The world had literally changed. The coastlines of ten years ago were gone as the tide rose. The houses built on the coast had been submerged. Yes even the coastal homes of the rich were no longer there. Thirty percent of Habitable Property had disappeared in ten years as the waters rose. Property values went in reverse. Property on the beach were of no value as they would disappear in a few years and the interior properties that had been more traditionally for the poor were now the most expensive. The poor were now granted the property on the beach. As a matter of fact they were to remain there during the evenings. The rich, afraid of theft and violence, wanted the poor vagabonds to be fenced off from them. A huge debate had ensued when the fence was first proposed. In the end the rich had what they wanted. During the day if you had a worker’s permit you could leave the coastal lands to go into the interior land but must be out before sunset.
The climate change deniers continued. In the end it was the rich who were the climate dangers. The poor had seen their lives dramatically changed and grew to understand that the cause of the change was climate change. The rich because the proposals to stem the tide meant sacrifice and a lower standard of living for them insisted climate change was exaggerated.
Most of the poor did not bother to try to build permanent structures. Instead they would build makeshift homes of driftwood or trash they found on the beach. The more fortunate had sturdy tents. Every night the crowds of poor would jockey for position along the fence. The closer to the fence the less likely when the tide came in they would, in their nomenclature, be ‘sleeping wet’. But always at high tide the water would come rushing on the inhabitants of the beach. So according to how close to the fence you were determined your sleeping position. The farther from the fence the more erect you would remain—standing sometimes in water all night unable to lie down and sleep. The next day a few bodies would be found of those who gave in to the cold water or no longer could stand and drowned. The fortunate were those who slept against the fence in a sitting position. Everyone on the beach prayed for low tide.
Ariel’s life went on this way for five years. Her family had drowned when the hurricanes wiped out two-thirds of the population. After this the outcry had been so great they evacuated the poor to emergency prisons designed to hold the poor. The prisons and their bare minimal offerings helped the rich sleep better at night. But however minimal the prisons they were better than life on the sea. In a social reform moment in the country a lottery program was started to decide which of the beachcombers would be allowed to move to the prisons.
Ariel’s family had won the lottery the day after the hurricane had taken everyone’s life but her. There was a great legal battle whether a five year old could ‘win’ the lottery. Who would take care of her? And was this the best use of a prison home? After all the elite wanted to do the right thing. The wise decision was made and she would be ‘adopted’ by people chosen from another lottery draw.
Now she was never treated as bad as Cinderella but there was neither the warm fuzzies either. And definitely no Prince for her. But when she became of childbearing age she was taken and groomed for these purposes. The population control was important as the land had become so scarce around the world. So, in the more sophisticated countries breeding had become severely monitored and planned. The rich thought this was a benevolent activity as it kept the poor on the coast from overloading the beaches.
Ariel the child who had been removed from the oceanside had her life changed. She had moved to a prison and been chosen to have a child. She was now a mother but one whose child had been adopted from her. The day after birth the newborn was delivered to the infertile couple who lived on the right side of the fence.
She had never been allowed to marry herself because of the fears that if the underclass coupled they would eventually desire to give birth. And this would make for an unnecessary expense and effort for the government to monitor their lives. So, she lived with three other women in a special prison. When she grew past childbearing age she was allowed twenty more years to enjoy life. These twenty years were called the gift years. She was allowed more time and freedom to travel. This was the more than fair award the government gave for use of their wombs all those years.
Usually in their sixties sometimes seventies they were carted away with much secrecy. You see no one knew what happened to the elderly poor. But God was good, and they all eventually learned. They were taken to barren lands where the soil was not good and their bodies were used to fertilize and enrich the soil. They were given the honor to even after death to provide the elite with nourishment as they had in their younger days. It was the full cycle of life.
It is said that because of climate change by the year 2100 Venice could be under water. This is the timeframe in which we have to prevent ‘sleeping wet’.