The Retro Express by Jack Joseph de Roco - HTML preview

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Chapter 3

“Monday Morning”

Good Morning Reginald !


Good Morning. But I do not recognize your voice?


My name is Jack. I am one of the design engineers that put you and the Retro Express together.


Will you kindly continue speaking please. I want to register your voice on my voice identification unit Mr. Jack.

Sure Reginald. What would you like me to say? Anything in particular? Today we are going to check out the physical aspects of the Express to begin with. Then after that is done we will check to see if you need any cleaning or replacement of electrical components. I know you have the ability to detect any problem, and we are here to fix what ever your needs are. So while we check the physical aspects of the Retro Express, would you mind running a check for us?

I would be glad to Mr. Jack. I want you to know that I now have you recorded for voice identification.

OK Reginald. It is time to get to work. We are planning on adding six more seats to the Express for future expansion. So it will have sixteen seats instead of ten.

But Mr. Jack. I would like to remind you that I only have the capacity to answer questions individually for ten people.

Don’t worry Reginald, for now the Express will only have ten passengers. But the investors are thinking of the future, and want to be able to gain more profit. In fact the board of directors wants to add a dining car as well. That is still in the discussion stage yet however.

Logic tells me that to have a dining car may not be a good idea. But I also know that humans are not always logical. For one thing where would the food be prepared? Would that mean having a kitchen? Also the cooking may clog my filters? How would people seated on the right side of the Retro Express see what is happening on the left side, and visa versa?

Well Reginald, that part would not be too hard. All they would have to do is get up out of their chairs if they were interested, stand up and look!! As for food preparation, they are talking about serving food much like they do on airplanes. Everything would be pre-prepared, and all that would be needed is a microwave oven, and they would serve cold drinks. However, if they do decide to have a dining car, it would be like they have on First Class in airplanes, only with tables. Also they would have to hire a person to serve things. OH YES, and one other thing they are planning to have Ramblin use an “old time uniform” like the conductors on trains used in the past. In the meantime Reginald, I will make sure there are no lapel pins on the Express, so you will not be bothered with the noise of installing the six chairs.

Thank you Mr. Jack.

I will see you tomorrow Reginald. We can talk some more then. Until then, “May the digital Gods continue to smile, so the Express can travel an addional mile.”

Very poetic Mr. Jack.

Here come the men with the six new chairs. I will be back tomorrow to make sure everything is in tip top shape. Also by then you will have made a complete check of your system, and I can fix what ever is needed. Until tomorrow then, Sleep tight and………………

Yes I know! Don’t let the fleas bite! What is it with all of you and fleas?? There are no fleas on the Retro Express!!


HA!HA!HA! Until tomorrow Reginald.

“Tuesday Morning”

Good Morning Reginald!


Good Morning Mr. Jack.


I see that your voice Identification unit is functioning as it should Reginald. Did you find anything else that needs to be attended to?

Not really Mr. Jack. But I would suggest replacing my dust filters after all the work yesterday installing the chairs. I want to thank you for removing all the lapel pins, except for the one you are wearing. I was not disturbed at all with the noise. I hope you are satisfied with the work they did.

It turned out very well Reginald, they did a good job, and we now have 16 comfortable chairs, and the décor of the past.


00036.jpgDid the “powers that be” decide on a uniform for Ramblin?

Yes they did, and because of the décor of the Express, I am sure that Ramblin will be satisfied also. He is a good natured man, and likes his job. So the new uniform will suit him well.

What about the dining car Mr. Jack?

It seems that they are going to use the idea. They think that a First Class Section with six tables is a good idea. I still have my doubts, but the board of directors feels they can make more money by charging double for fares in First Class. As always, “Money is the name of the game”. That means twelve more people also for you Reginald. We are preparing the circuit board to plug into your mainframe for the eighteen people added to your passenger list in the future, along with making eighteen more lapel pins for communication with you. In fact the board has decided they want the dining car ready by the end of next week. All of us are going “full blast” to satisfy the board of directors. An outside firm is constructing the dining car as we speak. They had this outside firm design it without even consulting us. All next week Reginald you will have only one destination, “The very first Thanksgiving in 1621”. All the data will be fed into your memory banks tonight. Ramblin will have his new uniform for tomorrow, and the dining car, if all goes well, will be connected to the Express by the end of the week.

Are you going to replace my dust filters Mr. Jack?


That is the next thing on my list Reginald. The new seats seem to be firm and well made, so I will replace your dust filters right now.

Thank you Mr. Jack. With good clean air all of my circuits will continue to function without any problems, and not over heat. Everything else checks out as functioning well.

