We used to be in cattle. The Triple-W ranch on the Pacific coast, set up by my great great great great grandfather, lasted for a hundred years before the final tsunami. The gigantic wave destroyed everything, washed away all my great great grandfather’s steers and polluted the land with sea water. In a stroke of genius, he switched to fish farming.

In little more than two generations after that, the great drought struck, and my grandfather was forced to get out of fish farming. He switched to ostriches. The drought continued and spread. Large tracts of land became unusable and our family ranch expanded. Soon, with 150,000 acres, and 200 ostriches to the acre, we were supplying ostrich meat to the entire globe. My grandfather added camels to the mix and the business flourished.

But that didn’t last long either. The drought became so severe that even the ostriches and camels couldn’t survive. In 2199, just before the millennium, my father sold all his animals and most of the land and started a farm with 50,000 hens in a single building. Hens are adaptable; they can be housed in large numbers and need very little fresh water. Their eggs are a staple food supply for all of humanity.

Triple-W Organic Eggs have been in full production for over thirty years, so you will understand my despair now that I have to close it down. Perhaps we could have survived the devastating years of heatwave if we had installed a more expensive air conditioning system, or if we had reduced the number of hens in the enclosure. One thing is certain: we should never have used corrugated Iron for the roof of the enclosure. There’s not much demand these days for organic hard boiled eggs.

(C) Copyright JJ Toner