Nan stands frozen and shivering in the desert night staring in horror at the scorpion army seemingly locked for battle in front of her. If she could scream she would no doubt wake up her parents sleeping soundly in their heritage home just a quarter mile away, but her voice is stuck somewhere between her larynx and her tonsils. A meek whimper is the only sound that she manages to squeak out as her eyes remain transfixed on the stingers ahead.
After a few unsuccessful attempts at shooing them away with a spray bottle filled with a lavender and lemon cocktail, she realizes that they too are frozen in the dark.
She takes one cautious step forward. They remain still. She takes another step. They don’t budge. Finally, she takes one mini-step closer and stretches out the wand as far as she can without falling forward. The arachnid armada is still immobile.
“I wonder,” frowns Nan as she creeps her toes to the line. She throws a mouse scented fuzz bull at them from her survival kit. “That should get them moving. What am I saying? I don’t want them to move.”
Nan’s eyes grow wide as she absorbs as much of the scene as possible just in case she needs to fire up the blow torch. Still no movement. “So they really do keep glowing when they’re dead.” She finally relaxes and jumps over them on her hunt for her friend Sam.
The water ran out in the Coachella Valley quite abruptly. After a decade of severe drought conditions across the entire southwest and mid-west states brought about by global warming, most of the farmers were desperate to produce as much yield as possible from their land. The promises of genetically modified crops seemed the only alternative at the time even though common sense and past experiences dictated otherwise.
In the end, family businesses signed over their future to the big GMO seed manufacturers for a mere extension of a couple of years before the insects and weeds evolved to survive the toxic DNA ingestion of engineered crops. Once it became clear that the frankencrops that they would plant in one season would be ineffective the next, “stronger” seeds were required for each subsequent harvest.
But Gaia has other plans for the region.
The Watsons had an organic strawberry farm in cabbage patch central. They resisted the quick profit schemes promoted by their neighbours and as a result had their fair share of run-ins with corporate patent lawyers as roaming cabbage heads found their way into their fields.
By no manner of luck did they survive the plethora of lawsuits. Mr. Watson has always been meticulous in his accounting practices. He refused any seed shipments which did not come with non-GMO guarantees. He also fortified the perimeter of his farm the best he could with wind fences and covered his berries with nets, but despite his vigilance cross-contaminations still took place.
After several court battles that almost left the family bankrupt, the Watsons were acquitted of all patent infringement charges and awarded enough money to cover their legal costs, buy up the neighbouring abandoned cabbage patches, and build the savings they are now benefiting from to convert half their original farmland into a solar energy generation facility.
This power plantation will in turn fund the sustainable farming solution Mrs. Watson has devised for the other half of their ancestral land. Then when things progress as carefully envisioned, they will filter the GMO-cabbage infested soil their daughter and her friend are secretly camping in tonight.
Nan fumbles through the desert calling out for Sam. “Sam? Where are you?” She hears a coyote in the distance and yells more urgently. “Sam!” She hears a shriek and starts running. “What the—?”
Nan stops and points her UV wand to her feet. “Yuck!” Her shoe is covered in scorpion guts.
The screams are getting louder and louder. They are heading her way. It’s Sam but something is chasing her. “Run, Nan, Run!”
The girls bolt straight for the farmhouse as Mrs. Watson shoots out of bed and switches on the floodlights.
… to be continued in Don’t Eat The Cabbage.