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A Day of Sun, Fun and Feces

The whole lawsuit business began two years ago, at the national convention for waste treatment plant managers. My name is David Gariott; I am a columnist for a newspaper in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the convention was being held. I went there looking for some new material; I didn't expect to start a riot.

When I got there, I toured the model treatment plant and watched a film about the newest forms of sludge-eating bacteria. After that, I wandered around for an hour or so, looking at the displays and learning how a waste treatment plant operates. I met several interesting people and heard a few horror stories about plant breakdowns. One guy from a small town in Iowa said their sewer system backed up and flooded ninety percent of the houses. The stores sold out of air freshener in hours and it took weeks for the air to clear completely. I don't think I'll ever take my toilet for granted again.

Around noon, I stopped by a food stand to buy some lunch. I had been in a hurry that morning and hadn't eaten breakfast. The signs advertised food like "sludgeburgers" and "sewerwater direct from the purifier." I suddenly lost my appetite, but it was hot, so I ordered a few beers. I know, it was a stupid idea, and I never drink on the job, but I was thirsty.

I sat down by a bacteria display and began to talk to the other four people at my table. I was enjoying myself and I guess the beer got to me a little. I rarely drink much anyway. I wanted to work on phrases for my story, so I used a few comments like "Sludgefest '95: A Day of Sun, Fun and Feces" to see what they thought.

When I made a crack about Origin of Feces, one of Darwin's lesser known books, one of the men got angry and pushed me. My chair tipped over and I fell into the display behind me, breaking a jar that contained a new and very valuable strain of bacteria.

I guess several others had drunk just a bit too much also, because the next thing I knew, people were fighting all over the place. Knowing better than to stick around, I slipped out amidst the flying fists and breaking glass.

Well, it seems that someone remembered me and now I'm being sued for the damages caused in the fight. All of the damages. I tried to explain that it wasn't my fault, but they didn't believe me. You do though, don't you?

Author's Note: For anyone who might care, I wrote this for an audition for one-acts in high school. We were supposed to read a monologue for the audition, but I didn't like any of the selections (taken from real plays) offered by the department. With an hour to go until the big try-out, inspiration struck, and I wrote this as an alternative. It was quite a hit. Not only did all five of the directors of the various plays fight over who got me in their play, half a dozen other auditioners asked me if they could borrow my script for their reading. It's probably my greatest writing success to date, really, except for maybe Ode to an Oberlin Squirrel, which has the doubtful honor of nearly being published three separate times.

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