It was twilight on the outskirts of town. Newspapers rustled along a littered, deserted street. Ten-year-old Thoreau tugged at his blue baseball cap to keep the wind from blowing it off. A burned-out car sat at the curb. Without thinking, Thoreau threw a chewing-gum wrapper onto the sidewalk. Suddenly, a whirlwind picked up the wrapper and the stray newspapers. They gathered together to form a figure.
Thoreau thought to himself. “Gee, the trash that the wind's stirring up almost looks like a man.”
The garbage figure grew larger and larger and loomed threateningly over him. As it grew, its huge arms and legs and head became more distinct...and more horrible!
“This can't be! It's just some old papers and junk!”
A deep guttural voice rose from the garbage, “Think again, litterbug! You're about to get squashed!”
Terrified, Thoreau backed away. “No, no! Get back, you're not real! You can't be real! Help!!!”
Thoreau ran down the street pursued by the garbage monster. He ran into his house and hid under his bed.
“You can run, but you can't hide! I'll get you wherever you go! Ha! Haa! Haaa!” The garbage monster tried to poke his head through the window, but it was too small. He stuck in his huge hand but couldn’t reach Thoreau. The monster burst through the window.
“No! No!” shouted Thoreau.
“I'm going to get you. Hahahahahaa!”
Thoreau crawled out from under his bed and ran. “I better get out of here!”
The garbage monster began tearing the roof from the house.
Screaming for help, Thoreau raced into the street. “Help! Help!”
Thoreau ran down the street, the garbage monster right behind him. The monster now grown to the size of Godzilla, began tearing down buildings. People screaming in panic poured into the streets.
“How could this happen?” asked a man running alongside Thoreau. “That monster's made out of garbage.”
“This is one garbage problem that's definitely out of control, bonkers, berserk,” said another.
The army was called in. Tanks fired at the garbage monster, but they had no impact. The shells simply went through him. Planes circled its head, but the air force was also powerless to stop the monster. The garbage monster picked Thoreau up in his trash-laden hand.
“Ha! Now I've got you.”
“Help! Help!” screamed Thoreau.
“Garbage can drive you crazy!” laughed the garbage monster.
Screaming for help, Thoreau fell out of bed and onto the floor. “Help! Help!” Tangled in his quilt, he rolled under the bed.
Tracey, hearing her younger brother's calls for help, jumped out of bed and ran across the hall to his room. She bent down and pulled him out from under his bed.
“Wake up! Wake up, Thoreau! You're having a nightmare.”
Startled, Thoreau opened his eyes and realized he was back home.
“But Tracey... It seemed so real! There was this monster made out of garbage, and he chased people through the streets, toppling tall buildings! They called in the army, but they couldn't stop him. Their shells just went through him.”
“Don't worry, it's all right. The garbage problem's getting out of control, but it's not Godzilla. C'mon. Go back to bed.”
“Okay. But leave the light on.”
Thoreau got back into bed. Tracey turned and walked toward the door.
“Good night, Tracey.”
“Good night, Thoreau.”
“What if there was a garbage monster?”
“There is, but it doesn't walk around chasing little kids.”
“I'm not a little kid.”
“Then go to sleep!”
Tracey started to leave again but Thoreau called her back.
“It was bigger than King Kong, and it had yucky spaghetti and slimy stuff all over it!”
“Go to sleep.”