Flash Fiction: A New York State of Mind

A New York State of Mind

By Darryl Foster


Did they dread forecasted pockets of air—too poisonous to breathe? A photo drifted onto my retina; a frame of augmented reality. New York City, 2025 a chaotic place: dead air, depleted oil, food shortages, and they must’ve been horrified when the honey bee became extinct.

I think, and a new photo appears—solar panels and windmill farms, 2031. Too bad the switch to alternate energy wasn’t enough to feed their capitalistic consumption. Must’ve been tough to survive in a crumbling ‘supply and demand’ society. I believe this was their undoing, greed; a path to global wars and famine.

Next frame—not my favourite—a photo of a quarantined home in Harlem, a reminder that humans were not at the top of the food chain. Millions died, and it took a hundred years to find a cure for the Pectin virus, an airborne contagion that gelled blood. I’m not sure how hope survived in their plagued world, nor can I contemplate the failure of concrete. By 2150 most buildings had exceeded their life. The skyscrapers crumbled first. Water rusted rebar had led to the disintegration of whole cities. The good thing was society had to shed its chrysalis and emerge with a new way of thinking.

A final photo appeared—New York, June 16th, 2375. It was today’s celebration commemorating the Age of Awakening in 2175. A time when human consciousness conceded to reform society out of necessity—change or face extinction.

My retina display hibernated. Crowds gathered. Being the Mayor of New York I was honoured to be in New Battery Park removing the last ceremonial brick of an old civilization. It took 200 years, but we did it, we had terraformed Manhattan, replacing all structures with green fields and trees for as far as the eye could see.

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