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Caleb Tankersley


Modern science is confirming more than ever what the ancients have always known: all the wheels and magnets and complex motors in the world can’t compete with the human body, a machine honed through millions of years of evolution.

So, why not harness the body’s power for transport?

Yes, you can already walk to your destination (BORING!), but what if you want to travel to Wichita? Why, you can’t walk all the way there! You can’t run to Wichita either. A bike, maybe. But you still have to contend with fatigue, let alone the imperfections of a mechanical device.

How can we harness human power WITHOUT getting tired on the way?

Introducing Tossed-in-a-Chair!

The idea is ingeniously simple (as ancient technology always is). A group of men are standing in a line. They are roughly the same height (5’ 10” to 5’ 9” to maximize applicants) and are three feet apart from each other. Each man is facing forward, each staring into the back of another man’s head.

The traveler climbs the six-foot loading platform to the chair. This chair looks remarkably like an average dining room chair—because it is! (This technology is so simple, which is how you know it’s genius.) The chair is made of a specially sourced lightweight fir species to maximize efficiency. The traveler sits (note the patented cotton cushion, top of the line in comfort) and secures straps across their legs, waist, shoulders, and arms (A technician will assist with the strapping).

Once the vessel is prepared, our traveler is ready for takeoff. Two trained launch handlers stand on either side and grab the chair by its legs (which are fitted with special gripping pads). The handlers will then position the chair in front of the loading platform and lift the chair above their heads. (You can feel the anticipation, can’t you!?)

After a brief safety speech delivered by the handlers (“Thank you for traveling with Tossed-in-a-Chair!, the world’s fasted human-powered travel company. . . . ”), a countdown will begin. During this countdown, the traveler may feel a slight angling. This is normal. The launch handlers are merely preparing. Relax, and enjoy yourself!

Once the countdown is complete, the launch handlers will both make a chaotic scream (this is normal), and the chair will be tossed. 

Will the traveler fall? Will the traveler scrape her cheek or break her nose? Will the chair collapse and shatter in an explosion of splintered, lightweight fir wood? Not at all! The chair will be caught by the first man in the line.

Let’s take a moment to describe the linemen. These are highly-skilled, specially trained “travel associates” who are here for your convenience and comfort. Each linemen exercises for hours a day, focusing on their biceps, triceps, forearms, trapezoids, backs, and core muscles. (Travelers are encouraged to enjoy the view.) Special attention is given to a lineman’s grip strength and dexterity. They are more than capable of catching the chair. There’s no need to worry about a fall with all those muscles! But the most important muscle—exercised daily—is service.

As the first lineman catches the chair, he’s already arching his back, hands in the air, throwing his body forward. Imagine the lineman holding a boulder above his head and tossing it, only the boulder doesn’t exist. The lineman catches the boulder mid-toss. He only makes contact for fractions of a second before his energy propels the chair forward to the next lineman, who is already halfway through his throwing motion.

In this manner the chair is tossed, perfectly timed, following down the line of men, each of them adding a small portion of their strength to move the chair along. Yes, we do have a secure line of men stretching city to city, coast to coast, over the horizon and far across. There’s nowhere our linemen can’t toss you.

For those linemen not out of breath, you might even hear a friendly greeting. (“Safe travels!” “Pleasure serving you!” “Enjoy being tossed in a chair!”) Compared to the awful roar of a combustion engine, Tossed-in-a-Chair! is a far more pleasing auditory experience. (Let alone the reduced environmental impacts.)

The linemen could not imagine a better existence than tossing you in a chair. Refrain from asking the linemen about their lives. Any inquiry could interrupt the important work of getting you tossed. If you did ask, you would be far down the line before the men could answer. You’d never hear them.

If you were to take that rusty old bike to Wichita, it would inevitably malfunction. Your tires would blow out. The chain would break. You would need repair kits, extra supplies, tools, oil, and cleaner. And after all that maintenance, you would still have to power this machine with your own sweat and blood. You’d have to propel not only your own weight but the weight of the bike all the way to Wichita. Sounds like a great trip—for the lazy bike!

But the human body is a self-repairing machine. Yes, of course humans get tired. They require food, water, and rest (all of which we provide to our linemen), but they heal. Using a bike over and over causes it to deteriorate faster, but a human body can actually improve with use. (Our express service—Tossed-in-a-Chair! Plus—with our most experienced linemen will be operational next year.) 

Why not arrive to your destination after a swift, pleasant journey filled with protruding muscles, happy voices, and floating dreams? What are you waiting for? Like, what are you actually waiting for?! Get Tossed-in-a-Chair! today!


Caleb Tankersley is the author of Sin Eaters and Jesus Works the Night Shift. His writing can be found in Carve, The Cimarron Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Puerto del Sol, Sycamore Review, and other magazines. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of St. Thomas and is Managing Director of Split/Lip Press.


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