How to Vanish Forever
by Michael Lawrence
Many centuries ago, a small village of animals lived in a place not too far from where you live today. They were a fruitful group. They grew perfect crops and they always produced a surplus. They were an advanced race of animals too, and they spent a lot of their time making works of art. Unfortunately, they were also very wasteful. They made many useless items that would only end up in the garbage can. As a result, a large pile of smelly trash formed in the center of the village. Not one member of the town could stand to walk the streets of the village without having to pinch their noses shut. Regardless of these awful conditions, it still took a long time for the villagers to change their act. It didn't happen easily.
Mr. Duck awoke from his nest on the riverside when he noticed several large trees moving inside the river. They were standing upright and they were circling around in a spiral. They began to spin faster and faster until they sank into the river and disappeared. Mr. Duck scratched his green, feathery head in astonishment. He pinched his nose shut and he carefully inched toward the site, making sure that his webbed feet didn't disturb anything. He didn't want anything else out-of-the-ordinary to occur.
When he finally reached it, he saw a large whirlpool where the trees had disappeared. This whirlpool was next to the bank, so Mr. Duck was careful not to accidentally fall in himself. He looked inquisitively at it for a long time, pondering its existence. He picked up a large armful of leaves and lodged it in. Every single leaf went down into the whirlpool and it vanished without a trace. Mr. Duck studied this phenomenon further. He decided that he must tell his friends about it.
Mr. Duck hurriedly flapped his wings through the village. He approached his best friend, Ms. Frog. She was painting a picture on an easel. She held a paintbrush in one hand and pinched her nose with the other.
"Ms. Frog, Ms. Frog," Mr. Duck exclaimed. "You won't believe what I just saw!"
"What is it?" Ms. Frog said, still pinching her nose.
"There's this huge whirlpool right outside my nest!" Mr. Duck said. He was excited.
"Really?" Ms. Frog asked in an interested tone. "May I see it?"
"Sure! I saw a several large trees go down it," the duck said.
"Trees?" Ms. Frog asked. She could hardly believe it. She removed her hand from her nose.
"It happened just this morning," Mr. Duck said. "Let's go!" Ms. Frog left her work and followed Mr. Duck to the giant whirlpool.
When they arrived, Ms. Frog gave a long, blank stare at the whirlpool for quite a while when she threw in an armload of leaves. The whirlpool ate the leaves as if it were a tasty piece of pie.
"I don't know what to make of this," said Ms. Frog, pinching her nose again. "I think we should show it to Mr. Wolf." Mr. Duck and Ms. Frog went back to the village to tell Mr. Wolf of their discovery.
When Mr. Duck and Ms. Frog explained this magnificent phenomenon, Mr. Wolf wanted to see if for himself. He walked over to the river while pinching his nose. He stared at that whirlpool and was almost completely hypnotized by it. He slowly removed his hand from his nose and gazed at the whirlpool's center. After several moments, he threw in a hefty armload of leaves and watched it twirl down the whirlpool.
"You know what?" Mr. Wolf said. Ms. Frog and Mr. Duck leaned over closer to listen. "This is the answer to our garbage problems." Mr. Duck and Ms. Frog looked at each other with slightly puzzled expressions on their faces.
"What?" Ms. Frog asked, hinting a slight laugh in her voice.
"If we throw all our trash into this whirlpool, it can no longer stink up our village!"
"Oh!" Ms. Frog happily exclaimed. "Do you really think so?"
"What'll happen if it gets full?" asked Mr. Duck. Mr. Wolf pondered this question only for the slightest moment.
"Beats me!" said Mr. Wolf. "Let's not worry about that now. We need to begin as soon as possible! If I have to smell this horrible stench any longer, I swear I'll leave this town!"
Mr. Wolf gathered four of his wolf friends to help transport some of the village's waste to the whirlpool. Mrs. Owl, peering out of her tree house window, noticed the wolves' activity and stopped to question their motives. She sternly approached Mr. Wolf.
"Where are you going with that trash?" Mrs. Owl asked while pinching her nose.
"We're going to get rid of it where no one will ever have to smell it again," Mr. Wolf replied. Mrs. Owl automatically turned suspicious; Mr. Wolf is known in this village for his silly tricks.
"How will you accomplish that?" inquired Mrs. Owl. Mr. Wolf took a deep breath as he prepared to give Mrs. Owl the story.
