Alternate History: 5/17, 4/5


I don’t think we understand how much energy the sun provides us. It’s clearing out the devil’s terrain and it’s polluting the air up here … Stuff can be recycled, the rest of garbage can be used as compost, we need reusables, less plastic. My thing is to [word?] that there’s only so much we can do with this oil that’s penetrating our waters. I was in the Bahamas, it was so pristine, the water was so clear–I don’t think it’s like that anymore. Warwick, Cranston, some parts of Providence is in danger. EP is more elevated so we’ll probably be okay. Narragansett, all of that is gonna … The bugs would not be getting this virus if the gas prices weren’t so high. They should spend that extra gas money to dispose of this stuff properly! And how we’re getting sick from a little tiny tick, a mosquito–we can’t go outside past a certain time, we can’t play baseball. My father had a recycling company and he actually got caught polluting the Woonsquatucket. Women are getting cancer, they wonder what’s going on with the frogs … They have no compassion, they’re livin’ large.



When the fuel companies, straitened by lowered consumption and left without subsidies, cut everyone’s wages, there was no longer any reason to live in the oil or shale boomtowns, and no one in their right mind would stay on a platform in the heaving, troubled ocean. Meanwhile, floods in the river valleys and droughts in the high plains and chaparral had people, animals and even plants on the move. Everyone from the Girl Scouts to the National Guard helped with the convoys, which most people knew could only happen once–after that, the fuel ran out, and travel would be slow.

Who was living in the land of Canaan? Did they make the travelers welcome? Did they invite them to come there?

In the wet places, the people from the high ground opened their houses to the people from the low ground and the dry ground, or moved in together and handed their houses over, meeting exodus with openness. They brought their skills and their illnesses. Doctors were so busy that banks began forgiving them their mortgages and loans, and medical schools began training students for free. Healers and herbalists took apprentices.

Fifty years later, here and there around the world, people spilled on the earth one drop of water for each of the plagues, for those that struck them and for those that passed them by but struck someone else:











They told the stories and then ate together, sharing what they had found.

Sand blew across the dry places, the tan cities. In the wet places, with human sewage and human synthetics slowed down or diverted away, insects emerged from their pupae and the few remaining frogs began to prosper.


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