A History Lesson

Image from Strange Day Duluth on Instagram

This is day four in the #writingsprintchallenge offered by @tuftin.reads on Instagram. Today’s prompt is the image above. You should check out the account, Strange Day Duluth for some surreal posts. My entry is called A History Lesson. Read and see why.

“Class,” the teacher spoke with authority, “I’d like you to welcome our guest, renowned author, Mr. Huff. He is not only the author of some of your favorite books, but he was also a history teacher before becoming a writer. Please, give him a warm Tiger welcome!”

The class offered up a spattering of half-hearted claps and quickly grew silent. I looked over the class without speaking for a moment—pausing, as it were, for dramatic effect. Never mind that this was a virtual classroom and that I was in my PJs in my office on the 7th subfloor of the Houston Tower. Neither was the classroom real. The students were all tucked safely away in their homes. All of us were wearing our VR gear and the entire school, classroom and all, was a programming construct. It felt real.

“Thank you for having me today. And as much as I love talking about my books, Mx. Bradley has asked me to talk to you about history. I taught Texas history, once upon a time. Back then, Texas was a state in the United States of America. Of course, now it is the Republic of Texas, once again, I might add. Texas broke away from the US when the United States decided to absorb Canada and form the United States of North America. Texas had its own plans. They invaded Mexico, then Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and so on, until it stretched form the Red River to the border of Columbia.”

“All of that, of course, was before the rising,” a bright young students said, waving her arm overhead, but not waiting to be called upon.

“Correct! That was when Houston was a costal city. Now Austin is a coastal city, and Houston exists as one of the world’s first submerged cities—not dead and gone, like Galveston, Corpus Christi and so many, many more. Houston’s engineers began armoring their downtown structures from the ground up to and beyond the level to which they believed the sea would rise.”

The discussion went on for some time and devolved into fielding questions about my YA novels. I finally unplugged and pushed away from the console. I looked out my window, several meters below the sea level. A whale moved past, on its way to the surface for a breath. Life is good.

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