Liquid Gold

2025, was the year thirst crept its way out of the third world and into the homes of middle America. Water was, up until then, taken for granted. In the early 21st century, citizens learned very little information about the water crisis from popular entertainment news shows. Stories of fresh-from-rehab celebrities handing out designer water bottles to groups of clamoring children often flashed across their plasma screens. To most, water was a commodity that had an endless supply. Only those living in the third world were affected, worlds away from America. Where such a problem could never exist.
2210, where the only news comes from a radio channel devoted to water. Stories no longer focusing on the latest celebrity scandals or latest fashion, but where the newest water rationing site will be for the month. What once flowed free is now passed out via carefully controlled rationing cards, one punch per month. Days are spent praying for rain that seems to never come. Lush forests have become desert waste lands. Once populated cities so full of life, now all but abandoned; its citizens choosing the life of a nomad. Wealth is no longer measured in dollars, but in ounces of water.
It was an ordinary day, for the man wandering his way aimlessly across the desert that had become Illinois. His days were spent searching for water, the liquid that ruled his life. Passing through the skeletal remains of what was once a quiet neighborhood, where children played in sprinklers and teenagers washed there first cars; a house caught his eye.
The shambled ruins of the house were clearly losing its struggle to survive against the sandy winds and harsh sun. Still, although barely visible, in faded gold lettering above where the house number had once been, the man recognized his own last name. Having never seen his name other than printed on his water rationing card, pure curiosity got the best of him; he began to explore the property. Very little was left inside the ruins of what was once a quaint home. Though, some small nic nacs, faded family photos, a worn military coin, and a twisted basketball trophy had all manage to survive the deserts harsh environment. Moving around the back, the man scanned the barren yard for something of use, maybe an old tire, having collected the scant rain water. His eye caught not a tire, but the tip of a strange object poking out of the earth.
The dull thud of the man’s shovel striking the polyethylene tank was profound in the eerie silence. The man laid down his rusty shovel, and stooped lower to inspect the foreign object in the sandy soil. He could see words etched on the once white container, now permanently stained a sandy brown. Removing a worn leather glove, he traced his calloused hand across the faint lettering. The man had only learn to read a handful of words. One of these words, almost worn away by the 200 years spent underground, was water.
His hands were shaking as he unscrewed the top, bracing himself for disappointment. Instead his eyes met the most glorious sight. Before him, was gallons of perfectly clear water. It was the most drinking water he had seen in his whole 35 years of life. The man’s smile and tears of joy was unmistakable even through his grimy weather-beaten face. The object, unbeknownst to him, was a cistern. This one had been bought online, for a mere 374 dollars in October of 2010. The man’s long forgotten relative had buried it there, in case of a emergency. This relative having then just buried water, had now left his descendant with the equivalent of 325 gallons of liquid gold.





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