Ok Reginald everything is all set. Tomorrow you and Ramblin will be “Out and About” as they say in Australia ! (HA!HA!HA!)


You have some of the strangest expressions Mr. Jack.


(HA!HA!HA!) See you the end of next week Reginald! Ciao for Now!!

Chapter 4

Good morning Reginald!


Ramblin! Good Morning! Do you like your new uniform?


How in the world did you know I was dressed differently?


I learned a lot over the past two days Ramblin. Thanks to Mr. Jack.


Who is Mr. Jack?

He is one of the design engineers who put the Retro Express together. He supervised the installation of the six new chairs, and replaced all of my dust filters. Also he likes different expressions and verse.

I will have to get to know him.
As a matter of fact Regge, I like my new clothes. I feel like something out of the 1800s though.

I look like a ticket taker on an old time train. But I am very comfortable, and the clothes fit well.


I understand that for the next seven days we will be going back to the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Have they entered all the data for the trip into your memory banks yet??

Yes Ramblin. I have received all the data. Did they tell you about the dining car?


What about a dining car? Are they going to have me serve snacks now on the Express?

No, they are going to hire another person to join us on our trips. Mr. Jack informed me that they will be adding the dining car sometime next week to the Retro Express. It will be for people who have more money and want to be in something called “First Class”. An outside firm is putting it together. Mr. Jack says the board of directors want to make more money. So soon we will have twelve more passengers. As Mr. Jack says, “Money is the name of the game.” What ever that means?

HA!HA!HA! Well, I hope it all works. But for today and the next seven days we are on our way to the year 1621……………..
It looks like they “opened the gate” and here come our passengers for today………..Welcome to the Retro Express ladies and gentlemen! As all of you know we are on our way today to the year 1621. So if you will find a seat, put on your seat belts and lapel pins, we will be on our way in a few minutes……………I would like to explain a little about the Retro Express…………… so in three minutes the shields will be lowering and we will be on our way…… not be frightened with the complete darkness, it will only be for………….The shields are closed, so in ten seconds……no three seconds……in fact we are here! Welcome to the year 1621 and the first thanksgiving!!

This is where I take over for information about this time in the past.

Before you get started Reginald, If all of you will look out the windows on the left side of the Retro Express you will see how the First Thanksgiving looked.


The lady in the center is serving chief Massasoit of the Wpanoagam tribe, after signing a peace treaty with the man in the black coat and hat, Edward Winslow.

It had been a successful harvest after being in the country for only one year. Edward Winslow wrote about the feast. However this feast was not repeated every year like you do in your time, because for the Pilgrims a day for giving thanks meant a day of prayer and fasting. The following is what Edward Winslow wrote in the language that was used at that time in your history;
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, Many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest King Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty." It is interesting also that when Edward Winslow referred to fowl, he was not just referring to wild turkeys. Fowl included ducks, geese, and swans. They also did not stuff the birds, but records show that they did roast them, and the venison also. On this first big feast with the amount of venison and fowl they had, the village, and the Indians actually ate for a week.
Ramblin is passing out a copy of a hand drawn map of the village. It is yours to keep.

Yes ladies and gentleman if you will note there were 19 houses, one for each family and the few single men who landed with the Pilgrims.



That is correct Ramblin. The Pilgrims kept good records of the way the houses you see were made and the material they used. We have moved around the village a little, and you can see out of the windows on the right side exactly how the houses looked, and there is one of the ladies working in the garden also.


Wood was plentiful, and all the houses were made exactly the same. They were very serviceable with hard packed dirt floors, and small windows, and a thatched roof. For the Pilgrims to accomplish what they did in one year is really remarkable. However it took six years before the compound was complete.
They did not land at Plymouth first. They landed at what you know as Cape Cod in Massachusetts. They decided to explore a little and decided to settle at Plymouth because there was fresh water streams, and they would be able to grow food there. Also there was a safe harbor for small boats.

I want to give each of you also a picture of the clothing that the Pilgrims wore so you will have a little additional souvenir of your trip to the first Thanksgiving.

Imagine for a minute trying to work in this type of clothing on a warm day??



Ramblin, I think that it would be interesting for our passengers to know a little about the treaty that the Pilgrims and the Indians made. It was very simple, and there was peace between them for thirty three years. There were only four laws.
First, they agreed not to injure each other.
Second, if there was a conflict of some kind the leader of the offending group would surrender the person or persons to the other side for punishment.
Third, the Pilgrims and the Indians agreed not to steal from each other. Fourth, if one or the other got into an unjust war, they would give help to the party who was warring, Indian or Pilgrim.
You can see how sometimes a simple agreement can maintain peace between two different ways of thinking.

