Across the scorching sky, Ernest Baron was flying on his X-11 jet hoverboard, headed to the Balamban Zone, where he’d been assigned to oversee. Below him spread miles of drylands and parched-brown hills.

He checked with his U-GPS watch monitor and descended. He spotted the small patch of green, where Barangay Bayong was. Upon landing, his hoverboard coughed, hissed, let out a cloud of steam.

“Fold,” Ernest commanded his hoverboard. When it didn’t, he kicked it; the machine beeped, folded itself small enough to be carried by hand. He was taking off his helmet when the residents came to greet him.

The vicious beating of the sun and the hot wind had cracked their skin and cooked their clothes stiff. Pairs of red eyes loomed from under their sombreros. They were all smiling at Ernest. They shook his gloved hands, embraced him, thanked him for helping them grow their trees, plants, and crops again.

“My pleasure, glad things are going well,” said Ernest, adding they should take good care of the water system. “After that, we can start raising chickens and rabbits.” He waved them good luck as they headed down their farms.

The nipa hut classroom sat at the foothill. As he entered the hut, around thirty children boomed: “Good morning, Teacher Ernest! How are you today?”

“I’m fine, thank you!” He sat at the desk in front. “Anyone want to tell me what day it is?”

The class answered altogether: “Today’s Monday, June 6, 2077!”

“Correct! Ready for a quiz! Each question is worth five points, and”—raising his folded hoverboard—“a free ride to who gets all the right answers…shh! Everybody will have their chance! Don’t worry!” From his watch launched a hologram. Ernest began calling:

“Juan Adlawon, what’s the capital of the country?”

“Cebu, sir!” shouted the child in the front row.

“Correct!” Then: “Clara Campado, how many islands are there in the Philippines?”

A child from the back row shouted, “4,565 islands, sir!”

He smiled at the giggling children and went on with the quiz…

Ernest felt it was a good day. He stepped on his hoverboard to report back to Cebu HQ and waved goodbye to the residents. Soaring in the late afternoon sky, he could see the climbing waters crashing wildly against the coastline. He picked up speed and his hoverboard shrieked, leaving a long trail of black smoke in the sky.

Nicolo Nasol, born and raised in Cebu City, currently working as a freelance writer and editor.

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