Sunday, February 10, 2008

Moving Company

    "--it's true I still don't know the technical details, but technical details can always be found if the idea is good and guarantees a return. And my idea, sir, will bring in fantastic profit, so long as someone helps me sort out some of the practical considerations to get it up and running perfectly. But it already sells itself, as I have said.
    How do I show you clearly--Look: what if you don't like the street you're living on; maybe there's stench from a chocolate factory there, or it's too crowded and you cannot sleep, or there is scandal everywhere; in short, you say it's not for you. What do you do in that case? You pick out an apartment on another street, call a moving van and move into a new apartment, right? Entirely simple. Every good idea is fundamentally very simple, sir.
    And now you say, that you or someone else doesn't like this century. There are such people, who like peace and quiet; there are people whose stomachs are turned when they read about war in the newspapers, or that someone is being executed somewhere or that a couple of hundred or a couple thousand people slaughtered each other. There are limits, sir, and some people cannot bear it. There are people who do not like as the world grinds on violently each day, and they think how have I come to this, to see this, I who am a civilized and moderate man, a family man, I have children, and I don't want them to grow up in such a wild and dis-- how do I put this, a disrupted and dangerous world, do I? Sir, there are many such people, and when you get right down to it people today have no certainties: not even life or their positions or money, and not even their families; what is the use, there used to be more certainties in the world. In short there are many people who do not want to live in these times; and some of them are so sick of it and unhappy to live in such bad and mean times they would rather not even go out in it. What hope is there, there is nothing to do, but they want to escape their lives.
    And here is where I come in, sir, and place literature about my firm into his hand. Are you unhappy with the 20th century? Then come to me! I will move you into whatever past age in our moving vans, specially designed for this purpose! No mere trips, but complete relocation! Pick the century that would suit your life best, and I will escort you there with our capable staff quickly, cheaply and safely--even the whole family and all of your furnishings! My machines can move you anywhere in a range of three hundred years, but we are preparing machines whose operating radius will easily approach two or three millennia. For each year traveled there will be a freight charge of so much per kilogram and so many crowns per person-
    How much it will cost I don't know yet: I don't even have the machines yet which can move backwards in time; but no worries, they will come, you can just put pencil to paper and add up the money to be made on it. I have the whole organization thought out right up to these stupid vehicles. For example, say a man comes up to me and says that he was like to move out of this damned century of ours; that he's had it up to here, I'm telling you, up to here with these gas attacks, armaments, Bolshevism, fascism and all of this "progress." I'd let him curse himself out, and then I show him: "Come make a selection, sir; here are the prospectuses for the various centuries. Like this one: nineteenth century. An educated time, mild oppression, properly conducted wars of a smaller extent; the well-known flowering of sciences, great opportunities for economic expansion; we especially recommend the so-called Bach era for its profound peace and humane treatment of one's fellow man. Ir the eighteenth century, especially suitable for those interested in religious merit; we recommend it for Enlightened thinkers and intellectuals. Or here, please have a look at the sixth century after Christ; it is true that the Huns were in power then, but it was possible to hide in the depths of the forest; an idyllic life, the smell of fresh air, fishing and other sports. Other than the so-called persecution of Christians, it is quite a civilized era, cozy catacombs, lost of religious and other freedoms, no concentration camps and so on. In short, it would be a marvel if such a 20th-century man didn't choose some other age where life was freer and more humane. People might even say I would gladly move to the Old Stone Age if there were a discount. But I would say: I am sorry, our prices are firm; please have a look at the order form for prehistoric transfer; we take our esteemed clients there in groups and can only accommodate twelve pounds of baggage per person; otherwise we cannot keep up with demand. The first open space we have is in a transport leave for the Old Stone Age on the thirteenth of next March; if you would like, we can reserve you a seat--
    What do you say, sir: it will be a fantastic business; I would probably start with thirty moving vans and six buses for mass transit. My company lacks nothing but the time-traveling machines, and someone will invent them presently; they will be essential for our educated world someday soon!"

LN 25 October, 1936


Moving Company said...

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Anonymous said...

Hi man - that's an interesting story. I read something similar a few weeks ago on the Big Apple Blog - you should check it out...