If we glance away from the engrossing spectacle for one moment—just one short, quick look away—we can see by way of the digital calendar beside us that it is the month of October in the year 2032.
Now looking back to what we can hardly look away from, we see the surface of the wide, cold ocean stretching out before us; there is but one vessel in our view, and it is currently maneuvering away from a large, imposing-appearing iceberg. Even from our safe distance on one of the several observer vessels sent by the nations of the world, we can discern an unnatural speck attached to the iceberg’s side.
There are many things that we are thinking right now, but a voice from that vessel out on the waves suddenly reaches us and interrupts all; though only the final paragraph of a speech and but a drone due to the use of a megaphone, we are able to recognize the speaker instantly. We close our eyes as a reflexive action at the thought of him or her.
Opening our eyes once again, we force ourselves to look directly at that vessel out on the waves, and it has retreated far enough from the iceberg that we can now distinguish some of those on its deck. Luckily for us, it is a multiracial, all-sizes, multisex group, so there is no issue in that regard; admittedly, they do seem to skew young, but this only means that they could be regarded as ideal for any campus brochure.
By what right are we ruled by the world?
We hear these words wafted to us from that vessel out on the waves, and we cannot help but listen to them due to the fact of their occupying space.
Don't we bury our dead by ourselves, and isn't even this most sacred of our duties impeded by Mother Nature—she who’s supposedly so benevolent? Floods and droughts—that’s our mother for you! If Mother Nature be my mother, I say I wish myself to have been immaculate—no mother like that for me! I say she is an enemy, not a mother. I say it is she who cast the first stone—the first among many! I say if we must fight then let us win. For humanity! This one’s for ole Pompeii! The next for New Orleans!
Any additional words from the speaker are muffled; the causing sound has come from that unnatural speck on the iceberg’s side, and, as we watch, an infinite amount of cracks seem to spread from the speck, and they soon cover the whole of the iceberg like an instant spiderweb. For a moment, we feel guilty at the beauty of the scene, but the fact that the iceberg soon blows up keeps us from any prolonged thought on the topic.
As ice shards suddenly begin flying overhead, a colleague grabs our arm and pulls us back inside from our vessel’s deck.
Stewart Michael Berg lives in Austin, Texas. He has two collections currently available (The Sored Incident, and Six Similar Stories and Nine and One Stories). He recommends Little Free Library.