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Green People are Good

Smart Lettie believes in being green, but her hoarding takes her to a new level

Green People Are Good by Carol Sumilas Boshears



It was getting late and Lettie was rushing home to put her “things" to bed for the night. Other people may put their children to bed, but Lettie’s children were something different than other peoples. They were her very important objects and miscellaneous stuff she had picked up during the day while she worked and took a stroll at lunchtime. Her varied possessions were paper cups, leftover peanuts in the shell that a pigeon didn’t get to first, some of the usual items like paper clips, scraps of paper from her mistakes thrown out and a shiny beret that she picked up from the bathroom floor. These were her prized objects that couldn’t be thrown away. After all, as she told herself and others. she was a green person, a person that believed in recycling and saving the planet for future generations.

Lettie had been saving many things since she had graduated college, which was fifteen years ago. She was medium height, had strawberry blonde hair that was darkening with age and usually pulled back into a ponytail. She sported plastic glass frames that were popular in the 50s. She had married once, but was widowed only a few years later. It was then she vowed to devote her life to her avocation and educating people in the matter of living the green way. She did volunteer work with an environmental group. Naturally, her favorite color was green. She wore a lot of it for work, but always for “play”, and her play being the green work she was so devoted to. The Gaia theory was no plain theory or only a word to her. It was a stark reality that the earth was in the throes of fighting back and eventually would vanquish man.

She had a one-car garage with a two-car stash of her “savings”. Her house was almost filled, but she did leave a little leeway for her cooking and sleeping. It was kind of an orderly mess. She used to have a pet cat named Mr. Twiggles, but he ran away from home one day. Her neighbors said he probably ran away because he couldn’t find his litter box. To this day Lettie has his box somewhere. It does contain bio-degradables she told her next-door neighbor. Lettie might have been a little lame in her noodle, but most of her neighbors found her to be funny and personable. She always had ice cream for the kids in the summer and filled their bags with treats at Halloween. The empty bags from those candies were always kept for recycling though.

One day she was in her yard raking leaves. She would have placed them all in her garage, but they were put to good use as her compost heap and mulch for her bushes and flowers. While raking she heard a strange noise like someone trying to breathe. She turned in every direction and looked. No one else was outside at the time. She then surmised it might have been the soft wind that was blowing. She found no other litter in her yard because she had picked it pretty clean the last two times she raked. From the corner of her eye she thought she saw something darting between the houses. She swore that it was Mr.Twiggles spying on her and taunting her. She looked again and it was just good old Mr. Squirrel grabbing some seeds and running away.

A number of years ago she went to a doctor about her habits wondering if maybe she was
going too far with this recycling bit. Her family and friends told her they were concerned. The truth was they were embarrassed about her hobby. The doctor told her he believed she had OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). She became flustered and furious at this indignation. She rejected the idea of her having a mental disorder that compelled her to save any object she got into her hands. She tried to explain to him that she was a very avid green person that figured one day there would be a need and a way to recycle all that she had saved, for the well being of dear Mother Earth. In fact, when her family tried to convince her he was right, she distanced herself from them and saw them only on holidays. Christmas was something special, so she made an exception for this.

She was functional at work with the saving staying at a minimum. In fact, she was considered exceptional in her field. She had to focus on her work as that was of the utmost importance to her. She was an eco-biologist, a career very fitting to her nature.

You see, with all the years she studied bio-eco matters of an urgent nature, combined with her knowledge of the misuse of energy that was destroying the environment, it was natural for her to think of herself as a person only helping her planet. It was her passion. When this idea and OCD collided, there was a war. Lettie won out as the greener the better person and OCD got dropped by the wayside. It was one piece she wasn’t about to pick up. Her one close friend, Anna Belle, wouldn’t disagree with her opinion, mainly because she didn’t want to hurt or anger Lettie. Anna Belle knew her since college and wanted their friendship to continue. She was very fond of Lettie and enjoyed her company.

