New Venice

Centuries ago, New York perched on the East Coast, just as it does now, but there was no New Venice. Instead, there was a place called California. It had farms and deserts and mountains and forests.

It was beautiful in places, and overcrowded in others. Everyone who lived there knew that someday a “big one,” a massive earthquake, might come. But they all hoped it wouldn’t happen in their lifetime.

Of course, eventually the time ran out. There was a chain reaction of earthquakes and tsunamis and sinkholes. California became the New Altantis, sinking below the waves in a day.

It was tragic and horrible, and not as many survived as should have. The mountains were now islands, and desert sand was now beachfront property. There was a year of mourning. People came from far away to toss flowers and letters into the waves.

Eventually, people began to rebuild. First on the islands, and then in-between. They built over the water, a New Mexico City, spreading far and wide. The more they built, the more they learned.

Soon there was a New California, built over the wreckage of the old. People sent expeditions to the bottom of the ocean, to bring pieces up to add to the structures above. There were pieces of the old Los Angeles and Sacramento and San Diego in the new cities being built.

There were bridges of course, running between the new towns, but boats were always the most direct and reliable transportation.   When an old-fashioned gondola service became popular, people began to talk about the New Venice. And over time, the name stuck.

As New Venice built out into the Pacific, Hawaiian developers began using the new technology, much to the dismay of those who hoped to keep the traditional culture of the islands. Protestors fought each advance outward, but in the end, the developers had deeper pockets.

There were a few areas that were left alone, new national parks and monuments, but eventually, Hawaii began to reach out towards New Venice. People began to try to calculate when they would meet. Workers from all over the world flocked to New Venice as construction sped up.

Finally the day came. The bridge that first connected the two states was called New Junction. A large golden nail was hammered into the edge of the bridge and crowds on boats and in the narrow streets all cheered. Backpackers flooded through on the last leg of their coast-to-coast trips.

Now that the pace of construction began to slow again, developers turned their eye further westward. A few of the more enterprising souls put together a team and traveled to Japan. They were politely, but firmly told no. Japan would be happy to look into the technology on a limited basis, but they preferred the buffer of the ocean and the traditional lifestyle it supported.

They tried elsewhere, all around the world, but the answers were essentially the same. The great New Venice project would remain unique, at least for now.   And in time, what was new and different became old and commonplace.

California is now synonymous with tales of myth and legend. If stories are to be believed, in California cowboys were the ancestors of a city of artists, and the streets were paved with stars. Will another “big one” come again someday? Hopefully not in our lifetime.