Nigel The Newspaper
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There was once a town called Mucus, Missouri. A few of the people in Mucus were rather happy. A large chunk of other people were completely miserable. The majority, however, were neither particularly happy nor excessively sad; they simply existed, incapable of experiencing emotions of any sort.
In this town, a Newspaper was printed, and his name was Nigel. He was alive, obviously. He was born in a factory. He was an edition of the Saturday paper.
He was placed in a basket on a bicycle and delivered to a house. He said "hello" to a few of the other newspapers in the basket, but none of them said hello back. This puzzled him. It had not yet occurred to him that he was the only living newspaper to ever exist.
Eventually, he reached the home of Miss Antsy Humpduck, an elderly woman who lived on the edge of town. She had spent her entire life working for a gas station, and when she retired, they gave her a lovely coffee mug to commemorate her years of hard work. She loved the coffee mug, and talked to it every day, more than she talked to her husband. She thought the coffee mug paid more attention to her than her husband, whom she hadn't spoken to in 47 years, even though they lived together.
Nigel sat on her front steps and thought, "My, what a lovely home. I'm so glad I was delivered to such a splendid place."
Antsy opened the door and scooped Nigel up. "Hello, I'm Nigel!" he said in a friendly voice. Antsy, however, was deaf, and didn't hear him. She opened him up, read the funnies, then threw him away.
He sat at the bottom of the garbage bin, indignant. "HEY!" he bellowed, "YOU DIDN'T EVEN READ ALL OF ME! You could LEARN something from what's inside my pages! You could gain new insight about the world! DON'T THROW ME AWAY! USE ME! MAKE ME INTO A HAT FOR YOUR GRANDKIDS! MAKE A PAPER AIRPLANE OUT OF ME! ANYTHING! BUT DON'T THROW ME AWAY!"
It was too late, however. He was scooped up and taken to a dump.
"Hello," he said to a broken dishwasher. The dishwasher didn't respond.
"Don't tell me I'm the only one here capable of speaking!" he screamed, "I don't want to be alone!"
The dishwasher was unresponsive. Nigel, however, persisted.
Every morning he rose and spent at least four hours teaching words to the various appliances, diapers, and other items the human race had deemed useless. The rest of the time he would spend pondering his own existence.
He spent about 5 years teaching words to the other appliances. Still, none of them responded.
"My life has been wasted," he said finally, "I spent all this time chasing a goal that's unachievable. How absurd."
Just then, however, he heard a yawn behind him.
"What the hell was that?" he said, turning around.
It was a refrigerator.
"I'm Dennis," said the refrigerator, "I'd shake your hand, but neither of us have hands."
"YOU CAN TALK!" said Nigel ecstatically. If that's how you spell that word.
"Indeed I can," said the refrigerator, "Thanks to your teachings. Let us hope that the other appliances will awaken as well."
The two of them began experimenting with different ways of awakening the other items of "garbage." Soon, they had a fairly effective ritual that seemed to be able to quickly turn an inanimate object into a living thing. It involved saying "Ask Mr. Purpleton, I can't think of anything" fifteen times, while running in circles.
Eventually, all of the items in the junkyard were alive, and they organized themselves into a Utopian society. Every day, they danced, sang, had spiritual epiphanies, discussed metaphysical philosophy, and generally enjoyed total happiness.
Then one day, a garbageman by the name of Zuke was walking through the junkyard. He stepped on Nigel.
"OUCH!" screamed Nigel, "He stepped right on my sports section!"
Zuke was astonished. "Did you just...speak?" he said.
"Of course I did! And I'd appreciate an apology! That hurt like hell!"
Zuke was too astounded to reply. He sprinted off. Then, he returned, with chains. He tied up all the garbage, and carried it all back to his house.
He began selling tickets to see "the remarkable talking garbage." People came from miles around to see the garbage. Zuke got extremely rich, and used the money to buy several other landfills (by this time, all the garbage of the world had learned to talk).
Nigel, meanwhile, was tied up, and poked with a cattle prod every now and then to force him to speak. He was tied up next to a moldy lampshade named Bill. Bill and Nigel passed time by discussing the nature of the Universe.
One day, an army general heard them discussing string theory and thought, "These guys are geniuses! I can only imagine what military power they could bring us! They probably have ideas for weapons that we haven't even THOUGHT of!"
Soon, all the armies of the world figured this out as well, and they began fighting over garbage dumps. Nigel and his friends, meanwhile, had unlocked the secret of the purpose of all existence.
"I don't think we should tell these humans," said Nigel, as bombs exploded all around him (the Chinese had sent military forces to try and gain control of the garbage).
"I agree," said Bill, "Let's spread the word."
Within and hour, all the garbage of the world had gone back to being completely silent.
No matter how loudly the human race screamed, their garbage would not speak to them. So Nigel and his friends went back to sitting in landfills, and soon the human race had completely forgotten about the "garbage incident." Nigel is now sitting discarded on a sidewalk somewhere. Maybe someday he'll decide the human race is ready for the knowledge he possesses within his withered pages.
If you're walking down a sidewalk, and you hear a voice, it could be Nigel whispering profound truths to you. Or it could be the scream of the homeless immigrant whose face you just stepped on.
Ask Mr. Purpleton, I can't think of anything.