I am a Futurist.
Seriously. I have the degree and everything. Currently the program is operated at the University of Houston and they now call it Strategic Foresight. I belong to both the Association of Professional Futurists (APF) and the The World Future Society.
Back in May the WFS solicited submissions for the next issue of their magazine. They wanted a three-hundred word essay on what might disappear by the year 2030. I scribbled off a short fiction piece and sent it in. Not surprisingly I just received a very nice rejection letter (always know your market - they rarely do fiction).
Undaunted I turn now to my own personal audience, my blog readers! (I love you both!) Here's my short short-story, clocking in at 319 words. Enjoy!
The air smells of ozone as I walk along the streets, small rivulets of water flowing next to the curb, carrying bits of debris from the passing thunderstorm. Glass storefronts reflect distorted images of the neon signs in the darkness. I tread the same sidewalks I rode my bike on as a young child, almost eighty years earlier.
"It's 2030 and still no flying cars," I mutter, and the few people passing me ignore the comment, intent no doubt on their communication implants. I didn't want one of the darned things in 2022, but they were mandated for every citizen. Mine remains silent. All my friends are long gone.
I search and still can't find what I'm looking for. The dirt streaks my reflection in the glass and I pause at the old man staring back at me. Then I shake my head.
What I'm seeking disappeared slowly, but there was one here when I was a young man. If it still exists it would only be as a curiosity. Progressives said it was a good thing, good for the environment, good for the people. No more trees sacrificed to the printing press, no more extra trash sent to trash sites that still bulged to overflowing.
My boots splash in the puddles as my stride shortens. It was here once, a small door, painted green with chipped red paint around the paned glass. As a boy it was my one escape from the tedious and boring world.
I stand in front of the door. The panes of glass are gone, replaced by a sheet of warped and weathered plywood.
I try the knob and it does not turn.
This was my last desperate attempt to find a bookstore. Now they exist only in my memory, and even that fades.
My boots move away slowly, carrying me with them.
Wait. Was that the creak of an old door? I turn…