The Green Trower
It was a late, cold night. Ganjald was walking quickly through the forest on a small, rock-sided path. Ganjald was a yellow-orange furred fox with long, quick legs and good night vision. He never liked walking through the forest at night, but, if we’re speaking honestly, he liked it a lot more than walking through the forest in the daytime.
In the daytime, there were always a lot of other forest animals to make fun of him. The other foxes laughed at him, because he wasn’t quite as colorful or quick as the others. The birds in the trees would chirp at him (although he couldn’t tell exactly if they were chirping at him, or just chirping in general . . . all he knew was that they always chirped when he was around (and maybe when he wasn’t), and it annoyed him). Even the snow owls would hoot their disapproval at this desperate creature. The fact that snow owls were out in the daytime just to laugh at him never made much sense to Ganjald, but it certainly made him mad.
Ganjald liked walking through the forest at night a lot more, because the foxes were all in their holes, the birds were in their nests, and the snow owls . . . well, the snow owls were still out hunting, and hooting, and even laughing at him, which is why he hated walking through the forest at night, but liked it a lot more than walking through the forest in the daytime.
Ganjald was walking through the forest this night, with no particular destination. He thought that perhaps he would go to the meadow where the gringolts play. He knew he hated it there, but not nearly as badly as he hated walking on the forest path at night. So, as he was heading to Gringolts’ Meadow, being hooted at continually by the snow owls (billions of them on all sides, so you could hear nothing but owls (there was a special snow owl maternity convention that night that Ganjald was unaware of)), he noticed a small path that he had never seen before.
“Where does this path go?” Ganjald asked the nearest snow owl.
“Hoot, hoot,” replied the owl.
Ganjald had forgotten momentarily that snow owls do not speak English. In fact, none of the animals in the forest spoke English. That’s one of the things that made Ganjald different. Even his fox friends didn’t know English (although, truthfully, Ganjald had no real friends, not even amongst the foxes, and in saying that he did, we are using the term very loosely). They didn’t even know what English was. Ganjald was sick of being different.
But, all the same, he liked being different. He liked knowing a language that no one else knew. It gave him a chance to enjoy things that the others couldn’t, like books, songs, and poetry. Speaking of poetry, one of his favorite poems came to his mind at this very moment, as he looked at the new path that he had never before noticed – a Robert Frost poem, about diverging paths at a fork in the road. According to Mr. Frost, we should take the road less traveled by. So, Ganjald looked down both paths as far as he could. They both looked just the same amount traveled. However, since the new path that he had never seen before had no hooting snow owls on its sides, Ganjald decided to take that path, and called it from that point on, ‘the road less traveled,’ because there were less owls. In fact, there were absolutely no owls anywhere near this path. It was so peaceful.
However, if Ganjald had known the truth, he would have known about the deadly toxic gases that perforated throughout this region of the forest. These gases had recently leaked out from a small bread factory in the northern part of the forest, and killed every animal that came across its path.
Eventually, Ganjald found out about these gases and died. When he breathed the gas into his body, it killed him almost immediately. How sad. But that’s a different story. Right now, we’re talking about Bob and Fred.
As we were saying, Bob was a young, new “green trower” at Brumingham’s Gas Hut. Bob was very proud of his new work, and was expecting to make millions of dollars very soon. Fred was Bob’s superior. His trainer. Fred had worked at the gas hut for 25 years. He was a little bit jealous that Bob would be making a million dollar a year salary as a green trower. When Fred was a green trower, he made a mere 25 cents a year, which was a small sum even back then. Now, after his many years of work, he had become a superior. When he was a young green trower, the superiors were making millions. Now, times had changed. It was the green trowers that were making millions now, while a superior’s salary was a mere 50 cents a year. He couldn’t really complain, though, since he was making twice as much as before; but still, he didn’t think it was fair.
Fred wished he could be a green trower again. He had worked so hard to be a superior, and now there was no going back. Besides, it would be insulting to take such a step backwards. So, Fred decided to do his current job to the very best of his abilities and train this newcomer so he could make his millions.
The gas hut had been in business about 48 years. In fact, its 49th anniversary was coming up in a few short days. It was Fred’s responsibility to set everything up; it was Bob’s responsibility to trow the greens, although he didn’t understand what this meant. Fred tried to explain it to him numerous times, but Bob just couldn’t understand. Fred knew that if he’d just take that step backwards, he’d have those greens trowed in no time. He’d do the best trowing of his life. But, he kept faith in this newcomer. After all, it was his job to train this new green trower, and if he failed, then he wasn’t deserving of his 50 cents that year. Therefore, Fred continued to work hard, trying to train Bob until he understood what green trowing entailed. In the meantime, the big anniversary party was coming up soon, and Bob was helping Fred to prepare.
“Why do you help me?” Fred asked Bob incredulously. “Go trow your greens so you can make your millions.”
