Laura Koerber, author
A magical realism dystopia set against a background of global climate change and authoritarianism. “The world is coming to an end, but my personal life is okay, I guess.” That was my response to Arne’s “How’re ya?” greeting. I pushed the oil rags and cigarette butts off the seat of his old pickup truck and climbed in. Arne is used to sour comments from me, so he just threw the truck into gear, gunned the engine and smirked, “Someone’s got a bee up his butt this morning.” I let a half mile of clear cut rumble past the window while I thought about my shitty mood. The low-hanging, pinkish-gray smoke in the sky was getting on my nerves in a quietly grinding way like bad music or the smell of diesel oil: the kind of irritation that puts you in a crappy mood without you noticing how you got there. Back when I was a kid, I used to enjoy the ride to town because of the way the road wound around through a mosaic of wetlands and forest and lakes. There used to be lots of moose back then too: big, somber, stupid animals. I’d kind of admired the moose because they were so much better at parenting than my folks had ever been. Mostly gone now: the forest, the marshes around the lakes, the moose. The ugly fake forest outside the truck windows pissed me off as much as the smoke. Everything was reminding me how screwed we all were. Then Arne asked, “What’s the point of being a fairy if you can’t just wave a magic wand and get stuff done?” Yeah, I’m a fairy. No, not that kind. I’m half-human, half-forest spirit from the wild hare clan. Arne knew that. He was just expressing his crappy mood in his on crappy way. We were on our way to town to do some sort of shopping--I never pay for anything unless I have to. I didn't know that my personal life was about to turn to shit.