our friends out but it's impossible. We get a lot of tourists in Mexico, people with money. But even they can't stay. Only, if they can get political asylum but it isn’t easy. The Federation would let everyone stay but we're afraid it might start a war. Besides, The Americans screen the tourists pretty good. So, we think we should try to get our friends out but if we can’t, then we should get our people in. Maybe, we could do something. Let's see, who would you know? You didn't really hang out with the gals. The only one I can think of is Bob. You remember Bob and Rick?"


"Yeah, Bob and Rick, they’re alive?"


"They got out. They went to Scotland but Rick died not long after they got there. Bob runs the church there. You know they had a son? He stayed in America. We think he might still be alive."


"I'd love to get in touch with Bob. They gave me this phone. Could I have your number? Do you have Bob's too?"


"It’s called a comm. Here, let me see. We don't go by numbers. I'll send you me and Jill from mine. And, Bob, I think I got him in here. Let me do a search. That's him. Hmm, he's not in my contacts. Let me add him and send to you. You see here? Now you have me, Jill, Bob and Peter. And here's your profile. You just press on our name or picture and then press to video, or just talk, or text."


"Great, thanks. I still have to figure the thing out. You know I'd love to help you but I don't think I have the time. They want me to work on this other thing. I'm leaving for Paris tomorrow. But I'll be working on the American situation. I think it's at a pretty high level. It might do some good. You girls should be careful. It sounds like what you’re talking about could be pretty dangerous."


"Well, we're ready to move. I just thought you could help with some of the strategy. You know; the political stuff. We want to start a movement. Educate them on how to resist. You know peaceful protest, strikes, whatever. You would know which tactics to use and when. You know how to change the strategy depending on how things go. We know how to do it in general. But I'm afraid we'll miss something. And, the Americans don't have a clue. They don't know their history."


"Yeah, I'm sorry. If you could wait till I'm done with this other thing. But it sounds like you guys pretty well know what you’re doing."


"I think we got it. We could use all the help we can get though. But your job sounds pretty important. I'm glad something’s happening. You’re going to Paris and you’re going to do something about America?"


"Yes. But I don't think I can say anymore. It seems kinda sensitive."


"I get it. It's got to be very important if it’s hushed up. We don't have much secrecy at all anymore. It's a very open system."


"Maybe you could tell me about it? I've been away for eighty years. And I never even left America before. What's it all about here? The buildings, electric cars, you know it reminds me of someone. There was this guy, Jacque Fresco. He was pretty old. He'd probably be two-hundred now. The buildings look like his design."


"Well I don't have to tell you too much. You're spot on. They're basically his. He died a long time ago. We were still in America. That’s when things were getting better. Kim looked at all the available information and his was the best. You remember, the Venus Project stuff, his whole vision. We've done most of it here and there was progress in America too. You should remember. He was all over the news before Bill died. The ‘Resource Based Economy’, his social ideas, the buildings, factories, everything’s automatic. We don't really have much government or police. No money. Nobody has to work. We share everything. Kim takes care of everything. She's everywhere. But we went farther than Jacque Fresco with the spirituality. Kim helped with that."  


"So, who are the leaders?"


"Well, no one really; if anyone, it’s just Kim. But no one forces anyone to do anything. There’s really not that much to do. Kim takes care of everything. Most of what's left is just helping people. Living with, being with and talking to people. I guess what you would call leaders are all the people in white; Jill, Bob and your scientist friends. We have presidents too. But they’re not really leaders. They’re more like servants of the people. They solve the problems. Your scientist friends take care of Kim so she can do everything."


"But a team of doctors just ranked me. I went from black to green. Aren't they like leaders? There's a hierarchy."


"I guess you could say that. But they would've consulted Kim. OK, you’re in green and I'm in blue. But that doesn't mean I can boss you around. But I guess I get a little more trust, a little more responsibility. I'm expected to know more. Know how to help more, that's all. I guess I do get first in line too, for the extras. If there was only one seat left on a plane, I would get it before you. But I'm supposed to be more advanced, so I'd offer it to you. Or, if we really wanted to fight over it, we'd ask Kim. Let her decide."


"The spirituality; you said Jill runs the Christian church? Are there still all these different religions?"


