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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution


 
The Essay
Show #432
Humpty Dumpster
David Gunn

   Humpty Dumpster sat on a wall
   Humpty Dumpster had a great fall
   His winter, however, was another story.

For nine years, he had serviced the upscale Royal View Housing Development just east of Big Stately Castle. There, the worst rubbish he suffered was the occasional cracked Official Lifelike Princess Of The Kingdom Doll. The neighborhood was so posh that waste products were wrapped in two, sometimes three hermetically-sealed layers. Not a single graffito or blemish of any kind marred his still shiny green outer surface. Every third Thursday in June, the freemen of the kingdom celebrated Official Realm Clean-Up Day by first filling Humpty's interior with freshly cut fragrant flowers, then applying to his exterior a balm of ambergris and goat fur, a protective concoction much prized throughout the kingdom. Suspended above him was a colorful oilcloth to protect him from the elements, especially astatine and protactinium. But in December, the king's Men In Charge Of Refuse--or MICOR--came and got him. And not too gently, either. They bundled him onto a sledge and carted him away to the Community Offal Collection Station, a foul and fetid facility far down in the bowels of the castle. As MICOR roughly unloaded the dumpster, a horribly grotesque dwarf in a blood-spattered frock appeared, lugging a sack half again as big as he was. With practiced indifference, he swung it over his head and flung it towards Humpty's maw. But it hit the edge of the dumpster's lip and burst open, spewing a revolting cocktail of abattoirian filth all over the previously unsullied waste receptacle. Ignoring the mess he'd made, the dwarf turned and glared at MICOR, then clomped away. The king's refuse men looped a chain around Humpty's lid and secured it to an anchor protruding from the ground, then they, too, withdrew.

Humpty was mortified. What had he done to deserve this? Oh, he knew that dumpsters were designed to temporarily harbor waste materials, but he'd always felt that he was destined to care for a higher quality of rubbish - not this ... this stinking filth that dribbled down his front!

A horrible week passed during which the dumpster was filled with the most odious garbage and trash imaginable. The offal caused an allergic rash on his bottom that itched unpleasantly. One night, a pair of horrid little men climbed into his bin and rooted around for salvageable items, a repellent practice he heard them call "dumpster diving." Then MICOR suddenly returned and untethered his chain. But before Humpty could entertain any thought of rescue, they gruffly wheeled him around to the rear of the Collection Station to a huge, reeking open pit, turned him upside down, and emptied his contents therein. Then they slammed him on the ground right-side up, dragged him back to his post, reattached the chain and tromped off.

The dwarf was waiting for him with another cumbersome sack. Again he swung it over his head and hurled it towards the dumpster's opening. Once more he missed, and, as before, he didn't do anything about it. And Humpty, feeling more down in the dumps than ever, was left to suffer his humiliation alone.

But, was he really alone? A faint whimpering suddenly emanated from amidst the pile of rubbish that had spilled from the sack. "Who's there?" Humpty asked tentatively.

A small pair of hands scrabbled their way to the surface of the rubbish, followed by arms, a head, a torso, legs and feet, all encased in raiment that was obviously once quite vivid. Humpty at once recognized an Official Lifelike Princess Of The Kingdom Doll. "Are you all right?" he inquired solicitously.

The OLPOT Kingdom Doll brushed a chunk of dung from her hair, stood up and gazed at Humpty. "Who are you?" she retorted.

Expecting a softly mellifluous voice, her loud and discordant timbre initially befuddled him. But he quickly recovered. "I'm Humpty Dumpster." he said. "Until last week, I worked the Royal View Housing Development. Then I was ...."

The OLPOT Kingdom Doll interrupted him. "Then you was brung here. Yeah, I've heard that story before." she said, plucking a tapeworm from her dress. "And you didn't deserve it, neither, am I right? Phew, you stink, too!" she added, wrinkling her nose.

Humpty was both charmed by and a bit dismayed over her forthrightness, but before he could respond, she added "Well, if it's any consolation to ya, I don't belong down here likewise."

Then she clambered up onto Humpty's lid and leaned into the opening. "Helllloooooo down there!" she called. "Hey, pretty good acoustics. You ever consider moonlighting as a recording studio?"

Again, Humpty wanted to respond, but the Doll was quicker on the comeback. "No, probably not. But first you gotta clean up your act. And that means gettin' outta here."

It took a moment for the enormity of the idea to overwhelm Humpty. "You mean escape? But, where would I go? What would I do?"

Retorted the OLPOT Kingdom Doll, "You want outta here?--you absquatulate first, worry about what comes next later." And with that, she scrambled over to the chain that tethered the dumpster and began to gnaw on one of the links. Her teeth--honed to an illegal razor-sharpness by her little girl owner, which was why the Doll had been discarded--quickly cut through the metal ring. "Besides, I need your help, too," she added conspiratorially, spitting a shard of metal onto the ground. "Now let's get outta here!"

Dumpsters are not blessed with great mobility, so moving away from the Community Offal Collection Station without attracting untoward attention was a great feat, indeed. But, helped in no small way by the Official Lifelike Princess Of The Kingdom Doll, Humpty did escape.

The next day, the dwarf appeared with his bag of swill. Finding no dumpster to defile, he angrily smashed his bag against the side of the offal shop, then summoned the king's Men In Charge Of Refuse. The dwarf must have exerted some influence in the kingdom because MICOR came straightaway. They examined the broken chain, then checked to see if they'd inadvertently left the dumpster at the pit at the rear of the Collection Station, and finally called for the king's Investigative Equine Corps. However--
   All the king's horses and all the king's men
   Couldn't find Humpty Dumpster again.

In lieu of a talking dumpster and his doll, we bring you this 432nd episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, from whose coffers we extract for you today a tantalizing cocktail of musical swill, verbal rubbish and incidental offal, all magically mixologized by Kalvos.