One further note, the Pilgrims survived thanks to two Indians, Samoset and Squanto. They taught the Pilgrims which plants were safe to eat, how to fish in the waters there, and how to have good crops, because the summers were very short in the New England area. This created lasting friendships and trust between two very different peoples.

As we move around, there on the left side of the Retro Express is The Mayflower. Can you imagine 19 families crowded on a boat this size, along with the crew and a few single men?


Ladies and Gentlemen it is time to return to the year 2008. So if you would kindly sit back down in your seats and buckle your seat belts Reginald will prepare the Retro Express for our return trip.

All prepared Ramblin, when ever you are ready.


It looks like everybody is secure Reginald. So you can close the shields and in ten seconds we will be back to the year 2008……………


We have arrived Ramblin, and I hope our passengers enjoyed the trip. I wish all of you a good day, and a Happy Thanksgiving in 2008.


That goes for me as well ladies and gentlemen, I too hope you enjoyed the trip and also wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Have a nice evening.

Well Regge, that does it for today. We have six more days going back to 1621, after that the “powers that be” will have decided how to connect a dining car to the Retro Express, and we will have a new hostess aboard the Express to take care of what people in First Class want. Have they said anything about any changes for our normal groups of passengers that you have overheard Regge?

No Ramblin, I have overheard nothing different. However that does not mean they have not decided to make any changes. One thing I overheard Mr. Jack saying as he was leaving, was that the new hostess has been hired and her name is Michelle. But that is all.

Well, I look forward to meeting Michelle, and seeing how this new innovation is going to work. I cannot quite imagine a dining car connected to the Express, but I am sure the engineers must have figured out what is necessary to attach the car. I wonder what they plan on serving? Maybe I can get a free meal now and then. HA!HA!HA! I’ll be back tomorrow Regge for our next visit to 1621.

Really Ramblin, I wish you would call me by my name.


Sorry Reginald, I will try to remember. HA!HA!HA! I wonder why it is so hard for Ramblin to remember my name??

Chapter 5

Good Morning! You must be Michelle. Welcome aboard! It is a pleasure to meet you!



That goes for me as well! You must be Ramblin? I feel kind of strange. I have never gone back in time, but I have worked as a Air Hostess so I know what my duties in the dining car are. It is a very nice section of the Retro Express. Will you be in the car with me?


No, I will not. I will be in the front part of the Express. Reginald and I will be telling people what to expect on the Express from there, but our voices will be heard in the dining car where you are as well. Have you introduced yourself to Reginald my computer friend?

Good Morning Ms. Michelle, I am Reginald. I have been recording your voice so that from now on you will be recognized when you come aboard the Retro Express. You have a very pleasant voice Michelle.

Thank you Reginald, I look forward to working with you and Ramblin. It is kind of exciting to think that a person can go back in time to different places and see with your own eyes exactly how it was in different places in the past. Do you also store information about what is happening now in order to use it in the future??

I have the ability to store information if someone enters it via voice or from a digital source. My memory banks can be activated in many different ways. Do you have some information you think would be interesting to people in the future Michelle??

Well, This year……………..


One second please. OK I am recording now in the space in my data banks for the future. Proceed please.

Well, as I was saying, in this year 2008, people have decided that an African American will be the President of the United States. Barak Obama was elected in November by a big margin of votes. For the first time ever the White House will have an African American there for the next four years who is not a doorman, or a cook, or a waiter, but the President of the Country. Also, President George W. Bush the incumbent President, was voted in polls “The worst President in the history of the United States.” I do not know if that is true or not. But it seems some people feel that he is.

I have stored what you have told me for future trips in the years to come. For sure maybe one hundred years from now, someone will want to return to the year 2008. Do you think that information is important Ramblin?

I sure do Regge. But why someone would want to come back to this year, Hmmmm right now, in November, there are over ten million people without work! and the economy is “for the birds”!

What do birds have to do with the economy Ramblin?


HA!HA!HA! Never mind Regge. Well Michelle and Reginald it is time to go to work. As you both know today we are on our way to………………..


And so the Retro Express continued to transport people daily to different times in the past, depending on what the Board of Directors decided would be interesting for them to see and understand, and would be willing to pay for. It seems that the dining car was a huge success thanks to the hostess Michelle and her charming ways with people. Ramblin and Mr. Jack became good friends, as did the relationship with Reginald and Mr. Jack.
As Mr. Jack says “It is always great when all is well and ends well”.

(I still would like to know what birds have to do with the economy?)