If you haven’t read chapter one, you can catch up here.
Chapter 2: Cause and Effect
Now I’m just part of the 160 million pounds of trash thrown away. Since most landfills are designed not to degrade because of the toxic chemicals that would leach into the water system, we won’t even get the sweet release of death.
I seem to be fading in and out of consciousness. The smell, oh the horrid reek is enough to make me nauseous. Every time I wake up I expect to be back home with my siblings or rescued, but here I still am. I turn my head and find something staring at me.
I groan, “What? What are you looking at?”
“Well, you were drooling and I was fascinated,” says the object.
“Ugh,” is my reply as I wipe the drool from my scoop.
“What are you anyway?” I ask the object who is still staring.
“Well, first I’m a who. My name is Fiona and I am an iphone,” she replies.
I had heard of those. Both Mark and Lucy had one, but they too had replaced theirs not too long ago. ‘Smart phones’ they had called them. I look at her from top to bottom. Nothing appeared to be physically wrong with her and she seemed smart enough.
“Why are you here?” I ask.
“Here talking to you? I really have no idea, you’re quite dull. Thanks for saving me the time of trying to figure how to point it out without being rude,” she replies and turns around to scoot away.
“No, I didn’t mean that. I’ll try to ignore the fact that you just called me dull though. I meant why are you in the landfill,” I reply.
“Oh. Sorry. Well, not really. You are dull, but I guess you can’t help that. I’m here for the same reason that everyone else is. I am an iphone 4 and the iphone 4s came out, so off I went. The only major differences between me and those created after me is they have a slightly better camera and video recorder and Siri. Siri is a freakin’ snob, but everyone seems to love it. Because of all these things that no one really needs I’m only an afterthought and I’ve been sent here to waste away in this mess where I will soon be leaching the toxins that people put inside me back into their water supply so they can drink it. Ironic right? For a year all I did was listen to my owner’s pathetic conversations about her stupid boyfriend, never even saying a word about how brainless she sounded. Siri seems to be a bit of a smart aleck. I wonder if she’s been able to hold her tongue,” she pauses to consider the idea. “Anyways, this is the reward I get for my own brainless servitude,” she spat bitterly.
“Yeah, well at least you got to be used for a little while. No one wanted to use me at all,” I retort.
She looks at me with her small black eye and there is a sense of sadness there now.
“Yeah, that does suck,” she says.
“That’s okay, I’m going to be rescued pretty soon and then I’ll be upcycled,” I reply with a sudden spark of hope.
She gives a burst of laughter, “Oh! You’re even more naïve than I was when I first got here.”
“What do you mean? There’s a whole group. Angus told me all about them. They are going to come and rescue me,” I exclaim.
Fiona laughs again, “There is somebody that you need to meet.”
I follow Fiona because I don’t know where to go and she leads me an even smaller pile on the island littered with broken bodies and hearts. It looks old, depressing and just down in the dumps like a hospice where people go to die. She stands in front of a block of Styrofoam.
“This is Polystyrene. We call her Polly for short,” she turns to Polly, “This is Dixie. He’s a newbie.”
Fiona lies down beside Polly and I sit down beside her. I look at Polly who is now looking at me with her lifeless eyes.
“Hello, Polly. It’s nice to meet you although under unfortunate circumstances,” I say.
“Yes, Dixie here believes that someone is going to rescue him,” she says trying to keep laughter out of her voice, “What do you think about that?”
For just a second there is a spark in Polly’s eyes. I guess somebody might as well benefit from my misery if it can’t be me.
“I think he is in for a rude awakening,” her voice cracked.
“I’ve been here for over fifty years and other than the people who dump more stuff on us, I haven’t seen one person even look our way,” she says, her voice raspy from years of breathing in toxins.
“You’ve been here for fifty years!?” I ask astounded by the very thought.
“Yes and I was made to last for at least one million or at most infinite. I have too far to go,” she says.
I cry, “One million years! How is that even possible?”
“Styrofoam is synthetic and there are no organisms that have enzymes to digest it, so we’re doomed to stay here for eternity. Plastic goes through photodegradation which means they need sunlight to decompose. Most trash gets buried either underneath the earth or underneath more trash, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable for me to say most plastic may never decompose. This goes for all plastic, but we’re all made up of many toxins and chemicals, so if we did decompose, we would end up leaking them into the ground water. Too bad we don’t, otherwise humans might actually get some pay back for what they’ve done. They need to be reminded that if there is a cause there is always an effect. Even here,” she says.
I am shocked to hear what she said. I’m plastic. If what she said is correct, then it means I’d be destined to stay in this wasteland forever. I don’t know how to accept that. Then I hear her say those horrible things about people.
“What do you mean? You don’t think they would rescue us if they knew we were here? I know they would,” I protest.
“Then you’re even more of an idiot then I could have thought. Of course they don’t care. They’re the ones who put us in here,” she says.
I am taken aback by her comment. I don’t think I’m an idiot. I think about Mark and Lucy. Would they care? I think so. They cared about their children, about their job, about money, and I think about each other, so why wouldn’t they care about me?
“Maybe they would if they knew what happened to us afterward…” I start.
“Save your breath kid, your optimism is making me cranky,” she says.
I stop, shocked by her attitude. She is still waving me, so I guess it’s time for me to go. I turn away from the sad sight of the defeated items and make my way back to my living space. I don’t know what happened to Fiona or when I realized she wasn’t with me.
A couple of weeks have gone by. I haven’t heard from Fiona. All I have done is sit, think and watch Angus rot. It’s horrible and I’m depressed because I don’t know what to do. The idea that maybe nobody really cares about what they’ve done to me or to the friends I’ve made here is one I don’t want to believe. I don’t know what to do, but giving up is not an option. For the meantime, I sit here with my friend Angus while he suffers an unwarranted death that was not meant to be. My only hope is that someday someone will do the same for me if I need them to.
Birds chirp, the roar of trash trucks is enough to awake me with a jerk. The sky is cloudy, dreary and overly depressing. I turn to check on Angus and see that birds have taken huge chunks out of him. I scramble and slap his face trying to see if he would wake up. I hear a weak groan. It’s a disappointment almost because I know how much pain he must be in.
“Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help?” I ask frantically.
“Please, please just put me out of my misery,” he croaks.
I held his hand, “You know I can’t do that. I could cut you up into tiny pieces and you wouldn’t be any more dead then you are now.”
“If you cut me up into tiny pieces then each smaller piece will decompose faster than this large piece. I can’t…” he stops with a wince, “It’s too much. You have to do something.”
“I can’t. All I can I do is stay with you. You know I’m not strong enough,” I plead.
His silence is more disheartening than his complaining. My only hope is that death will come and save him soon.