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One particular bro on a volcanic, dystopian landscape, in the midst of current and impending extinctions, looked like his fever was increasing, in part since we had regressed to the pre-antibiotic days when anti-inflammatories were just tree barks. He was pedaling across no path at all, just sifting, thin dirt and maroon sand; folks hadn’t been in the area for five years, and he had no idea he was wandering in circles like those desert explorers from back in the days of Baghdad, the city of dreams. Don’t confuse this bro's story with science fiction or a spooky prediction just by the scenery; this unlush place full of dust and short, stiff plants that grow in gravel is incidental. Think about Mars; we have tons of photos of it, and nobody seems to know if it’s the dead-end future of the Earth or what everything used to look like in Toronto, eons back, in the heyday of crabs. He had lived with a bunch of other teenagers who looked like they could have played basketball with Leo DiCaprio: gaunt, catholic-school chic, but they were out of place in a two-room shack with no foundation, held together only by wood staples and a few nails. The horizon in every direction yielded no concrete courts, no goals with missing nets, or chain link, twelve feet tall, and several horizons over you'd still find none as well. Animal or bro, if you don’t match your landscape, there’s very little point in survival, even with the sustenance of the species in mind; however, this contrast drives all the best trends and forward-thinking fashion, where the aim is forgetting what you’re wearing because your clothes become entirely functional from your point of view: Yves Saint Laurent was obsessed with the elegance of Kashmir farmers for a long time; to him, they were the closest thing to being naked, naive, and elegant, a rare combination. His buddy who went by “Sudsy” was the only teen who meshed in with the near-Bedouin cloudscapes out where the bro’s shack was. He was the only one who thought to bring real footwear out into this dead zone, so he seemed like an expert by comparison. Realizing this particular bro wandering the sands on a Giant mountain bike was too sick to just sit down on the shack foundation and ride it out, Sudsy was the one who gave him the go-ahead to take a bike out through the volcanic flatlands to the next town. He was also the only one competent enough to realize building a
shack out here was a good idea since land was free to all takers, with the caveats of no running water and only little nutria-type mammals around for food. Sudsy could’ve lived in the cities, but he saw free land as an intuitive gamble bound to pay off. Think of buying up swamps in Miami during the depression, how did that work out? If they flipped alligator territory into pink stucco beach fronts back then, they’ll be able to turn this humid desert into artesian meadows again, maybe with casinos and even a Regis Galeria with pharaohs for sale and Michael Jackson sifting through his wallet for a gift card. When you pay nothing per square foot, this kind of fascination can lure you anywhere; any locale can become as essential as settling near running water. This particular bro was the only one in the shack that saw opportunity the way Sudsy did; everyone else was just a runaway or didn’t have the practical choice of making a living in the cities. They were just along for the ride and were useful but didn’t think or even imagine more than three days ahead, so they couldn’t fantasize about signing over vast acres to Chinese firms with hundreds of bugged offices and microphones tucked under the driver seats in company cars. These short-term survivalists would probably still take the money, but how could they ever make it long enough without an obscene hallucination pulling them to the horizon? *** Behind a dune, a half-bear creature knocked this particular bro off his bike; bro ate the ground and didn’t want to look up to find the thing that was after him, especially since the region was supposed to be vacant and uninhabitable as far as large animals go. Luckily, it just made off with his 10-speed (a means of survival). Again, don’t get lost in the outlandish part of the bro’s story; most contemporary conveniences are still intact; for instance, Moscow has barely been affected from a structural standpoint, all the same apartments, Starbucks, and ATMs, but there has been a radical increase in population, due to the rusted-out dust plains like the one where this bro’s bike got jacked. He could still make it to a place with water, medicine, and food in a couple days; it would just be grittier and slower without the bike, which was in great shape, even outfitted for the last ditch possibility of treks between towns. The bro's assailant was an opportunistic scavenger, no surprise. From a practical perspective, if a Giant Talon 29er was useful for the bro, think of how paradigm-altering it would be for a pseudo-Sasquatch just getting the hang of brush shelters since his usual forest bit the dust? Cognitive surplus was a new thing for his
