En Route to the Diddy-Wah-Diddy Landfill While the Dogwoods Were in Bloom
In this re-telling of an old Florida myth about a hard-to-find town where there is an endless supply of free food, it’s important to clean up your plate like mama told you to do.
Copyright © 2017 by Malcolm R. Campbell
“Tsk Tsk, Peter, you didn’t clean up your plate.”
“I intended to.”
“Sometimes our intentions eclipse reality,” said Rocky. “What that means now is that you will place the refuse of your meal into this DWD doggy bag and dump it into the landfill.”
Peter filled the bag and walked out the door. Mary and John went to the window to watch. They saw him thread his way amongst the white dogwood trees, small fountains, and park benches. At the edge of the hill, he paused, perhaps for a prayer or a rest or to count the number of steps to Amazing Grace. She wondered if he counted 72 of them before he charged ahead like a boxer in training for the fight of his life. She sighed and grabbed John’s hand.
Hand in hand, they saw him stumble to the top, stagger, and reach out to the marble angel before he lost his balance and fell behind the hill.
“Rocky, he’s fallen,” shouted Mary.
“Come with me,” said Rocky. He led them to a golf cart, switched on a siren and a blue light and, via a service road, tore up the hill. He parked next to a small sign that said “Landfill Deposits – No Returns.”
Mary looked over the edge where Peter fell. She didn’t see him there, not at first, for the landfill was in fact an enormous sinkhole, collapsed years ago by the look of its smooth, well-weathered sides that extended downward to hell and beyond.
“My condolences, ma’am,” said Rocky.
“There he is,” shouted John, “lying on top of those plastic doggy bags.”
“He’s not moving. Please get him out of there,” said Mary, grabbing Rocky’s right arm.
“Those doggy bags aren’t biodegradable,” said John. “Don’t know why you people haven’t banned them.”
“Wait here,” said Rocky. “Keep an eye on his location.”
He sped away in the golf cart.
Moon Regulator arrived.
“My husband has heart trouble. He never should have run up these steps,” Mary told him. She had been crying ever since John mentioned that the bags would be there forever, that is, longer than Peter.
“He could have walked and rested and walked and rested, or this young man could have carried the leftover burritos and tacos in his place,” said Moon Regulator.
“He had too much pride for that,” said Mary.
“Pride goes before the landfill,” said Moon Regulator.
Rocky returned on an ancient tractor with a cable and winch in front. He put on a harness and walked down the walls as Moon Regulator slowly played out the cable. By the time Rocky reached the plastic bags, Peter was no longer visible. Rocky looked up and shrugged, but when John pointed to the last place his father had been seen, Rocky tossed the white bags this way and that in a frenzy, but to no avail.
Back on the surface, he said, “The landfill has no bottom. That’s why it never turned into a lake. The world beneath it is crisscrossed by underground rivers and huge caverns. Quite possibly he was carried away or found a cave and is looking for another way out. Pray for him.”