Going forward

Top of the escalator, Loblaws City Market, North Vancouver, 2017

Top of the escalator, Loblaws City Market, North Vancouver, 2017


“Or up,” said Bea. “The arrow. On the road sign. It could mean going up not forward.”

Malcolm rolled his eyes as he moved the car up through the gears.

“We all know we’re going forward. Not up,” he said, eyes fixed on the road.

“One day, in the future, we probably will.”

“ What? Like Iron-Man or Captain Marvel?” Malcolm frowned.

“Planes. We’ll get everywhere by plane,” said Bea.

“And how is that going to save the planet?” said Malcolm. “Planes still need fuel. I haven’t heard about any electric planes.”

“There might be,” said Bea. “You don’t know everything you know.”

“I’m pretty sure there are no electric planes.”

Malcolm reached forward and turned the radio on. For a mile or so there was silence apart from the low mumbling from the radio.

“I listened to this programme the other day,” said Bea, “on the radio. About how the Japanese tried to bomb America using bombs tied to balloons. In the second World War.”

Malcolm turned the volume up humming along to his favourite song.

Bea continued talking while looking out of the window. “All these school-girls made balloons from very thin paper and tape. Washi. You know. The military used the jet stream to send them across the world to America. It wasn’t called the jet stream then.”

Malcolm didn’t respond. He reached for his sunglasses and slipped them on.

“It’s absolutely true. Completely fascinating.”

Malcolm exhaled an audible sigh. This was going to be a long trip.

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