Turpin Does It Again
For my holiday this year I was lucky enough to be able to visit 2067. Let me explain.
I travelled through Time Tours of Oakham S.W.92. While there I visited the Central Transport Museum to look back at the vehicles which are still in our 1967 future. But what made this holiday especially memorable was seeing Mr Richard Turpin.
We had just seen a display race between Ben Hur and Bodecia which confirmed my beliefs about women drivers. A plinth rose in the centre of the Exhibition Arena and on it stood a figure in three cornered hat and black mask who discharged a pair of flintlock pistols into the air and then addressed the crowd.
"Ladies and gentlemen. My name is Richard Turpin and I would like to announce my intention to repeat the astounding feat which made me famous three centuries ago!"
The crowd fell silent. Was there any vehicle fast enough?
Mr Turpin continued by pointing out that he had discounted rocketchairs as over-ranged. The magneticopters, he explained, were far too cumbersome and the matter transmitter, as everyone knew, was impractical to use within half a light year of any star including the sun.
"So," he said, looking quickly at his sponsors who had rescued him from the gallows for just this moment, "I shall make the ride on the only vehicle left which is capable of covering the distance in the time limit. A British made Torpedojet!" He proceeded to hand out leaflets for distribution to the crowd.
Now in case you don't remember, or have not found out, a Torpedojet is about the nearest thing to a motorcycle that the 21st Century has to offer.
There was a full report of the challenge in the T.J.News and down at the Leicester Phoenix Torpedojet Club the lads talked of little else. It was said that Mr Turpin intended to travel on the surface. His reason was obvious to all but a visitor from the past. In order to get up to a level where traffic density would allow suitable speed to be reached he would need to climb so high it would take 24 hours to get there.
The British Torpedojetists Federation were holding a Rally at York to coincide with Turpin's arrival, so six days later I was camped in an indirigible tent 400 feet away from and over the York Tower Tenting Anchor and watching spherivision as Mr Turpin set off.
From London Bridge the road was smooth and straight for almost 130 yards before it came to the first of the forest bases of the Churchill City Block. The pillars were marked so that Turpin only had to follow the signs but, although most of the refuse had been cleared during the 2053 fire scare, there was enough rubbish to cut his speed down considerably. However, after six miles of this struggle, he came out into the Aten Park. The crowd was held back by a police cordon and Turpin zoomed up to just below the 15 foot fluorescent ceiling and made a 300mph dash the full four hunder yards to the other side of the recreation area. Then, dropping down again, he started once more to wind between pillars, this time to the foundations of the older Tottenham Town Block. Beside the original reinforced concrete lift-shaft support towers, a mass of plastic steel girders webbed about holding together the cracks caused by Lundern subsidence. But the signposting was effective and the detours only added about 200% to the distance covered so far. By the time Turpin was out of Blockland he was ahead of schedule so the T.V. channel played a Party Political to fill in until the next music programme.
When the T.V. coverage returned Turpin was just skirting Cambridge Complex West, one of the most difficult parts of the journey. It took him straight through the Central England Sewerage Factory and at ground level he was only three miles up from the machines as he wound his way over the stainless steel tubes criss-crossed like a giant tangle of silver wool. Toward the centre of the factory the route lead along the Blockland main tube until its direction swung in a 100 yard radius and plunged into the abyss. Now only a sense of direction could take him to the next checkpoint four miles north through uncharted plumbing. An hour later the programme was unable to continue as there was no sight of the torpedojet. News flashes said that the Audible Homing Signal intensity had been increased and search parties were being organised. A play was put on to fill in between the commercials. Nobody liked to think of the possibilities. Suddenly Turpin emerged and the cameras were brought on him.
Here he rested and while trained mechanics checked over the machine for metal crystalisation or radiation leaks he gave a brief interview. After explaining how he got lost in the Norwich Input Knot he answered a few questions.
"Of course these last twenty years have accustomed me to the 21st century but I am still impressed by the vast difference between this and my own century. And now gentlemen, I can tarry no longer lest the clock should gain too large a lead." with which he was once more upon his dusty topedojet and away down the last part of the northern third east tube which he would follow until it ran off to some obscure Industrianopolis.
The tale of his passing through the many cities on the way will be handed down from night shift to day shift and Turpin's three cornered hat will set a fashion to last six months, but his triumphant entry into York one hour fifteen minutes 22.739 seconds before the 24 hours will be inscribed in the sacred pages of the Guinness Book!
The assembed crowds joined with the camping torpedojet clubs in giving him a welcome that a man had not received since Robertson and Williamson returned from Venus twelve years later (or fortytwo years before, depending on how you like your Einstein). The church bells were played full watts and there was a 21 kiloton salute.
Indeed Mr Turpin is a very famous man being not only the first to travel from London to York in one day, but also the last.