"Well, yes and no. It was really important that we agreed on the core ideas: unity, love, forgiveness. And, the metaphysical stuff too. Kim said that the whole unified consciousness thing was the closest we could get. Most everyone turned to it in a sort of secular way. You know. They studied the scientific stuff and took in the psychology. They try to live and think in this way. But a lot of others kept their religion. But they changed it to fit the new model."


"Yeah, I take it you and Jill did. And, it doesn't cause trouble having different religions?"


"Not so far. Like I said, the religions changed to fit the new model. Everyone learns the new way of thinking. Everyone gets as much education as they want or can handle."


"You said there aren't many police. What about crime? How many prisoners are there?"


"I don't know the exact numbers, but there’s very little crime. We don't have prisons but there're rehabilitation hospitals. Maybe, there’re a few thousand people in the whole Federation. Everyone's taken care of. There's nothing to steal. And, when everyone believes that we're all one spirit, well, no one wants to hurt themselves. Murder, violence is very, very rare. There're no more guns around, at all. Except the police, they’re volunteers, sort of part time. They can get acoustic stun guns when they need them but don't carry them around. It’s sort of like my job. Technically, I was appointed to a government ministry. There're still even elections. But I don't really have to do too much. I just look at the mental health of all the people in Mexico. I verify the data by doing interviews and people come to me with problems. Then, I look at what Kim is doing. She does things like set up lists of volunteer assignments. She matches the people with teachers and healers. I watch to see that it all runs smoothly. I tell her if I see any problems that she needs to fix and I take some of the assignments myself."


"Wow. It sounds like heaven."


         "It is. But I really wish we could help America too. Well, it's really good to see you again. There's a flight back to Mexico City in a few hours. I think I might as well get home."


"Is Jill home, or did she come with?"


"No, she's at home. She had a lot to do. You can visit anytime?"


"It's been good seeing you. Thanks for talking. I will visit sometime if I can."


James thought about what Jen said as he looked down over Germany. Wide expanses of forest were dotted with compact cities. Surrounding the cities were somewhat narrow perimeters of fields, obvious farmland. He could see only a few highways between the cities. Occasionally, he spotted a long train in the middle of a highway moving faster than the tiny cars beside it. It had all looked the same on the flight north over Asia, except when he passed over the mountains, desert and tundra. Those areas we're sparsely populated.


He remembered getting from the doctors that this world was compact. "No small town," one had said. In Hanoi, the buildings he saw were round, flat structures with low domed roofs. Fat hockey pucks, he had thought. Various sized hockey pucks were everywhere. They looked solid. Like the whole thing was one piece. And, they changed colors. On the first day he went out, it was hot and sunny. The buildings were all a gleaming white except for the grey tinted windows that wrapped around them. That evening, before the sun went down; it had started to rain and must have turned cool. From the recreation room, James looked out to see the buildings had turned a dark blue, tops and sides and the windows, except some, where the windows were clear.


The few multi-story buildings he had seen were remarkable. These same hockey pucks stacked around a central tube. The tube was half as wide as the pucks. Defying gravity, each puck stuck to the side of the tube not touching any other. The pucks rose up in a spiral, some maybe, fifty high, so that they were offset and only slightly overlapped. Any one had plenty of space around it. It was hard for James to count them, how many wrapped around or how many high, the buildings were dazzling in this spiral pattern.


From the air, James recognized the daisy shape of those multi-puck buildings’ top side. The cities of Germany, all the cities he flew over, were packed with them and with large and small single pucks packed in between. Toward the edge of the cities, whole neighborhoods were spread out with solitary, or one-story connected double-pucks of various sizes occupying large green yards. Near those narrow fields that surrounded most cities, the outermost edge was a ring of very large single pucks; some with holes in the middle that made them look like donuts. But the cities weren't made entirely out of pucks, although they dominated. Scattered here and there were what James thought must be historic structures, large and small.


James lost count of the cities he had gone over during the long four hour flight. He felt the plane descend as one more came into view. The short bot rolled down the aisle stopping to speak at each row, while James felt a pang of joyful recognition as the Eiffel Tower came into view.


The bot stopped near him and ordered in a pleasant voice, "Please secure your seatbelt. We will be landing shortly."


With a puzzled expression, James asked the bot, "Who's flying this thing?"


The bot answered, "Kim, of course."