Jul. 14th, 2011

Severance

Jul. 14th, 2011 09:02 pm
When it starts, people think it's an earthquake. The ground shudders and buildings shake; water mains shear off as jagged cracks appear in pavement. It is early morning in California, and everybody asks themselves: is this the big one?

But this is no natural phenomenon. Only man could produce such a razor-sharp faultline, running straight as an arrow from Markleeville to Needles along the Nevada border. There's nothing normal about the Colorado River suddenly draining into the ground as a huge rift develops clear down to Yuma. And no tectonic action could cause the entire border with Mexico to slice itself clean away, the Baja Peninsula spinning away into the Pacific Ocean. This cleavage in the earth on such a grand scale can only be manmade, since it follows the borders of man's devising.

But it's within the state's interior that fine divisions become important. Seal Beach and Long Beach part ways, the San Gabriel River unzipping hastily as if Los Angeles suddenly needs to pee. Pomona and Claremont say goodbye and good riddance to San Bernardino County. A chasm opens in the canyons above Soda Lake, and the 5 jackknifes west of Fresno. Snow tumbles from the mountain passes as Yosemite Park and Mono Lake cleave apart. California tears itself apart.

Californians stare, dumbfounded, as their state fractures. Or, rather, Californians north and west of the fault line stare; those living south and east are too busy to stop their work. They dig furiously in the trench between the two halves of California, and work to lever open the gap with long poles, and blast with dynamite where necessary to tear loose the recalcitrant connections. Those who are not working are dancing for joy.

"South California!" they shout deliriously. "Make for the high seas, lads! We shall be FREE!"

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