Late one windy autumn night Lettie was reviewing her treasures when she heard what sounded like a pulsating heart emanating from the garage. She opened the door off the kitchen, looked in and listened for a while. It stopped suddenly and just as quickly, it began again. There was a thump and a strange people-like sound. She said to herself, “It sounds like my brother after a holiday meal!” This had been happening a few weeks to her and she concluded it must be her imagination and the wind, or perhaps living alone all these years was getting to her. From the outside her garage appeared as if it were bulging. The interior was getting quite warm and the windows fogged up. “What a curious phenomena this heat is,” she commented to herself. It made curious noises that were like hungry echoes rumbling. Only the dog that walked by and Lettie noticed this aberration. He yelped and ran. She wanted to run too, but instead she investigated again, and after hearing these rumbles she observed a slight movement in the middle of her possessions. A rat or squirrel got trapped she thought. It heaved a bit, but she wasn’t about to see for herself. Even if she could wade through the stuff she wasn’t about to come face to face with a rodent. After some thought, she carefully laid poison and darted back into the kitchen. She watched a program, got sleepy and the incident was all but forgotten.

There were a few uncompassionate people lurking in her neighborhood that liked to make fun of her. She never caught them, but suspected they were teens looking to have some fun and perhaps make trouble. One morning she found all kinds of ooze that looked as if it were coming from under her garage. It turned out to be some combination of a putrid greenish paint mixed with some other substance, perhaps oatmeal. She had to hire a firm to do the cleanup and didn’t find the prank very funny.

Some nights she was sorely tempted to travel the streets near her house and look into the garbage cans. She finally thought that these were the property of individuals and she had no right. It was a tough decision, but she had been sticking to it for years.

If there were something strangely out of place related to animals, her friend, Anna Belle, would bring it to her attention or present her with some evidence of nature out of kilter.

If a certain bird, butterfly or anything else seemed contrary to where it should be, Lettie would get a phone call from her. It didn’t happen often, but when it did she would take Anna Belle seriously and look into the situation. Lettie would always try to find the reason that nature wasn’t cooperating with the system as a whole. Inevitably she would find it only an anomaly; however, on some occasions she put the onus on humans or global warming. Her friend Anna Belle would say, “Lettie, you’re letting your imagination carry you away.”

One night Lettie was startled by the phone as she had been lost in her work of categorizing her newest finds. It was Anna Belle, “Now Lettie, I have something better to tell you than some moldy crap. There was a loud noise that cracked far away. Now, I saw some light falling and I don’t actually know what it was, but it sure sounds interesting.” Lettie remarked, “Do you think it might have been a meteor or space junk or even aliens. “Well,” she said, “someone saw flames in the sky. At least that’s what the radio said. I thought you might want to investigate it to see what happened for yourself.”

“Wow,” said Lettie, it sure sounds interesting. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

That morning Lettie called her to ask approximately where this incident had occurred. Anna Belle informed her that it was on the news this morning and she should turn her TV on to see. She told her it might have been a meteor and that they should go to see. “Let’s go Anna Belle. I want to investigate for myself if I can.” “Oh, I know you do or it wouldn’t be you," laughed her friend. The women seemed very excited at the prospect of an outer world object.

After speaking they decided to wait a bit before going as it may bring out the curiosity in a lot of other people too. They wanted it to calm down before they went on their own hunt. The noon news claimed that there might have been a small meteor as there were remnants of a very small impact, and rocks and other things had been disturbed.

Early that evening the ladies got together and made the trek to the site. “I just know the government is covering up something. There’s always some conspiracy to keep us ignorant public in the dark about these matters,” Anna Belle said with contempt. “Nothing like seeing for ourselves, right?” Lettie remarked with eagerness. “Sometimes they can’t keep some good women down. Wouldn’t you say, Anna Belle?” The 5 o’clock news had already said that there was actually nothing to write home about as far as the authorities were concerned. That didn’t stop the two curious women from making the trip to see for themselves what had happened.

When they got to the supposed site they parked the car and began reconnoitering. Anna Belle exclaimed that she might have found some evidence, but Lettie chalked it up to something ordinary. The further they went the more disturbed was the scene. They saw some type of skid marks not made by a car or truck, and plenty of earth looked disturbed and distributed even in some trees. They weren’t sure what they were looking at but found it profoundly interesting. Lettie managed read into things even if they seemed simple to most. “Look at this unusual rock, Anna Belle.” As they explored further, Anna Belle scraping away dirt and rocks, called to her friend to come look at something. There was a small piece of yellow metal imbedded into a rock that made her curious. It was thin, but they found it was quite strong when they struck it on another rock. It bent at will with their hands and always regained its original shape. “This thing looks as if it may have had a button or something on it. Very curious indeed, Anna Belle.” Lettie cupped the round object in her hands as if it was the Holy Grail and they proceeded back to the car where the find was carefully deposited. Her friend was happy that she was able to find something unusual for Lettie and wore a proud smile. “I make an awesome partner,” she exclaimed.

