Chapter II

Marshall continued his early morning walk down Broadway. The street was lined on both sides by rectangular, pastel-colored cement structures: the boxes. The structures were four stories high and each contained hundreds of small apartments, or boxes. Sub-divisions, or subs, are what they also called the tiny flats back then in the 21st century, and apparently even these little boxes were very difficult to obtain. Estimates are that over one third of the people in pre-revolutionary times still lived in the old 20th century shacks and abandoned buildings that had survived the Terror Wars. Housing, we see, was always a major issue throughout the 21st century due to the overpopulation. Tubes were developed only in 2102.

The pink and yellow facades of the concrete apartment boxes were marked by numerous ventilation openings, or slits, at each landing. There were no windows or doorways on the street. Entrances were through the garage on all boxes. Marshall walked down the center divider of the boulevard. A constant stream of busses and air-lifts buzzed around him. Not many people dared to walk in the streets.

Forty-two years old, weary and worn down by his nomadic life, John Marshall trod down the street with his gear and his G -links on his shoulder.

Up ahead, at the second large intersection, sat a medium-sized Assembly Hall, its old-style, neon sign flashing “Free, Be Free”. The AH’s were always open and always busy. Like an old fashioned shopping mall, regular items such as food, wires, fashions and accessories – as well as dancing and games – lined the virtual displays which flanked the long aisles. Marshall stepped onto the lite-rail and adjusted his speed. He wished he could simply race through the aisles, but he couldn’t. He knew that it was verbotten. He selected the “easy Joseph” pace on his wristband and slowly passed through the multi-level aisles of the AH. He grabbed some noodles and a fruit parfait. It was always important to order something. To not buy would look suspicious and would eventually be entered. He coasted on the belt across to the cashier dock. He paid with his zip.

He disembarked from the belt and stepped back outside onto the busy Broadway thoroughfare. He scooted across several turnpike ramps and arrived at his “green corner” – a place he knew – one of the old municipal parks that hadn’t yet been re-modeled or paved over for highway. There weren’t many of the “green places” left and most were highly monitored.


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