Strumming a harp while floating on a white cloud might be Paradise for some people, but it would bore others stiff. Given an unlimited chance to choose your ideal world, what would you specify—palaces or log cabins?
says it makes him give me a sharp look. "How come? There's always a couple to meet the flyer."
"There ain't none this time," I says. "No cab drivers."
"No cab drivers?"
"Ain't no need for 'em any more," I says. "Ain't no people in town to use cabs. Town's empty. Everybody's gone."
He looks kinda green and says: "What do you mean, everybody's gone?"
I shrugs and starts walking back to town. "Everybody took off," I says. "Your Paradise booths were real popular."
He still looks blank so I give it to him straight. I had first thought about it when Wally Claus disappeared. It occurs to me then that everybody has times when they wish they could crawl out from under and quietly disappear. You see, Joe had assumed that some people were adjusted to society and some weren't. Well, actually nobody is, it's just a difference of degree.
Once Wally took off, it sorta burst the dam. More and more people sneaked into the booths, dropped in a quarter, and
Written in a breezy, conversational style, "The Worlds of Joe Shannon" is a quick read about a guy who invents a way to live in the world of one's choice. There are, of course, unexpected consequences. Great little story, well worth the 20 minutes or so it takes to read it.