Pynesapp Home | jack-red | Chapter-30

The Adventures of Jack and Red.

This is the thirtieth in a series of blogs chronicling an expedition into 'space' with Jack Pynesapp and his granddaughter Red. To read the entire story (with notes) please see the JackPynesapp web site: [ click here ]


The Wait ..

JJ, Billy, Jack, and Red are sitting on the ironworks of the old bridge that crosses the creek. It's just after 7:00 AM. They've been sitting for half an hour, waiting for the train.

"She said it came last yesterday afternoon, right?" JJ asked Billy.

"I've told you a hundred times, yes." Billy said; "She called and said that she'd heard the train about 3:30 yesterday, yes - ask me again and I'll tell you the same. Just relax JJ. It'll be here soon okay."

JJ turned the milk can cover over in his hand and studied it. "Will it change or something, you know, when the train approaches?" He asked.

"How should I know." Billy said.

"Yeah, how should you know about anything." JJ said. He was already getting frustrated by the wait.

"So Billy, " Red asked, "you never answered me when I asked what this world was like that you - and Grandpa and Dad - supposedly left behind last time you were on the train?"

"Yes now that we have some time to kill,  tell us about that." Jack agreed. "I'd like to know what we've been missing."

"Well, " Billy began, "most everything was the same - first of all - you know. The obvious difference was that the country depended a lot more on trains for transportation and freight. The rail system was highly developed and the highways were of secondary importance. Most people didn't even have a car; and if they did it was only to get to town and back - very local, you know. That's why we were planning on taking the train to the city that day, JJ. And that's why you have that milk can lid. The trains were used for everything. There were very few trucks."

"You said that you talked to this guy - this veteran of the war - and he said that it had just recently finished?" Jack asked.

"Yeah, that was weird, I guess. It seems like it just kind of ground to a halt. Japan ran out of equipment. The suicide bombers took care of all their airplanes and we eventually sunk all their ships and they gave up the fight."

"What about the atomic bomb?" Red asked.

"It didn't happen." Billy said. "He'd never heard of it - I'd never heard of such a thing, until I got off the train, that is. People talked about atomic energy as being some sort of power of the future but nobody talked about using it for a bomb."

"Wow, " JJ said, "and what about Germany. What about Hitler?"

"Hitler was assassinated by a bunch of his own generals. It was some sort of coup. They overthrew the SS and signed treaties with Russia and the Allies and they set up an interim government and started to rebuild the country. I think most of the SS and the top leaders of the Riech were hung for treason and crimes against humanity for their part in the wholesale slaughter of prisoners of war."

"The Germans did this themselves." Jack asked - amazed.

"Yeah. I think when Japan surrendered, they saw the writing on the wall or something, you know?"

"Amazing." JJ said.

"So there was not D-Day or anything like that?"  Red asked.

"No need for it." Billy said. "The war was over."

"So why elect Eisenhower?" Red asked.

"He was never President." Billy said. "A guy named Taft was president in the 50's. I don't remember even hearing about any Eisenhower."

"Wow, things really were different." Red said.

"That probably has a lot to do with why trains were so popular. " Jack said. "The freeway system was largely Eisenhower's baby. He wanted to copy the Autobahn in Germany. He pushed hard for roads and broke up the railroad industry. And the fledgling oil industry had played a huge role in getting him elected and they expected pay-back."

"Yeah, whatever." Billy shrugged. "But you know, some things were diferent and some were the same, you know. Like the people were the same, as far as I know anyway. Like everyone at school was the same -- all the kids that I remembered from before were there afterwards, too.  That's always kind of puzzled me, you know. How could that happen?"

"I have a guess." JJ said, flashing a wry smile towards his Dad and Red.

"What do you mean." Billy asked.

"Well, I think the same people were there because everything was same." JJ said. "It's simple. Nobody changed because everything was the same before and after the train and the only thing that changed was you. You're memory that is."

"He has a point." Jack agreed.

"What was that?" Red interrupted. "Did you hear that?"

"Yeah, " JJ said excitedly, "sounds a little like a train, doesn't it."
[ Click here to continue to part XXXI ]