The trouble begins when the sewer people decide to form a government
Now once, long ago, on June 12, 2027, a stray banana peel found its way into the sewers of Orlando, Florida. It travelled through the sewers for twenty minutes, and then it at last came to the very bottom of the sewers, to a deep puddle. Like all the junk there, it joined itself to a sea of junk, and nine minutes later, a little human-like creature with frail limbs stood where eighteen or so bits of junk had come together.
All the sewer people came from junk, of course. Hundreds, thousands of the sewer people there were— made from all the junk in the sewers— and no junk ever left the sewers as a banana peel or bit of ripped paper.
The sewer people had no government, no economy, no friends. All ignored them, didn’t care for a moment that they existed, ignored them terribly, TERRIBLY. They were forgotten and lost.
All the troubles of the world began when an important sewer person, Dirt, proposed a government to his small ring of friends, Junk and Meaningless. But they could not create a government without the support of the 18,000 little frail-limbed sewer people they shared the sewers with. They called a meeting, but in vain, as it ended in chaos. Another meeting, then another, was held until many sewer people approved a government. But as that meeting closed, a new problem arose: how would they make a government, and who would be on it?
The idea was simple enough: they needed a leader who would have a title and make decisions, and no one but him would have power. Of course, it can be seen the sewer people were terribly mistaken about the nature of government and laws. For the laws said, “Do no wrong”—of course leaving much to be desired, as the law of “Do no wrong” was twisted by different perceptions of wrong.
Now one day, Dirt was speaking with Junk and Meaningless. Anyone just joining to listen would have been very lost, so you will be briefed: they were arguing over the meaning of right and wrong. Dirt was screaming, yelling, proving his point badly, with useless, wasted words. Dirt’s fist struck Meaningless as Junk raised his arms in surrender, panting, agreeing hastily that killing was wrong, a subject that had been key to the argument. They were so new to governments and hierarchies and laws, they were still debating over whether murder was wrong when Dirt was elected chief of the sewer people.
The poor sewer people fled their failing government, some in terror, mostly drowning in puddles or being filleted in sewer grates. Still, some remained, fighting for a strong government. Dirt stayed to fight for the government he had always hoped to achieve. But then one night he was forced by armed mobs of sewer people to surrender his place as leader. Strange things occurred while Dirt lay in chains on a hard, cold floor—like Junk’s refusal to be elected to the chief board of the sewer people.
Junk was sitting comfortably in an old soda can, his home—and a very luxurious one at that. He suddenly beheld, through a window hole cut in the side of his can home, a little sewer man running up to his wide-open door.
The little sewer man entered and hastily regurgitated some words written down on a piece of parchment—to us a shred, to them a scroll. The words Junk made out were something like this, to his ears: “Thee, thou art, appointment, chief?” Well, “chief” he could make out, but it surprised the messenger greatly when he was shooed away, after being dubbed an “irking parasite” by the would-be most important sewer person. Junk left, and was presumed dead, but his body was never found submerged in a sewer puddle, and his flesh and hair were never found in sewer grates. Junk’s refusal to be chief of the sewer people made Meaningless the chief sewer person.
Meaningless believed in a strong government but still wanted to make fair government, with equal division of power. His government began nine days after he took office, leaving him with only a small amount of power on a seventy-person cabinet. Meaningless began to call his government design weak, yet he was still very respected. Eventually, he became strong again, and many of those on the cabinet were cruelly executed. Now one day, Meaningless fled the sewers, being strongly disliked, and no government was kept among the sewer people.
One night, many years after Meaningless had fled the sewers, Junk’s son was growing old, and the moon came out over the sewers, and he said: “Tonight, all, is our night—to live life, to crawl from these sewers, even if we never see a night like this again.”
And so, all of the sewer people climbed from the sewers, those delegates of the underbelly of society, and danced and talked and ate scraps they found until the sun rose and shone down on them, and they all quickly clambered back to the sewers, sewers where they had been before.
But none ever forgot that day: even when the day came when the sewers fell apart, broke, were excavated, the memory still hung in the air somewhere else. In another place. In the poor old sewers, even as the pipes were carted away and the street crew came, garbage men and construction workers, all never knowing what had once been there. Once, long ago.