Final Notice - E. D. James

He’d picked the lot after years of research and felt confident it would be the perfect location to take advantage of the rising seas. The land had been incredibly cheap thirty years ago, which was good, because, as a twenty year old programmer he couldn’t afford much. A little knob of serpentine sticking up from the edge of the farmland that sloped up from the bay. Worthless as farmland and a poor site for a house back then. He’d stuck an old airstream trailer on it that he’d bought from an aging hippy in Petaluma and used the property as a sort of retreat from his life in the high tech world of San Francisco. Back then he was sure that for once he’d made an investment that would pay off. Not today, not even next year, but decades in the future. Right when he would need.

On his forty-fifth birthday he held a big party on the property. He’d felt like a king as he watched his friends enjoying the views of the bay, the dock he’d put in at the foot of the hill, and the speed boat tied to the dock that he’d bought with a home equity line that barely tapped the equity in the property. He was sure that he had made it. That life would be good from here on out. The struggles were over. A little voice whispered in his ear that day after the third shot of tequila. The little voice said, “sell it now, the water is still rising.” He was sure it was merely the fruit of the mescal talking. The predictions he believed in said another ten feet. That was it. The water would come no higher. It was only the wackos that were yelling that there was another fifty feet to go. Those doomsayers had always gotten it wrong.

Now he stood with the water lapping at the wheels of his trailer holding the final notice to vacate in his hand. Like the farmers down the hill, his property was now worthless and he was bankrupt. That credit line had run out.