"Earlier this morning, Mr. Duck and Ms. Frog discovered a spot in the river that swallows everything that it comes into contact with," explained Mr. Wolf. "We're going to throw the trash from the center of town so that we don't always have to smell it everywhere we go." Mrs. Owl looked mightily interested.
"Oh yeah?" Mrs. Owl asked. "Where is this place?" Mr. Wolf motioned for Mrs. Owl to follow him. The five wolves and the owl headed toward the whirlpool.
In all of Mrs. Owl's life, she never saw anything remotely remarkable as this phenomenon. She picked up a pile of leaves and tossed it into the whirlpool, staring at it until it completely disappeared.
"It is amazing," stated Mrs. Owl, still with her nose pinched shut. "But we had better not throw all our garbage in there."
Mr. Wolf looked shocked. "Why not?"
"Well, it must go somewhere," Mrs. Owl said. "Nothing can just vanish." Mr. Wolf briskly stepped in front of Mrs. Owl.
"But it is vanishing!" said Mr. Wolf as he threw in his load of trash followed by his wolf friends. They had briskly turned around to refill their load.
Back in the village, Ms. Frog was spreading the news of this new marvel. A crowd of twenty, which was about the entire village, formed around the whirlpool, all with their noses pinched. They threw unimportant objects into it and intensely watched them spiral to the center until they disappeared. The crowd was blocking the wolves from disposing of their trash, so Mr. Wolf persuaded them to help. Mrs. Owl and Mr. Duck each had their doubts about the scheme, however. Mrs. Owl was so concerned that she confronted Mr. Wolf a second time.
"This isn't right, Wolf," said Mrs. Owl. "Our trash cannot magically disappear into one little drain-it must lead somewhere. You must stop throwing trash into the whirlpool immediately." Mrs. Owl paused for a short second. "If this village really wanted to get rid of its trash, we would have stopped making it a long time ago. Every easy thing in life has a downside to it, and I'm afraid this one is going to be detrimental." Mr. Wolf yawned and stared at his feet. Mrs. Owl turned red with anger at Mr. Wolf's inattentiveness and screamed one last sentence at him. "By George, look at reason!" The wolf slanted back his pointy ears. He was offended. He took a deep breath to prepare his comeback. All the villagers grew silent so that they could listen to them.
"No, you look at reason Mrs. Owl," yelled Mr. Wolf "Our village smells, and we are sick of it! Let's end it right now!" Mr. Wolf received several congested 'yeahs' from the crowd. He continued, "After years and years of having to smell this trash, we have finally found a way to fix it!" Mr. Wolf yelled. "All we have to do is just dump our trash down a whirlpool-just one little whirlpool-and our problems will disappear forever! We have the solution-it beckons us-so, we should act now before it's gone!" Mr. Wolf then started shaking his index finger in the air. "And when all of our trash is gone, we will never have to hold our noses in this town anymore! We can live in that sweet-smelling village that we have lost since our childhood! Let us throw our trash into the whirlpool where it will vanish forever!"
An earsplitting cheer came from the crowd and the animals began to chant "No more trash! No more trash!" With their armfuls of garbage, they continued toward the whirlpool. Mrs. Owl sadly shook her head. Mr. Duck, who hasn't yet taken a side, sat under a tree and watched.
In a remarkably short period of time, the whole dump was emptied into the whirlpool. They happily rubbed their hands together. The community already noticed that the town's air had significantly improved. Mr. Duck spent much of the evening admiring a mushroom, that he just realized had a scent. The day was late and the town's villagers went back to their homes and went to bed.
Mr. Duck woke up early the next morning. The ground was shaking, and he heard a very loud gurgling noise outside his nest. He was scared. He flapped his wings outside and realized that the whirlpool was making that sound.
He slowly inched toward the whirlpool and looked inside. He saw some pieces of trash coming outside of the whirlpool. Suddenly, the ground beneath him began to tremble violently and the gurgling noise was much louder. Frightened, Mr. Duck flapped his wings and quickly flew away.
Pretty soon, there was a big explosion, and it sent a large column of smelly trash into the sky. Like rain, the garbage began to patter upon the villagers' roofs. The rest of the villagers woke up.
As each member of the community peeked out their window, seeing the scattered pieces of trash in their yards and in the street, they felt ashamed. They should have listened to Mrs. Owl. Without saying a word or exchanging a look, they stepped out of their houses to gather the garbage they thought had vanished forever.