My name’s James Duffy, but everybody calls me Jimmy. I’m eight and a half. I go to school, and I like drawing pictures of rockets and skyscrapers, and playing videogames with my friends. My parents both work. Mom’s a teacher and Daddy works at the battery factory across town. We stay inside mostly, but when the weather’s real good, I go with my friends down to where the old road ends, and we throw rocks into the waves until our arms hurt.
If it’s extra nice out, we take a picnic lunch up to Hunter Hill. That’s the place in town with the best view. Mom says when she was a kid, you could see all the way to the mountains, and if the wind’s blowing real hard, and all the smoke from the fires out west gets pushed out to sea, I squint and can almost see them, blue giants in the distance. The wind whistles through the grass and I pretend it’s the birds come back to sing.
Today, Daddy’s driving me to the hospital to meet my new sister. I don’t know what her name’s gonna be yet. Daddy won’t tell me, and last time I saw Mom, a few days ago, before she started yelling all loud and Daddy said she needed to go push the baby out, when I asked her about it, Mom just said I’d find out when I meet her. So, now I will.
I’m super excited. I only know a few other kids who have a brother or a sister except for a coupla older kids who got theirs before “population stabilization” happened. We learned those big words in school. They mean the planet got tired, so people needed to stop having babies for a while. I raised my hand and asked teacher if we were gonna be stabilizing forever and she looked kinda sad and said she hoped not. I hope not too.
I think Katie would be a nice name. I tell Daddy and he smiles at me in the mirror. Outside, the ash is falling like snow.