“So what went wrong?” Jenny asked her father. “What part of your big economic plan went bad?”
“The economic planning,” he replied as he finished sipping his brandy, “that went well. I had phenomenal growth right up to when Hurricane Alejandro clobbered Brooklyn, and I lost a lot less than everyone else did. Insurance was sucker’s bet then; still is. Even if most companies and governments are on board with the idea that no insurer is going to cover any damages resulting after Russia and China go to war, and they are all willing to call anything tied to that Force Majeure before the first shot’s fired, someone’s still going to be left holding the bag when the vicious come calling to insist on enforcing their policies.”
“Waita- You mean, you think there will be a war between Russia and China?”
“Oh, yeah, guaranteed. I can show you all the trending scenario feed, the tags on the larger monetary transfers, the points of contention for airable land and water rights, and when you also consider their long bad shared history, then you can’t really believe otherwise.”
“And did Mom go crazy listening to you go on like this too?” she interrupted.
Jenny watched the light flare out in his eyes. “Your mother,” he finally replied. “That was the one thing that couldn’t be planned. When she came into my life, I couldn’t see myself without her. And she couldn’t stay away, no matter how much of a prig I was. Every time between when we’d say goodbye and then say hello, that interval got shorter and shorter, until there was no goodbye.
“And because I went with my gut, how I felt, I think I spent a lot more time going over the insurance policy for our place in Brooklyn than I did planning the wedding. It was quicker than a robo-trade; we talked about maybe getting hitched for a few months, but one day we both just looked each other in the eyes, went down to City Hall for a marriage license, and then took two days off for a long weekend. Your Nana never forgave us for doing that, but your mom and I just wanted to jump in feet first.”
“But why? What made you both do that?”
“I think that was my fault. When we were together and I’d share with her what I was seeing, how the trending was going, maybe I scared her into going for it rather than wait for it to all blow over. I mean, I must have sounded like I had it all planned out, had everything secured.”
“Which you didn’t,” Jenny noted.
“As far as where the world was heading, yes, — yes, I did have everything planned out. As far as where we were heading, not so much. But I couldn’t stop us any more than I could stop the rising of the temperatures and the sea levels; and when things started changing faster than even the best modeling software could have predicted, I knew what to do from a ‘big picture’ stand, but not so much what to do at home.
“When we moved to the Bronx, to the place I’d gotten a year before as a second address, within hours of Alejandro’s predicted landfall, your mom was holding you in her arms. You were screaming and she was sobbing, and I thought, we just stick to the plan, we’d get through this. But things were too much for her, and before it got better, it got worse when they abandoned rebuilding the subways and tunnels after the flooding. She didn’t want to raise you in what she thought was a dying city, so we came to Buffalo to stay with your nana.”
“Didn’t the city actually die, though?”
“You can’t really kill a city like New York,” her dad replied. “Oh sure, what’s left of it is just the upper Bronx, and it’s seen much, much better days, so I guess losing 95% of the population to go elsewhere and a lot of what made it fun could be kind of like death.”
“Or Buffalo,” Jenny muttered…
All content Copyright © 2012 James Ryan