(Editor’s note: Find previous installments here.)
Sunday, March 20, 2157
We had to take the car to our next adventure. It has a three-hundred mile range, he said, though he rarely went farther than about 100 miles. Our destination was barely 10 miles. Still, it felt good to be out.
Views of the Bay Area still haunted me. No buildings, no people, no plants, no animals. Just endless rocks, dirt, and water, which menaced like a half-sleeping blob. I felt the vague murmuring of the voices, trying to bring me down again. I held on to Walter. That kept them at a safe distance.
We stopped at a little what concrete building. A shack. It looked like a bomb shelter. We got out. He plugged the car in. Then he used a key to get inside. When is a shack not a shack, he said. When it’s a TARDIS? I said. He laughed. We went inside.
It was bigger inside, but only because a stairway led down a ways. Then we got to an elevator that took us further down. Down, down, down, down, down. I didn’t think we’d stop. Then we did. The door opened to a long, dim corridor. I could hear a dull rumbling sound. Are we supposed to be here? I asked. No, he said. But no one will find us, he added.
We went down this corridor for a quarter mile. Bomb shelter was all I could think of, probably a result of my new obsession, Dr. Strangelove. Then we came to an old, rusty looking door. Walter had all of the keys. He opened the door.
The rumbling sound grew louder, but still sounded dull, like a distant thunderstorm. And the gangway we traversed rumbled a little. The bombs were going off, decimating everything.
We reached the end of the gangway. There, he said. I looked and we were walking along the biggest, fattest, scariest looking pipe I had ever seen. It had to be a quarter mile thick, at least. And here I thought Walter’s talk of thick pipes last night was just foreplay. No. Well, maybe. But it was also in preparation for this, the world’s thickest pipe that stretched farther than we could see, beyond the lights that dimly lit the space we were in.
This is where it all comes from, he said. This is all the water there is, all that there can ever be, he said. It all comes from the plant, he said. Millions of gallons, all from the plant. I asked where was it being shipped to. Everywhere, he said. Seattle. Vancouver. Anchorage. Toronto. All the A-zones. This is their water. All of it.
Then he turned to me. And, he said, all the water you had in your C-zone, until they switched it off. That came from here, too.
No. Son of a bitch. We had all been told that our water came from the Sierras, what was left of it. Lies, Walter said. And the A-zones, they all had deep wells and shit to get their water. More lies, Water said. That water was spoiled decades ago, he said. Fracking, he said.
Fracking?! My great-granddad loved fracking. We made millions off of it. He absolutely loved it. Great-granddad did it again.
They took the water away from you, Walter said, so that they could keep up with the demand in the A-zones. They are growing, Walter said.
Growing how? What about population control? What about two kids per family? Lies, lies, lies, he said. A-zones are fantasylands, he said to me. Like Disneyland was a fantasyland. Like those virtual reality arcades are fantasylands. They are bubbles of fantasy, which are maintained by this huge pipe.
The water coming from that pipe could feed the Bay Area, the Arroyo and everything around it. It could grow trees in the C and D zones, make them habitable again. It could help maybe make this planet livable again. Instead, it’s going off to feed a fantasy.
Suddenly I wished I had a bomb, a big bomb to ride on like Slim Pickens, right on top of this mother. Fuck the A-zoners.