Fraudulent use of the Clinton, Ohio Wormhole for last-minute shopping trips to Hoboken, New Jersey created a minor economic maelstrom in both cities. When word got out that Clintonians had found a way to beat the teleportation tax, thousands of consumers converged on Clinton – some from as far as twenty miles away!
Sadly, most folks didn’t realize that the loop-hole was simply a super-slick Möbius March along the inner wall of the wormhole. Since a march took twice as long as a tunneling, the effective savings from not paying the tax came to about ten cents per hour. The shoppers wouldn’t have cared, anyway. Society was at the point where people were not satisfied until they could violate at least one policy before breakfast.
Despite the minuscule effect on individual pocketbooks, the macroscopic calamity of the collective caused the closure of the Main Street Variety Store in Clinton, and the sharp rise of top hat prices in Hoboken. Abigail Higginbotham rolled up the awning one last time before she Möbius Marched to Hoboken to buy vanilla-scented pyjamas for her grandchildren. Yes, the irony was lost on her. Perhaps she was too set in her pecuniary ways to see the teeth marks on her hands.
Fred Gingham closed the report. As he handed it back to the eager reporter, he declared, “The Beacon Journal has no use for such fluff pieces. Why don’t you go cover the mayor’s emergency plan for the impending heat wave?”
Roger Alistair snorted. He would not be put off so easily. “Look, Fred. You have plenty of flacks who can follow the fleet or cover the story of Vernon and Irene Castle. Those reporters are carefree. Me? I got a degree in economics and I have a responsibility to the citizens of Akron!”
Fred laughed. “Um, you do know that people buy our paper for the coupons, right? They’re not interested in your information products or your clever interpretation of the Las Vegas Hookers Guild vs. the Mann Act!” With uncharacteristic rudeness, Fred shoved Roger toward the exit.
“Hey, that was some of my best work!” Roger stumbled over the threshold clumsily. As he walked away, defeated, he noticed a top hat rolling along the pavement. As there was no owner in sight, he picked it up, dusted it off and plopped it on his head. A merry tune intruded on his dark thoughts and he sauntered down the street, humming Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off!
Steve Schroeder via Compfight
Copyright © 2013 by Mitchell Allen
Originally appeared on CreativeCopyChallenge #303.