Enveloping, oozing its way around the city, heat spreads its way past 40° and floods the 42° level marker, the peak surge levelling off amongst the shade. Pigs favourite wallowing holes dry up under the pressure of the sear and cutting sun, they bad-temperedly argue and snap over the diminishing patch of cooling and protecting, stinking and rotten, black, effluent-ridden mud. Their chosen litter-strewn patch of slop, yards from a school for slum children, across from the little tin shacks called homes, shoehorned between factories, whose uncaring strive for profit give little thought for their badly kept, broken sewage pipes spewing its discharge into the street. A treat for pigs, the cess patch becomes an excuse for slum-dwelling litter pickers to dump their discard, squat-noses normally shovelling and flipping the rubbish now only part the mud for respite, dark and slimy, factor 100 sun-block.
In a district nearby, affluence oozes around in new cars, large houses squat in the heat, wallowing in air, cooled by evaporating-water cooling systems. Black, plastic, thousand-litre water tanks sit atop each home, filled twice daily as the water system delivers its hour-long allowance of water, when local pumping stations turn on their allotted time. With the heat striving for more and more purchase, super-heating rock, brick, concrete and tarmac, shade becomes sanctuary only for hotter winds to blast through. Respite found inside well-healed homes, coolers running, showers flowing, fridges full of water bottles.
Only this time the promised allotment of water comes as a trickle, the pumping station, barely looking like it could maintain the job anyway, can do little with the meagre flow it is given. Water pressure at a minimum, tanks barely rise in levels before it is switched off again. No matter, the water will come later…oh well, the water will come tomorrow…hey, it will be fine, it should come later…oh dear, it must come tomorrow…god, I hope it comes later. Four days go by with no more than the trickle, tanks empty, taps dry up, showers become a bucket of saved water, coolers’ pumps overheat and break from pumping air not the cooling water, toilets not flushing become an olfactory avoidance. Then with relief the surge comes, tanks fill to warning-bleep levels and once again all is fine, life carries on as before.
The great leveller, the common thread whose waft is woven through rich, poor, human, animal, all bow down to the aqua-god, Water.