An original short by Mary C. Shyne.

Coming up on our left is the island the ancients called Manhattan. Try to imagine five million people covering this island. There were double that during a period they called a workday, a space of time that occupied most inhabitants’ waking hours.

This mass congregation was made possible by vertical shelter units called skyscrapers that stretched thousands of feet into the air. Although the area was home to many airports, facilities for aerial transportation vessels, careful planning ensured navigation around these towering obstacles. Those of you taking the Manhattan Up Close Tour today will be able to explore the impressive support structure still remaining from what historians believe to be the island’s most iconic skyscraper, the Chrysler Building.

Despite the culturally competitive nature between Manhattan residents and residents of surrounding islands, which often resulted in scathing editorials in a daily communication called The New York Times, the latter would commit a ritual called a commute early in the morning for their workday. According to recovered records, this commute was an exercise in claustrophobia, coffee spills, and unpleasant odors.

While some brave residents made their commute on manmade roads via oil-powered machines called automobiles, the vast majority of residents took an underground rail system called the subway. In addition to being one of the most efficient and affordable methods of mass transit in ancient history, the subway was home to a thriving community of brown rats, schizophrenics, and failed musicians.

Non-residents Manhattan workers would commit the commute daily, except for two consecutive days of rest called weekends, reserved for drinking a disorienting, recreational beverage called alcohol and eating an abundant meal called brunch designed to counteract the dehydrating effects of consuming alcohol. The weekends of the average Manhattanite and residents of surrounding islands could be compared to the opulence enjoyed in Roman courts, including music arcades with vomiting, drug use, and drunken binge eating at a restaurant that served food of no nutritional value, known as Kennedy Fried Chicken.

You may have learned of something called churchgoing that occurred on the mainland of this continent on the second day of the weekend. In general, residents of this area were not churchgoers. Ancient religious texts are quick to attribute residents’ godlessness with the city’s downfall, drawing parallels to even older cities, like Rome or Babylon. However, archaeologists have failed to find any evidence of a massive natural disaster or internal structural collapse.

Instead, historians believe Manhattan’s decline coincided with the decline of the federation under which it was governed, the United Empire of America. Around the two-hundred and fiftieth year of the federation’s existence, a massive volcano of oil erupted along its southern coast. Tides and currents carried the oil around the federation’s southeast peninsula to its eastern shores, effectively squashing the country’s commercial ports and forcing evacuation due to air toxicity.

There is debate among historians if this same eruption was responsible for the massive extinction event of that cosmopolitan species, Homo sapiens, worldwide, or if it was the fall-out of Nuclear World War Three. We are very optimistic that further undersea excavations will unveil intriguing answers.

I will now take questions from the group.

More of Mary’s writing can be found on her Tumblr page.