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by Trent Walters

Although known commonly as "teleportation," I prefer this 1950s usage, which implies a short, pleasant trip. Originally, it meant to ride your horse until it tired. Now it's knowing your destination by orienting your mind to the beginning and extrapolating yourself to the end--a minor reorientation of perspective that changed the world.

Whenever newsheets downloaded the latest death tolls, my family took short trips down to a private North Carolina pine-forest island beach. We laid out a blanket and picnic basket and gave our daughter a bucket and a shovel--pretending we were the only people left in the world. The Atlantic lapped the shore as if time might stop. We didn't experience that pang in the chest every time we snapped up a newsheet to find out who bombed who, who hung or decapitated in retaliation.

Vera, my wife, coped differently. She rearranged the world, moving the couch at different angles to the 3V as if the news looked better from a different perspective. In her green phase, all the upholstery was verdant with vines, leaves, and hanging gardens seen only when the light glanced off it. A spring of false optimism. Every tribe attempted peace accords. Negotiations murmured behind closed doors. We held our breath when the world's leaders came out to say nothing had been resolved.

When news of jaunting spread like a virus, every man with a grudge and a bludgeon could appear anywhere within the limits of his imagination. War returned. Vera swapped green upholstery for red.

When our bank lost their reserves to mirror-shielded jaunters on whom automatic laser rifles had no effect, my mind was distracted and I jaunted home, afraid to tell my wife we were penniless and probably wouldn't be able to fill our picnic baskets on our jaunts to the seashore. Only after we'd eaten dinner in silence--a minestrone with grated Parmesan--did I notice the furniture was green. The couch was repositioned to where it was before jaunting hit the world. Furthermore, news on the 3V had restored its era of false optimism.

Whenever Vera changed the upholstery to ashy blacks or desert tans, I jaunted back to an apartment of green upholstery. I won't say that I'm jaunting to a saner, parallel universe or that I'm reversing time, perhaps stunting my child's development indefinitely. I don't know.

But somehow I don't care.



Posted by: Chris Willrich | May 30, 2007 1:15 PM


Posted by: Chris Willrich | May 30, 2007 1:16 PM


Posted by: Trent | May 30, 2007 3:48 PM

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