The things in the museum, p.2
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       The Things In The Museum, p.2

           Ray Daley
 
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  *

  MIDWEST GOLD RUSH EXHIBIT, FIRST FLOOR

  We spent the last month sleeping in a covered wagon. They had all kinds of utensils in here. I've even managed to shave a couple of times. We took hot baths in the tin bath tub and were able to wash our clothes. For a few days we walked around dressed like the early settlers. Let me tell you, those clothes aren't easy to take off if you need the bathroom in a hurry!

  I've been working my way around this floor, checking the other food stalls. I try to alternate from place to place every day or every other day, so we have some sort of variety to our food. Tasha has assumed the feminine roles of cooking and we share the washing duties. I know she doesn't feel confident leaving our camp site so I go out foraging.

  Our mid-west existence has been pretty sweet but I've been thinking. I know for a fact that the science exhibit on the top floor has several solar cells. If they've got all the other tech to store electricity we could be back into twentieth century living. If we could get some of the water pumps going using that we could have running water, maybe even get the recycling plant going and have clean water, fresh on tap!

  That night I decided to feel out Tasha on the subject, to gauge how she might feel about a step up the technological ladder.

  "It's nice here, isn't it Tasha?" I said cautiously.

  She smiled. "Yeah, real nice. Hot baths, clean clothes, pans to fry on." She looked happy enough.

  Now was as good a time as any, I suppose. "How would you feel about indoor plumbing though? If we could get it working?"

  Tasha looked at me, "Are you serious? Running water? Toilets? How?"

  "There are solar cells on the top floor. One of the exhibits has a flushing toilet too. If we could get things wired up, we could have electricity at night."

  Tasha hugged me so hard I was winded! "When do we move?" she asked.

  "I'll go up and check it out first thing tomorrow, right after breakfast. Okay?"

  *

  THE SCIENCE OF MODERN LIVING EXHIBIT, FOURTH FLOOR

  So far this has been a fairly good scouting mission. I tested the solar cells that were being used to power small bulbs. Those worked fine. Then I found the SOLAR CIRCUIT DEMONSTRATION. A great discovery.

  According to the sign on the wall "this exhibit can be connected to an array of solar panels mounted on the roof of this museum. They collect enough power to operate many household appliances including the television, radio and microwave oven."

  Oh boy! If these still worked, Tasha was going to love me!

  One of the dioramas was an enclosed kitchen, there was a toaster, an electric hob, a microwave and an iron. In the bedroom they had a television and an electric blanket.

  It took about two minutes to find the various leads that plumb the panels into the various systems. I was able to get light in both rooms and the TV playing nothing but static on all channels. No problem. I seem to recall going past a dvd player earlier.

  I managed to find a way into the dioramas. I had to pick a lock each time but it didn't pose much of a barrier. I had nothing but time.

  About twenty minutes later I was wandering around inside a living room. First time I'd done that in well over ten years. The air in there was pretty rank. Or at least until I found a button for a fan. After that it was pretty bearable. It took about the same amount of time to get into the kitchen but the bedroom wasn't even locked.

  Once I made sure we had everything we needed, I high-tailed my way back to Tasha. "You ready to move, sweetheart?"

  "Anywhere, as long as it's better than here, Phil."

  I smiled. "How does an electric oven, a microwave and a toaster sound, Tasha? Oh, and an iron!"

  We had our stuff packed and ready to go in less than ten minutes.

  Tasha was absolutely enthralled by it all. While she was unpacking things into the fridge and cupboards, I looked around for a way onto the roof.

  I managed to find a maintenance stairwell that led to the roof door. That wasn't locked either but I made sure to jam it open with a chair I found halfway up those stairs so I wasn't locked out on the roof. By the looks of it, whoever had been using it had been secretly smoking on the rooftop. I guess it was the only place he or she could get away with it any more.

  I gave all the panels and cabling a thorough checking over. I don't want anything failing up there. Not now we've progressed so far.

  When I came back later I passed a little Chinese place selling dehydrated ramen cups. Mmmm. Sounded delicious. I snagged about thirty.

  *

  Back in the kitchen, I hadn't been sure if I'd seen a kettle or not. It turns out I had. A couple of tubs of hot prawn ramen went down perfectly. I've never seen Tasha looking so happy.

  As we were wolfing them down, she said to me, between mouthfuls, "I noticed a shower exhibit out there. You think that still works?"

  I'd tried one of the static drinking fountains earlier that day. The water was still going, and still drinkable. "It runs off those panels on the roof, so there's no reason why the electric part wouldn't work. Oh, and the drinking fountains work too. So I know where to get clean water much more easily now."

  Tasha beamed her most brightest of smiles. "I'm glad we didn't leave when they evacuated this place. I guess that whole volcano scare was just bullshit then?"

  Maybe it was. Maybe it wasn't. All I know is I've got a sweet thing going here with my best girl at my side. And now we've got hot food and running water.

  Who cares about a volcano? Not me.

  THE END.

 
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