“Ladies,” he began, knowing the office only had three token women. “We’ve been accused of not being eco-friendly. Our last advertisement for tires showed an actor throwing a cola can into the street.”
“Hardly our fault, Mr. Nubile. That actor was the cause of the ruckus.”
“But it was our ad!” Jonathan Nubile slammed his hand on the conference table. “Ahem. Regardless, I’d decided to make recycling commercials for the time being. A cute mascot for the kids to relate to will be chosen later today. And Ms. Marigold, I’ve chosen you to select the mascot.”
Marigold was chomping on a banana with the peel on her knee. “Hm?”
One of the other women spoke up. “Mr. Nubile, I object to this.”
“On what grounds am I not qualified for whatever this is?”
“Sir, she’s not qualified. She’s not even clean. Who leaves toenail clippings in the break room?”
“Ms. Marigold,” Mr. Nubile said. “Please wait in the empty work room for the mascots to arrive.”
“Yes, Uncle Johnny.”
When they made sure she was out of earshot, Mr. Nubile confided. “Those mascots will tear her apart. Not literally, or even litter-ally with two T’s. But I think we won’t see any leg hairs in the break room anymore.”
“Toenails,” said the third woman. “She keeps leg hairs in the ladies’ sink.”
“Of course, of course.”
After an hour, Marigold had littered the carpet with banana peels, apple rinds, and Cheerios. She checked her watch. Nobody showed up, so she got up. Suddenly, a leaf on a bicycle pedaled slowly into the room. “Am I the first to arrive?”
“Um… yes?” What was it? Was she hallucinating? It looked two-dimensional.
“Perfect! Name’s Green McGreens. Put ‘er there!”
She shook his hand. It felt three-dimensional enough.
“Tsk tsk. Is this your mess, madam?”
“Marigold Nubile. And it is.”
“Well, the creature plant rubbed its hands,”waste not, want not.”
Green shot green energy at the pile and POOF! they all turned into leaves.
“Nice trick,” Ms. Nubile smiled.
Green McGreens gave her a wicked smile. “Oh, you like that one? Try this on for size!”
The leaves all levitated and flew into Marigold Nubile’s mouth, forcing their way down her throat. She gagged at the sensation and choked at the shock.
“You could have killed me!” she sputtered.
“Then your body would be used as a nice fertilizer,” he quipped. “And besides, better than killing our planet!”
“Did I hear my name?” A large but not to scale Earth with a cute little face arrived. “Wait, you said ‘our planet,’ not ‘Earth.’ Okay.”
So cute! thought Marigold. I want to hug it! She ran up to it to give it a big hug.
“STOP!” Earth said. “I’m really Earth! If you hug me, you’ll crush millions!”
Her dark side started to boil, but she let it slide. “So if I drop a penny into you, a giant penny will crush people?”
Earth rolled its eyes. “Not too bright, is she?”
“And she’s dirty.”
“I can spare some water to clean her!” The Earth puffed its cheeks and squirted water all over Marigold and Green. Green seemed to enjoy it, but Ms. Nubile fell to the floor as if she were melting.
Great, she thought. What else can go wrong?
“Hey hey, Dunk the Dank Recycling Receptacle, ready to get the job!”
“Hello, Mr. Dunk. Please have a seat over there while I get ready for our interview.” She ignored the fact he was a recycling bin with sneakers and prayed she’d survive this.
She puffed on a cigarette and crushed it into the carpet.
“Hey now! I thought this was an environmental ad! You don’t even know how to dispose of trash?”
“Um…” Marigold mumbled. “Bottles and plastics and paper and…”
“That’s all well and good, but what about trash, HMMMM?!”
She relented. “Cigarettes go in the trash.” She picked up her cigarette and threw it out.
“Preferably ash trays,” Dunk grumbled. “But I see more trash that needs disposal.”
“And that is?” She feared for her life.
And with that, he shoved her into the trash basket.
Ms. Marigold wiggled pathetically. “My butt is stuck, jerk!”
“The Earth is stuck in this jam!”
The Earth nodded.
“Our trees are dying!”
“And people like you just want, waste, and warmonger! The three W’s!”
Marigold fell over. “You’re right. I’ve been lousy to the planet. I’m going to be green, giving, and great. The three G’s.”
“That’s the spirit!” cheered Dank.
“Atta ma’am!” applauded Green.
“There’s no real way to fix the damage humans have done to me, but I appreciate the new outlook on life!” groused Earth.
“And you’re all hired!”
“Huh?” asked the trio.
Later, Marigold Nubile confronted her uncle.
“I’ve decided to hire all three. We have enough money in the budget. And I have an idea for the commercial theme. People waste water or kill trees or trash the streets. We have the three mascots show them the error of their ways by fighting back with magic.”
Jonathan Nubile rubbed his chin. He smiled. “You’re growing up, Marigold. You’re not the little girl who used to throw bottle caps at ducks anymore.”
She returned the smile. “Not anymore, Uncle. Not anymore.”
“Did you say ‘not anymore’ twice?”
“Um, I did, yes.”
“To put emphasis on how I’ve changed. It’s a dramatic thing.”
“Oh. I’ve never heard it before.”
“It’s very common, really.”
“I believe you.”
“…You don’t really believe me.”
“You’ll show me an example next time I visit.”
“And then you’ll believe me?”
“You’re always like this!”
“Tone, young lady! We’re at work!”
“Fine, don’t believe me. Later.”