The Sludge Machine

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic
On one rainy day, Poppy discovers the truth to nature's destruction. Grandma tells the story with resignation and self-pity, so it's up to Poppy to bring her spirits, and her hope, back up to snuff!

Submitted: June 06, 2017

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Submitted: June 06, 2017



The Sludge Machine by Brandi Hughes


Poppy sat inside bored as can be

As the acid rain fell into the sea.

It was green and sludgy like glue

Hissing and eating through every surface it fell onto.


“If only rain wasn’t so deadly!” She thought to herself.

Then she could prance and play as much as she pleased,

without a care of the water’s disease.

Instead, with the way it was, all she was able to do was stop,

and watch the raindrops

plop plop plop.


“The animals are hiding, and so must we!” Grandma intoned from her seat.

“No longer can we flee from our human-made machine!”


“But why?” Poppy cried, “What did humans do?

Surely it was nature that created this flu!”


At her words, Grandma tsked and shook her head,

“The fault is with humans, dear; we’re a poisonous lead.

In this world that we have destroyed, we must not blame nature instead.”


“Tell me what we did, or I will not believe it!” Poppy declared with a set mind.

How could it be, the thing she most despised, was created by her own kind?


Grandma sighed, weary and dreary, as she drudged up memories for her deary

“Well, if I must, I will tell you what humans sought,

But first you shall promise to listen entirely, or it will all be for naught.”


“I promise! I promise! Now say how humans ruined the water.

What brought about this acid debacle?”


Grandma held up a finger for silence, and Poppy zipped her mouth with little defiance.

“It all started with the sludge,” Grandma began,

“The sludge made from the factory of Count Drudge.”


“Count Drudge created a sludge that ruined the water?

Why would anyone do such a thing, Grandma?”


“He held a great grudge, for the one who destroyed his heart.

It was the mermaid, none other than Mistress Tart.

Their love for each other began young and strong;

they were inseparable, though soon their relationship became irreparable.


Her greatest trait, that of Mistress Tart, was her exquisite voice.

Everyone wished to hear it once, if only they had the choice.

Oh and did she so love to sing! Though, not so much as she loved to swim.


She treasured the water of the sea, leaving Count Drudge for weeks on end

only to swim and hardly ascend.

This activity soon grew into a rift, for Count Drudge could feel their love begin to drift.


‘Why must you leave so often?’ He howled to the mermaid,

watching her figure in the ocean.

‘I have given you everything,’ Count Drudge motioned, ‘Necklaces, and diamonds; trinkets and limons. Why must you travel by sea? Instead, I demand you stay with me!’


Of course, Mistress Tart would not budge.

Her love for the sea outweighed what was left for Drudge,

And so began the terrible grudge.


Count Drudge, in his anger, stirred inside his manor until a wicked thought passed his mind:

Why, if he couldn’t have what he desired, then Tart’s love he would ruin til dire.


In that very moment, he soon grew frantic. His plan was simple:

He would throw every bit of trash he owned into the Atlantic.


It began with bottle caps, and litter for cats.

Then it escalated to washing machines and full cans of beans.

But no, it wasn’t enough; he had to do everything in his power to ruin the snuff!


So he went back to his manor and drew a blueprint.

His invention was a masterpiece, it was an environmental stint.

He built his machine. Three days and three nights it took to complete.

And just as quick, he took to the sea. It was a ghastly sight to see, indeed.


The sludge poured into the ocean, blackening the waves.

Neither the fish nor the Mistress Tart knew how to fight it, no matter how brave.


And how was this machine built, you might ask?

Well, Count Drudge took on a considerable task.

All he had to do was create a funnel to tunnel the rummel of humankind’s waste.

There began an endless supply of tires and wires

and fridges and bridges and everything else human’s could ever desire.


Count Drudge was quite content when he saw his Mistress Tart flee the scene.

If only he knew, his sludge hadn’t yet finished its scheme.


The machine itself gave off a toxic cloud, which poisoned the air.

There wasn’t an animal it would spare.

This, my dear, is the cause of acid rain. And, I’m sure you know, it causes much pain.


Realizing his mistake, Count Drudge tried to destroy the sludge-machine,

but it was too late.

Now we must suffer, just as the birds and the fish, and neither one has it tougher!

Because of our own waste, humans have become a disgrace.”


Grandma finished her story with a humph and a sigh,

staring out into the polluted sky.

Poppy had always known Grandma was wise, yet there was no hope in her golden eyes.


“But Grandma,” Poppy intoned, “Why must humans moan and groan?

If we create the waste that ruins Earth’s face, can we not slow our pace?”


“My child,” Grandma exclaimed, “The damage is done!

There’s not a thing you can do, not one!”


Poppy jumped to her feet, her mind now in a heat.

“I can think of one; I can think of a ton!

If I reduce the waste that ruins Earth’s face,

surely the sludge from Count Drudge would slow its pace!”


“I wouldn’t be in such a haste;” Grandma quarreled,

“One girl’s waste couldn’t possibly make a change in the sludge’s pace!”


“Well if one girl isn’t enough, then we’ll make it two!

Surely you’ll join me in this breakthrough.”


“My dear, we are but a couple of ants in this disaster of sludge!

Two won’t possibly cause it to budge!”


“Then we’ll make it four or five!

Brother and Sister, and Mother and Father will certainly strive!

And if that isn’t enough, then we’ll add our friends to the fluff.

There is no end to how many will contend!”


Grandma paused, unsure of what to say.

Was this really the solution, clear as day?

Her granddaughter’s energy was inspiring,

And soon she felt herself conspiring!


If everyone joined, and all reduced their trash,

soon the fish could return to splash!

The sludge would be gone, and so would the pollution:

This was definitely the solution!


In her excitement, Grandma leaped from her chair,

“We must begin now,” she decreed, “It is only fair!”


From that day forward, Grandma and Poppy worked together

to heal Earth’s wounds, and make it even better than ever!


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