It was February 1, 2009 when the ocean flipped upside-down and covered the sky from one pole to the other.
Arturo Sandoval was one of the lucky few not quite dozing on the beach at 3:45 a.m. on the money, PST. He said later, "Better than the movies."
Of course, farmers at first thought it a cloudy, thunderous morning. Soon, all planes were immediately grounded (at least those not already grounded accidentally) with more than a few nods to the newly meaningful term "airship."
Cell phones, European TVs, and communications with satellites both commercial and secret went out. Luckily, many television signals in America survived, causing Time Warner to dole out a slew of congratulatory layoffs. In fact, so utterly was proof of the far out sky gone many wondered if, rather than the ocean become the sky, the earth had not flipped inside-out instead.
With Valentine's Day not two weeks away, many the romantic's plans seemed put on hold indefinitely without the twinkling stars under which to whisper sweet nothings. The more adaptable soon realized, however, that a sunset seen glowing through the diamond shaped crisscrossings one sees at the bottom of the pool would be more than sweet-nothings-worthy.
This same bottom-of-the-pool sensation gave more than one careful mother pause regarding what times their beloved children were now allowed to eat, simply out of reflex.
After several days, the sense of wonderment at the new sea sky passed. People got on with their daily lives as best the could. The sailors went back to school. The Coast Guard reintegrated. The satellites connections were fixed and everyone decided the moon wasn't all that great anyway. Oh, it rained more, which was good for some and bad for others. Most of Africa rejoiced, most of New Orleans just gave up and left. The Netherlands, somehow, persisted.
The legal troubles soon set in. The former oceans had been international, so when J. Arthur Murray made the first claim to purchase a significant portion of the Marianas Trench and half the former Indian, well, the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan.
With two-thirds of the planet now suddenly viable real estate, a land war ensued to rival even the Falkland War of the late 1900s. While some stragglers had taken the plunge to their deaths (mostly seagulls and goldfish) the marine biosphere had done a pretty bang up job of picking up and skedaddling up to the sky with the rest of the water. The cleanup was minimal. Add to that the legends of buried treasure or the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle and prices skyrocketed.
The whole affair got so messy a large auction was finally held by several major world powers at the base of the Tonga Trench known as Horizon Deep. A larger conglomeration of the affluent, wealthy, and just plain filthy rich had never before been seen. Sultans showed up in caravans. A makeshift landing strip was double parked with private jets, some of which had not officially been invented yet. The smell of cigar smoke hung heavy in the humid, miles-below-former-sea-level air.
Most of the normal world was watching on their fiber optically connected television sets when, on Friday, February 13 at 3:45 p.m. on the money PST, the ocean fell back to the earth and crushed every last one of them at the bottom of the sea. Most of the world had forgotten how nice the moon looked at its fullest, and the following night the lovers sighed beneath the twinkling stars and made love.
Arturo Sandoval, his biggest worries now gone forever, sat on the beach and took the hand of his girlfriend, Isabel. Into her ear he whispered, "Best Valentine's Day ever."