Snows came to Washington, DC, and they came intensely, year after year. In the beginning, the storms were greeted with joy and public gathering from the citizenry. Then the snows became more relentless, each winter bringing more feet of white powdery stuff, and more discomfort. The average snowfall in the winters 2020-2030 saw the steps to the Lincoln Monument covered; by the end of the winter of 2040, Lincoln himself was covered.
But DC always exhibited a lively citizenry that wasn’t interested in being beaten down by whatever forces attacked it, whether those forces be the U.S. Congress, bizarre mayoralty, gentrification, or senseless violence. Ever-alarming, increasing yearly yields of snow were not going to stop the District. In 2040, the year of the biggest, most Arctic Circle-ish snow yet, the city’s Go-Go scene and coterie of socially conscious rock groups held a giant, multi-stage, multi-day show–called “Make That Snow Go-Go”–that generated enough heat from enough people dancing that the snow and ice melted from the northernmost reaches of Georgia Ave, east to Capitol Heights, south down to the Wilson Bridge…and stopping a little bit west of Connecticut Avenue, for a bunch of Georgetownites complained about the noise.
When giant concerts couldn’t be organized, DC-ites shamed public officials into shoveling like mad. There was no end to the citizens’ ambitions to make their city livable. But alas, Congress demanded a permanent, privatized solution. The city tried to resist with peaceful protest, their one vote in the House of Representatives, and, eventually, Molotov Cocktails. But, as Newt noted to a journalist in the spring of 2041, “Nothing can stop the great freedom brought by privatization.”
“Not even a citizenry dead opposed to your privatized solution?” the journalist asked.
“Nothing,” Newt replied.
Newt was interviewed because word leaked that he was a consultant for one of the organizations that bid and eventually won the right to elevate the city on 500 foot stilts and manage everything that occurred above the stilts. The company installed a complex system of grating and heating systems below the grates, so that snow would fall through the “crust,” or “CrusDC” as the elevated city came to be known, and melt, falling as hot rain to the people living below. Consequently, the undercity–UnderDC, as it came to be known–became a hot, wet, sunless Hell. Newt lived on the crust.
Oil was found deep beneath the Potomac River, and Newt’s consulting firm also lobbied hard to make sure that drilling occurred there–which was convenient once the crust and stilts were erected, placing the people who wanted the drills far away from fiery eruptions, loud noises, and other unpleasant aspects of the Potomac Oil Company’s operations.
But snow kept falling, and winds continued blowing, threatening the Potomac Oil Company’s drilling, UnderDC, and CrusDC alike. It was February 9, 2087, and Newt had returned from Atlanta to oversee POC operations, launch a new campaign to fund education vouchers with petrodollars, and give a talk about his upcoming space trip at the American Enterprise Institute. But once he landed at the elevated Reagan National Airport, he got news of the upcoming blizzard, and had to cancel his plans. He took a cab, avoiding the Metro, as it was isolated to the Red Line and pulled by a mule these days.
Newt returned home to his condo, put down his bags, and slumped himself in a comfy chair. “Oh well,” he said, rubbing his hands through his hair. After leaning back into the chair, he looked down at his coffee table, where the new issue of the Spectator lay. Newt was on the front cover. He picked up the magazine and thumbed through until he hit the article about himself. The article’s title, spread across two pages in a spacey-looking typeface, read: “I WANT AMERICANS TO KNOW THE SECRETS OF THE MOON PEOPLE.” It continued:
Newt Gingrich is now going beyond the heights of Speakerdom, or his presidential run, at least in terms of vertical distance. In March 2087, Speaker Gingrich is going to the Moon. A devout advocate of private enterprise, he will sidestep NASA to travel with Mellon Interstellar Technologies of Pittsburgh, PA. But it’s not just stars and dust that Newt’s interested in. “I believe a trip to space will confirm not a few things that I have hypothesized in the last few decades,” Newt said.
Still being Newt, even at 143 years of age, he pulled out a flipchart, on which he had previously written. The first of the charts said “MOON MEN” at the top. “We all know that there has been a lunar colony for the last decade,” the Speaker continued, “and that it has thrived beyond anyone’s initial guess. I’ve spoken, at least over the phone, with a lot of these folks, and I’m pretty sure that their flinty, self-reliant perseverance–their safety-net free society, in which you live and die by what you can make out of the lunar dust–is exactly the kind of character type that the United States needs to replicate to avoid becoming a failed civilization.”
Newt lifted his eyes from the page and looked out a window. Snow, moving at maybe 70 miles per hour or so, obliterated all background. Newt kept reading.
Newt flipped to a new chart, reading “REDISCOVERING GOD IN SPACE.” Ever the professor, he peered down his glasses while speaking. “Scholars, religious people, everymen and Founding Fathers have found God in all sorts and manners of actions. I have too. And I’m excited to see the Creator’s hand in this mysterious satellite that gives us light at night and brings the tides.”
Newt’s apartment shook; it shook continuously and violently, like it was the plaything of an overgrown, sugar-addled toddler. After thirty seconds of angry vibration, Newt adjusted, calmed himself, and turned on the television. A wet-looking reporter stood in UnderDC next to the support of one of the stilts, yelling, “Whether through mere bad luck, incompetent construction, or who knows what, the stilt holding up Northwest Washington DC is teetering, shaking loose!” Newt widened his eyes and threw back his head in a single action, such was the reaction of a person facing simultaneous terror not just for one’s safety, but reputation. “But! I consulted on that!” he yelled to no one. Newt fell to his knees, watching the shaking stilt on television, the shaking apartment, the blizzard outside. He clasped his hands in prayer and muttered quickly, “Lord, if there’s any culpability on my part, I mean, I understand, I’m deeply, deeply sorry! It’s not a joke! I get it! Me, the people living on top, the people underneath this thing, I mean we’re all gonna suffer from whatever it is that I did to enrich–.” And then the shaking stopped. The man on the television hooted. “The Army Corps of Engineers stepped up with their rapid response Stilt-Repair Aircraft! Washington DC is saved!”
Newt breathed and closed his eyes enough to recover his senses. That done, he looked out his window to verify that the snow was the only thing moving in his line of sight. That verified, he grabbed his bags again, clicked here and there on his phone, and readied himself for a weather-resistant bullet train trip to Atlanta. DC wasn’t his home; it was just a place from which he ruled.