species, and this bro wasn't going to halt the squatches like the newly paved interstates did back in the 50s in the American West. Not to keep harpin', but, at this juncture, don’t get into “climate change” based on the wildlife in the crispy flatlands; hone in on these bros' lack of free time; the nature of work and the conquest of slavery: the engine of progress. These shifts are way more important than anything like the evolving amounts of salinized water affected by the moon. A better question is, “Can you even sell yourself as a slave voluntarily?” What can a bro give up in his own interest, from his perspective? This particular bro we’re tailing has no time to talk to people, friends or otherwise; he only earns those minutes by assailing the terrain in order to get Advil and possibly some ciprofloxacin for whatever is wrong with him or he just maintains his residency in a lean-to in order to make an enormous land claim. Even for us to care enough to be on his trail is empathetic to a degree that makes people nervous, overflowing with the sticky dread of becoming involved, like seeing a downbeat hobo kicked off a train into similar rocky flatland, knowing full well that there used to be a de facto acceptance of vagabonds; they were part of the way things go, or went. He figured trekking to the next city was just one of the time sucks of getting free land; there wouldn’t be doctors in this area for years. He thought it was like CEOs who live in an idyllic isolation but are forced to drive 30 miles to company headquarters; you just can't everything both ways. His backpack was filled with Gatorade (the previous formula, before they removed brominated vegetable oil) and thousands of hard pretzels; some were ruined by being left in a moist storage corner where they kept food and tools, though they were probably still edible, considering this was a life and death situation; on foot this should've still be enough to make it to a pharmacy. In England they’d call this kind of traveling “wild camping,” but it’s misleading since there’s no road, path, or trail at all, there’s no traffic in this area, no reason for any bro to go to the next city; in fact, travel is more deadly than useful. This particular bro happened to be ill, sicker than anyone had been in a long time, not unlike when Jacquin got stabbed in The Village, except the geographic isolation here verges on “involuntary,” no opt-in. The Happening has what is generally considered the worst trick ending in recent memory. Plants makin’ folks off themselves doesn’t keep us up at night, and they don’t make any bro wary about going into a dark kitchen with a dripping faucet, but we know angry plants have just the kind of boring, yet effective, eccentricity that
would push biomasses toward extinction and overpopulation. Algae don’t make us skittish, but you could see them ruining a lot of our fun, free time, and control over the food supply. To run it into the ground, there is no uncanny tone to this method of extinction and hyper-flora; it’s not the end of the world, which is too easy to accept, and anger doesn’t even enter into it, just inconvenience when things don't properly come to a halt, like having to shoot a bunch of deer that have been breeding for too long. It’s not fun; it’s not sport; it just keeps them from stripping things down to the dirt, just stumps left. This particular bro didn’t make it to the Amoxicillin; his infection ran rampant after he got dehydrated and malnourished, but his belly didn’t distend like the kids in Africa since his minerals weren’t deficient over a number of years. As his spleen failed spectacularly, he just laid back and thought about a story he had read of a guy who created a 50-gallon, self-contained, ecosphere in a giant glass flask. He watered it once in 1964, and it kept circulating all of its moisture and vitamins internally for 54 years. It was just a nice gesture, a fluff story on the news, not some kind of social stance on the nature of nature. The bro could still see the old guy with Harry Potter glasses and botanical overalls holding the clover-filled glass with soft dirt in it hovering in front of the desert smog in a pseudo mirage (technically, this wasn’t a desert), and just like Steve Jobs, this particular bro kept muttering how beautiful it all is, but he also wondered if we’d ever get back to the highpoint of the 90s since he had always believed that humans had evolved on earth numerous times before; we just lost track of everybody because the stuff they came up with, all the toys and even the credit cards, eventually disintegrated, melted down in the earth’s core, and made their way back to the surface in new mineral form without much of a trace, depending on your subjective, geological perspective, which everyone has a right to.