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The Dairy Enclave

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[Written by Rebecca Lee Smith]

"Everybody got their gear? Flashlights? Boots? Rope? Gloves? Charges?"

Used to be a group would break into the enclave without hip-waders, Tyvek, or latex. Showing up at the hospital with a raging crypto or Salmonella infection was a dead giveaway, especially after a 'break' was announced, so they had to treat it themselves. Since they couldn't access the superdrugs without even more questions, they started losing people to the XDR strains. Procedure was changed, then, even if it took most of a day to paint those suits black.

The politicians thought the pipeline was the most sensible way to deal with transport from the enclave. After all, running electric through cables the length of Cayuga County had seemed wasteful, and required the plant staff to live in no-man's land. Therefore, it was only expeditious to build a manure pipeline, several, really, from the centralized barns to the methane digesters on the northern and southern edges of the dairy enclave that had been Cayuga County. That's where the population was, of course, not counting the immigrant dorms in the center. And power was necessary -- NiMo lost their primary source when the level of Lake Erie dropped below the Falls, after the Midwest Corn Irrigation Plan.

After all, they said, one good pipe deserves another.

What hadn't been considered was the possibility of a pipeline as an ideal terrorist target. (People forget their history so quickly....) There were plenty of dispossessed former residents, angry at the use of eminent domain for private business, willing to take part in commando raids like tonight.

The target: a conflagrance of pipes that was, for a change, not within the lake's watershed.



My grandparents were from Upstate New York, around Cazenovia, but they'd left for Phoenix in 1982, when Grandpa's job transferred there. My parents lived in San Diego, but moved back to my grandparents' place when they moved on to Lake Havasu City. My father's brother moved back to Syracuse in 2005, and it always seemed like a joke, moving to the land of harsh winters and taxes. The one time we visited in 2008 it was just too lushly green for me.

I grew up in this arid place and loved the desert - the sand, the cacti, the way it all looks the same until you look closely. When we had to stop watering my parents' lawn, I didn't mind - it seemed more real to me, and my brother and I had a good time trying to replace that grass with something that could last in the desert. I wound up using those skills as a landscape designer, helping people adjust to an ever-drier world while guzzling bottled water and turning up the evaporative cooler whenever I had the chance.

After a while, though, I had fewer customers. Somehow living in the brown didn't really appeal to people, and a lot of them headed for the coasts and for points north. In some ways that was a good thing, taking a lot of pressure off what little water we had left. We'd used up the aquifers a lot faster than we'd recharged them, and there wasn't more water coming in. A few wet years in the 2030s eased things a bit - actually kind of messed up some of my landscapes, but not permanently - but the 2040s have been miserable.

Phoenix is emptying out now, down to 200,000, and maybe there will still be a city there when they figure out how many people can live there permanently. There's not a whole lot of water left there.

Cascadilla fall

I brought my family to Upstate in 2047, not too far from where my uncle used to live. It's strange, looking around and seeing not just rain, but waterfalls. Everyone knows about Niagara, but who knew about Chittenango Falls, or Taughannock, or Watkins Glen? Water, even drinking water, is everywhere here.

The last few years of landscaping in Phoenix were pretty much a loss, so it looks like I'll be working here for a lot of my retirement, like a lot of us who moved back. The house is small and old, but it will do, and I have a lot to learn about gardening in a place where it's supposed to be easy.

If you'd like to submit a story, please contact me.

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