The Road to the Future

By Andrew Looney

Joe Tuddburn sat on an old apple crate in his one room apartment, looking at the items in one of many large cardboard boxes that filled the room. This particular box contained a fork, two plastic coffee cups, eight badly worn magazines, and six matchbooks. The cover of one of the matchbooks said, in large brown letters, "EAT AT THE HENDERSON DINER."

"OK," thought Joe Tuddburn.

* * *

Gregory, one of the six highly exalted Architects of Tomorrow, sat at his desk. He was wearing only his long white robe, which flowed gently down from his neck until it came to rest quietly upon his ankles. Robes of this sort were the traditional garment of the Architects of Tomorrow, though they each wore a different color. Gregory had always been slightly envious of Daniel, who had been granted the purple robe for his work on the Toaster of the Future.

At this moment, Gregory was busy designing the Toilet Paper of the Future, but it wasn't working as well as he'd hoped it would.

* * *

Elizabeth sat on the edge of the bed, carefully maneuvering a golden brush through her long, shiny hair, of redness surpassing even the spiciest of spaghetti sauce.

When she was almost ready to leave, she gently prodded Daniel, who was still asleep beneath the covers.

"You'd better wake up and get to work on the Disposable Drinking Cup Dispenser of the Future," she said.

Elizabeth quietly locked the door behind her, and took a bus to the Henderson Diner, where she worked as a waitress.

* * *

The Emperor of the Universe sat on his throne, which in many ways resembled a toilet, and examined the blueprints he had just received. It was a plan for the Shopping Center of the Future. He couldn't decide who to contract the job out to.

"Perhaps I'll give it to the Mulhoney brothers," thought the Emperor. "They usually do good work."

* * *

Frederick and Alexander sat side by side in the last car of the subway, quietly discussing their plans for the City of the Future. They were on their way to the Henderson Diner, where they were to meet the other Architects of Tomorrow, to discuss the overall plan for Life in the Future. They enjoyed travelling together, because Alexander's green robe clashed so badly with Frederick's orange one.

* * *

Joe Tuddburn sat on the cranberry-red upholstery of a bar stool in the Henderson Diner, and studied the crumbled remains of the piece of chocolate cake he had just consumed. When the waitress behind the counter turned her back, he quietly slipped a salt shaker into his pocket.

* * *

The Architects of Tomorrow sat on six barstools in the Henderson Diner. They all ordered jelly doughnuts, except Benjamin, the youngest, who ordered a raisin bun.

"Now then," said Herbert, brushing doughnut crumbs off his respectable blue robe. "We must get down to the business of designing the Future."

Three gangsters entered the Henderson Diner. Because they thought that the Architects of Tomorrow were the Mulhoney brothers, who had welched on a contract, they shot them many times with their shiny black machine guns.

And so the Future never got designed.

* * *

Nothing else happened that day.

This story appears in My Secret World. Copyright © 1991 by Andrew Looney.

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