“But I don’t know how,” Bob responded.
“Well, you certainly don’t know how to do my superior work. It’s much too advanced for a green trower like yourself. Go trow your greens.”
“I said, I don’t know how to trow greens. Besides, this isn’t too difficult. I mean, if you can do it at your age . . .”
“Are you implying that I’m too old to work? I’m only 58. And besides, age gives experience.”
“Age gives ugliness and weakness.”
“Go trow your greens.”
“What are greens?”
“You should be trowing them, then you’d know.”
“But I could ask you, and I’d know even better.”
“And it would be easier, I suppose?” Fred asked leadingly.
“Yes, of course it would be eas . . .”
“Then why didn’t you catch it the other five hundred million times I explained it?” Fred scolded. He didn’t give Bob time to respond to his now-rhetorical question. “Because it’s easier to get in there and just trow ‘em. That’s how you know how. That’s how I knew how. They sure as hell didn’t pay me no millions to find out either. And I didn’t have no superior trainer teaching me when I did it either. So, go trow!”
“But I still just don’t have a clue how,” Bob responded.
“Then help me! Don’t just stand there wasting time,” Fred yelled. “We’ve got a party to prepare for.”
Bob and Fred set to work on setting up the pageant for the 100th anniversary of the gas hut (they didn’t realize that it had been only 48 years, but no one cared anyways (and 100th anniversaries are always funner to celebrate)). As they worked, Bob and Fred got to know each other better.
“Why, I remember the 100th anniversary we did a few years back,” Fred reminisced. “Boy, was that ever a lot of fun. We took all of the combustible gases and put them in one little room. They didn’t think they’d blow up, but, boy, when they did – wow! I mean, goddamn.”
“What are we doing for this anniversary?” Bob inquired.
“We’re gonna take all the poisonous gases, and fill balloons up with them. Then we’ll decorate the palace with them.”
“That’s just what we call the room down below.”
“That’s not important.”
Fred unlocked the door marked Poisonous, Deadly and told Bob, “Beware.”
“What?” Bob asked.
“Beware,” Fred reiterated. “That’s the word that they left off the door. Ole’ Jim and Dale didn’t have enough cash for the guy to write it all out, so they just paid him what they had, and he wrote Poisonous, Deadly; they wanted it to say Poisonous, Deadly, Beware!”
Having made his point, Fred lead Bob into the room. Bottles and bottles of poisonous gas surrounded them where they stood in the center of the room.
“I’ve never seen so much gas,” Bob responded at the sight.
“You’ve never trowed any greens,” Fred added.
“I don’t really know how,” Bob defended. “But even if I did, I’d much rather be here with you in the gas room.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I have no clue.”
“Well, I think the stale air in this room is making you sick,” Fred stated. “Come on, let’s grab the best gases and get to the ballroom.”
“Where’s the ballroom?” Bob asked.
“In the palace.”
Bob and Fred grabbed all the gases in the room, holding five or six bottles in each hand, and began to run down the stairs to the palace entrance. When they slammed the door of the poisonous gas room upon their exit, the sign fell off.
“We ought to fix that sign,” Bob said.
“No time now,” Fred explained. “Besides, there ain’t nothing dangerous in there. We have it all. In fact, we should take that sign with us.”
“To trow some greens.”
“I though you gave up green trowing.”
“Not today!” Fred exclaimed. “What sort of anniversary would it be if the greens didn’t get trowed. Someone’s gotta trow ‘em, and you sure as hell ain’t gonna do it on your own.”
“I don’t know how.”
After Fred trowed the greens, Bob and Fred walked back to the ballroom in the palace.
“That was amazing!” Bob exclaimed. “I didn’t know that trowing greens could be so much fun.”
“You never knew what trowing greens was,” Fred responded. “You had never done it before, so naturally you never knew it could be fun.”
“Well, now I will, ‘cause I can.”
Fred smiled as he realized that Bob would be able to make his millions after all. He took comfort in knowing that he had helped his trainee to see the beauty of green trowing. Indeed, the joy of being a superior and helping others far surpassed any monetary joy that could be obtained through trowing the greens himself. After all, he had many years of experience trowing the greens, and had never earned any millions. “Was it all worth it?” he thought to himself. “Yes, it most certainly was.”
They completed their decorations for the 100th anniversary. A very large audience showed up, and the gala went better than they could have planned. The ballroom had never seen such a large explosion, and the audience cheered louder than ever when they saw the trowed greens. Indeed, Fred had brought joy to the lives of millions. His was a life fulfilled. When he received his paycheck at the end of that year, and saw the sum, he smiled a broader smile than had ever fit upon his face. 50 cents – money well-earned. He began to plan right then for the next 100 year anniversary pageant, excited already at the notion of having an even larger explosion at the gas hut. Indeed, could life get any better? “Not until then,” Fred thought to himself. “Not until then.”