WHAT IT IS
The Amtrak train nearly derailed as it approached Beaver Falls, but a quick-thinking engineer recognized the impending danger and brought the train to an abrupt halt. The inevitable stopover saw Cricket and Sapphire take a taxi to a riverside restaurant in the heart of the downtown.
While sipping on a Niagara Falls ice wine, they spotted a young man sauntering up to a streetlight pole and paste a document around its considerable girth. Interested, Cricket walked over to take a look and came back with the news that Miles Hobbson was in town and giving a talk that evening at the public library.
Cinder Willoughby felt a little bit like Dylan’s Mr. Jones as he peaked into the library’s auditorium. It was filling up quickly when Cricket and Sapphire accidentally brushed up against him. They recognized one another, having crossed paths before, and decided to sit together near the back of the hall.
Miles started his talk by recounting his encounters with alien life on Nevis, but his musings soon turned to more terrestrial subjects. He had a political and social platform he touted, and his popularity within the audience quickly grew. “If…IF we dodge the carbon bullet, human overpopulation will destroy the planet.” “Who is responsible for habitat loss around the world?” “Who causes massive islands of plastics in the oceans?” “Who is responsible for the toxic air and polluted lakes?” “Who partakes in hyper-consumerism then overflows our landfills?” His followers answered Hobbson with a resounding “WE DO…after each question. Spurred on by the audience, Hobbson spoke of pursuing negative GDP instead of a positive GDP, of banning all cars (gas,electric, and hydrogen) from the inner cities. He advocated for smaller sewer and water systems to accommodate a smaller population. He pushed for local organic farms to feed the smaller populations and design neighbourhood solar and wind projects to produce electricity. The believers went wild when Hobbson stated the planet’s CARRYING CAPACITY was FINITE, and the idiots running the show better soon realize it. After a standing ovation, Hobbson swore he would carry his message far and wide.
Cricket, Sapphire and Cinder were genuinely surprised at the enthusiasm the crowd showed toward Hobbson. They watched with perplexed interest as the converted audience rose again from their seats in response to Hobbson’s grand gestures. As the evening grew to a close, the trio slipped out a side door before the mass exodus began.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Graham and Smith spent copious amounts of time together and to relieve the tedium they often spoke to one another as if they were pirates. “Fetch me coffee. Matey!” One might say, “ I…it’s as hot as hades,” the other would reply. This banter could go on for hours.
Pirate talk was in full swing when Graham and Smith sat down for lunch at a downtown riverside restaurant in Beaver Falls. It all started innocently enough, a lone raven sat on a canopy and began a loud monotonous squawk. A blue jay chimed in, a bull frog had its say, and a snowy owl hooted from a perch nearby. Dragonflies, bumblebees and yellow jackets lay siege to the restaurant and within minutes customers were in a panic, heading for the streets away from the river. Like the others, Graham and Smith were exiting the establishment when Smith slipped on the hundreds of perch that had jumped from the river and were flopping around the restaurant’s deck. Graham quickly ran to Smith’s aid, they both went down hard and fell into the river. As fast as all this began, silence fell over the area, leaving Graham and Smith to survey the damage as they stood in waist high water.