Jake Haggmark.


The streets are empty but the sewers are bustling. It's been 400 nights now and the stockpiles are dwindling. The constant flow from generations before are only a bleak memory in the elder's stories. The weak are long gone. Only the resourceful have survived the initial phase. We had no limits. The world was ours, no traps, poisons, or brooms to stop us. We exploded at first. Our learning curve out paced the cats, dogs, and other mammals.

Our greed soon backfired. Resource mines dried up. The givers were gone. We thought they were pests but they turned out to be the providers. They generated our piles of food and shelter. It was all handed to us. It was just there. We didn't have to do any work, but with the givers gone we had to evolve and evolve we did. With the weak and dumb perishing through the first phase we were poised for proliferation with the coming of the bamboo fruit. Our numbers will quadruple.


I spend most of my time in our fields, working the land. There are many ancient ruins around our property. No one is quite sure where they came from, some say aliens, others say it was a prehistoric beast. One thing is for sure, we didn’t create them. The shapes are too boxy with pointed roofs and the material choices are strange. They got the base right with stones and concrete, but the top half in wood doesn’t make any sense. Anyone could chew right through it. I don’t know what keeps me coming back, I guess I find comfort in the mystery. Next month I’ll have some time to explore. Because of the bamboo flowering, no one will need our rice for a few weeks. My grandfather tells tales of the coming flowering. For 48 years we’ve waited. The bamboo produces more fruit than we can consume and will support four new generations. Although we grow enough rice and wheat, there’s something special about the harvest. Maybe it’s the flavor or how long we wait. Many of our brightest minds have attempted to accelerate the fruit production, but always fail. The cycle is unaffected by temperature, precipitation, soil, and everything else. The entire globe will celebrate this month as we poise to make another leap forward. For the holiday I’m going to one of our oldest and largest cities There are more impressive ruins in the cities. Most of our ancestors came from there. I’m not sure how they survived in them, there is nothing to eat. We moved out to the prairie to produce food. Many of the elders tell stories of how food used to appear in the cities. No one had to work and life was good. There is so much to be learned from the history of our largest cities.


This is my proudest moment every week. I come here with my whole pack. All my kittens fill the entire pew. I’m not sure they understand why we come here, but they’ll learn. We must praise the Za. Show our thanks. That’s why we built this place. It’s based on our elders books and stories. At the center is a statue of the Za. It symbolically points downward to connect the great Givers to our earth. The elders tell tales of eating the Za as a metaphor for how it has saved us and became part of us. Our church encloses the Za. Protecting and storing it under the earth's crust for our whole colony to share. There are multiple entries on the sides. Allowing equal access for all. The entries immediately drop, allowing us to recognize our subservience to the powerful Za. The open air oculus reminds us of the dangers our ancestors faced above. There were so many strange prehistoric beasts. Although we are at the top of the food chain, we praise the Za to continue our peaceful and plentiful life.


Oh Gosh, where do I start. You’re going to love my section of the colony. I’m the President of our Neighborhood Association. This is the perfect neighborhood for you and for everyone really. We have plenty of places to hide as you walk around. The neighborhood is a real maze. And you’re going to love grocery shopping at Budwey’s. They have the freshest bamboo fruit. You won’t find a nest here you don’t like. Everything is solid concrete with few windows. And don’t worry about ventilation. All the towers are supplied directly with underground air to keep things moist and smelling right. And there are plenty of Nest Depot’s nearby to get all the stuffing and straw you need to soften up the interior. You have to get the new fleece cover for your couch, it’s all the rage. And maroon is this year’s color. The parks! I almost forgot. Everyone here is in great shape. There are wheels scattered around the neighborhood so everyone can get a few revolutions in every day. I know you’re going to love it. Everything is very dark and historic.


Yeah, I know this city like the back of my hand. I can get from the 43rd tube down to the lower ward in under 10 minutes. My best driver can only do it in 17. That’s why I run this company now. Sure, I remember when I first started. Hell I even miss it sometimes. When I was young I delivered on foot. Before long I was doubling the cargo of everyone else. I owe it to two things; the massive infrastructure network in this city and my knowledge of its dynamic flows. The infrastructure here is a tangled mess. Years of practice aren’t even enough to digest it all. There are risers, tanks, vent stacks and stack vents, downspouts, Y’s, T’s and elbows. The tubes offer no orientation, they’re disconnected from everything outside. In the early days every deliverer developed his own markings to help him navigate. But I developed a better system, cataloged their symbols, and integrated it to my phone. You don’t want to get caught going against the flow at the flush of rush hour. But don’t worry kid, stick with me and you’ll learn to appreciate this mess.

Team: Jake Haggmark
Year: 2015