The keeper of things took it home to conduct her own experiments and catalog it in her crowded mind. She thought perhaps it might end up in a museum someday. However, she wasn’t about to share it with anyone else at this time. After looking through a microscope and poking and prodding it, she promptly placed it in her garage as her new great trophy. She vowed she would get back to it in a few days for a few more experiments.

Anna Belle called her later to see if she discovered anything new about the object. “Not yet, but I’ll get back to it very soon.”

She couldn’t resist the urge to peek into the garage again and look at her discovery once again. Just one more time. She proceeded to her stash to ponder over the yellow circle she discovered. She sat at the edge of the door to her garage and her mind wandered trying to envision where this latest find originated. She sat mesmerized.

A short time later a disturbance rumbled throughout the neighborhood. It rumbled and groaned like an earthquake was about to erupt. In the light of the half moon people on the block came out of their homes. A small cloud of dust hovered in the air, but the shaking stopped abruptly. The people looked at one another, shrugged and concluded it was a small earth tremor and nothing serious. Perhaps the little earth gremlins were doing a dance.

The next morning around 9 o’clock Lettie’s phone rang and rang. The answering machine kicked in saying, “Hi, this is Lettie, the green lady. I can’t come to the phone, but leave a message, and remember green is good for Mother Earth.” It was work calling. Lettie hadn’t appeared at work and her boss, Jim, was perplexed. The phone rang and the machine picked up again. This time it was Anna Belle who couldn’t reach her either. All that knew her thought how unusual it was for her not to tell anyone where she was going. When it reached noon , Jim dialed her brother, who seemed distant. “I haven’t heard from my sister in months. She doesn’t tell me what she’s doing. No, I have no idea where she can be,” he quickly hung up before Jim could say thanks. “Huh, he was certainly brusk,” Jim said to himself.

After a few calls to locate her without any success Jim decided to call the police to do a wellness check. A young policeman showed up on her doorstep and knocked quite loudly. No one answered after about five minutes. The station called Jim and told him she did not answer and it looked as if no one was there. Anna Belle called Jim to see if he had had any contact with her dear friend. After speaking to him Anna Belle hung up the phone and a tear traveled down her rosy cheek. “Oh, Lettie, maybe it was a conspiracy. Oh my God, where are you. Have they done something to you?”

The next day when she still hadn’t appeared at work Jim thought he had better call her brother again. He lived on the other side of town only several miles away. Jim remarked to himself, “You’d think he lived in another state the way he acts.” Without that much interest, and trying to get rid of Jim’s pesky calls, the brother said he’d go over to see if anything was wrong. He had a key just in case she was on vacation as he was to feed her now missing cat. An hour later he reported that no one was there, but all was intact. He had no clue.

Jim was panicking. He never knew her to neglect the work she loved. He called the police again voicing his grave concern. In respect to Anna Belle as Lettie’s best friend, he called her to come over too. He met the police and her despondent friend at the house. After speaking with the neighbors, the police used skeleton keys and gained entrance. It was difficult for them to maneuver through her treasures, but they managed. After a thorough search they could find no one. Her clothes, treasures and suitcases were untouched. The objects in her garage were still. They asked Anna Belle and Jim some questions, but they heard no answers. “It’ll be on the books and we’ll do the best we can to find your friend,” stated the very polite policeman. He and his partner got into their car and it disappeared around the bend. It felt to Jim like that was the end of this serious matter.

Jim, shaking his head in disbelief and sadness, walked across her spotless lawn and murmured to himself, “Where the hell did you go, Lettie. Where are you? We need you. The Earth needs you.”

It was long enough for her to be placed on the missing persons list. Weeks went by and she was not to be found. There was no trace left of Lettie Dinkle. The neighbors wondered, work worried, and Anna Belle mourned the comfort of her friendship with Lettie. The green lady had vanished without a farewell and no fanfare.

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