Dear readers, tonight with me is an ambitious man, from a distant future where moguls dominate the water supply and sell it back to the public at ridiculous prices.
He’s here to tell us about his plan to steal a vehicle from the oppressors , and his journey across uncharted wastelands filled with murderers and thieves.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
I grew up in Phoenix AZ with my parents and brother, Justin. Phoenix was a beautiful city when we were kids, before the bombs were dropped and the water barons took over. We used to ride our bicycles all around our quiet, little suburban neighborhood and play baseball with the neighbor kids. You can’t even walk down the street anymore without being harassed by a Purifier.
Did you have any favourite toys as a child? Any cherished memories?
My Zbox was probably my favorite toy. Justin and I would play on it every day if our parents let us. Those came out in 2030, I think. They’re like an Xbox but with more options. One of my most cherished memories is when my parents took Justin and me to see the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never seen it in person, you should add that to your bucket list. It’s amazing! It changes color as the sun sets. I think about my family a lot these days. I hope they’re still alive and doing alright.
What do you do now?
I used to be a consultant for a clean energy firm. Now I live in a broken-down shack in the desert. I hunt for food and bury cans in the ground to get water. This is NOT the plan I had for my life, of course. I can give full credit to the water barons for this new “lifestyle” of mine.
What can you tell us about your latest adventure?
My last adventure was insane and that’s putting it mildly! It turned into a vicious war that took us across the state of Arizona and beyond. We never even planned to be a part of a war, but we ended up fueling a fire that had been burning for a long time. There were shootouts, explosions, and menacing weapons I never knew even existed. It’s kind of a long story.
What did you first think when you heard about the rights to water being purchased?
I knew it was a scheme for some greedy moguls to get wealthier but I never could’ve imagined that they would take it this far. It was inevitable that the water prices would rise, but I didn’t think they would do it so drastically. People were literally killing each other for water! It was pure chaos.
What was the scariest thing in your adventures?
It was all so terrifying and life-altering. It’s hard to pick one event. I guess if I had to choose one thing, it would be the barbarians in the wastelands. Those guys are by far the sickest, most ruthless people I’ve ever met. They almost make the Purifiers look like nice guys and that’s hard to do.
What is the worst thing about living in the wastelands?
Watching people you care about die. When my group was first exiled, there were twenty-five of us. Now there are only seven. I watched a girl die a slow, painful death from a poisonous snake bite. Some died from heat exhausted and/or dehydration. Others had health issues and the Purifiers wouldn’t bring them any medicine. If you’re not considered useful to them, they’ll let you just linger and die out there.
What is the best thing about it?
I’ve got some great friends that I never would’ve met otherwise. That’s the only good thing about it.
Tell us a little about your friends.
Julio’s kind of crazy, but I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend. He’s definitely helped us stay alive. Blane and Skylar are like the perfect next-door neighbors. They’re smart, pleasant, and helpful. They’re a cute couple, but they’re also a little nauseating sometimes. They’re not afraid of hard work, especially Blane. He does more than his fair share of duties.
Xiomara’s the care taker of our little family. She’s the most benevolent, self-sacrificing person I’ve ever met. The world needs more people like her. Last but not least, there’s Maria and her daughter, Paola. Maria’s amazing. She’s brilliant, beautiful, tenacious, and a great person. I think Paola’s going to be a lot like her when she grows up. Paola’s very intelligent, curious, and cheerful. She brings a lot of light to the grim hellhole we live in.
Any romantic involvement?
Well, I have a friend that I really like, but I’m not sure dating would be a great idea. That’s usually how friendships get ruined. Besides, I’m more worried about survival at the moment than anything else.
Whom (or what) do you really hate?
The water barons and their Purifiers. The water barons made the cost of living so high that only the very wealthy could support themselves and their families. The rest of us were working more than one job, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the rising water tariffs. They labeled us “indigents,” took everything we had, and dumped us in the wastelands. The Purifiers are supposed to be a special army to instill order, but they’re just a bunch of power-hungry, abusive thugs who get a thrill from busting indigent skulls.
What’s your favourite drink, colour, and relaxing pastime?
My favorite color is blue. My favorite drink is coffee with hazelnut or French vanilla flavoring. Some of my favorite pastimes are reading, playing chess, and watching basketball on TV. I don’t get to do much of that anymore, though.
What does the future hold for you?
It’s hard to say what the future holds right now. I’m hoping for a new beginning, but I don’t know if it’s possible in this twisted world.
Can you share a secret with us, which you’ve never told anyone else?
For a long time no one in town knew why indigents were suddenly disappearing. The wastelands were completely unheard of until an anonymous tip sent our whole city into a frenzy. Maria had a lot to do with that tip. You’ll be able to find out more about that soon when “Parched” comes out. It’s the story of our lives before exile. More details on that will be made available soon.
Anne Rasico (AKA Anne Joyce) was born in a small town in Indiana you’ve probably never heard of. She composed short stories and comic books as a child to amuse her family and began writing poetry at the age of thirteen. In 1998 she received an Honorable Mention for Literary Excellence for her poem “She Didn’t Come Home.”
In 2013 her novella “When the Chips Are Down” was named a Finalist in the MARSocial Author of the Year Contest. When she is not writing, thinking about writing, or going insane from writing she enjoys camping, fishing, swimming, and otherwise spending time with loved ones. She is mother to three extremely spoiled cats. Crazy cat lady? Probably.
You can find Joshua on the pages of Arid.
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