One day, Hello and Pencil were doing nothing much, when all of a sudden, they heard a strange sound coming from the kitchen.
“Oh my,” said Hello. “What is that strange sound and who do you think is making it?”
“Well,” sighed Pencil. “Considering I don’t have my x-ray goggles on, I wouldn’t know.”
“Wow, x-ray goggles?!” said Hello in wonder. “I sure would like to have a go!”
“Oh Hello,” sighed Pencil again. “I haven’t actually…argh, never mind…I was being facetious.”
As soon as the word out of his mouth, Pencil knew he’d regret it; and, sure enough, the next thing out of Hello’s was, “Fancy fish and x-ray goggles? Gee Pencil, you sure are lucky!”
Shaking his head, Pencil sighed for a third time and said, “Come on Hello, let’s go and find out who is making that strange noise.”
Once in the kitchen, Pencil quickly assessed the situation. “It sounds like someone is crying,” he said. “And it’s coming from the bin.”
“Hello Bin,” said Hello in a gentle voice. “Whatever is the matter?”
“Err,” said Pencil, trying not to sound cross. “You’ll probably find it is not the bin that’s crying, as it is generally believed that bins are not capable of complex emotional responses, due primarily to the fact that they are not alive. In which case, it is highly probable that the crying is coming from someone inside the bin.”
Hello, having lost the thread of Pencil’s speech at err, stuck his head inside the bin, and who do you think he found?
“Milky Carton!” shouted Hello in surprise. “What are you doing in the bin and why are you crying?”
“I’m…I’m…” stammered Milky. “I’m crying because I am in the bin. And I’m in the bin because all my milk has gone and now I have to be recycled.”
“Recycled?” said Hello, looking confused. “What on earth is that?”
Pencil shook his head in disbelief. Just last week he and Hello had attended Professor Wattle’s 3hr lecture, “Recycling: What and Why.” Pencil should’ve known that Hello hadn’t listened to a word, as he’d spent most of the time trying to separate the jam from a Dodger.
Nevertheless, Pencil, choosing to ignore his friend’s inability to grasp the simplest of concepts, suggested they help Milky Carton out of the bin so he could tell them all about it.
“Well, you see,” said Milky, once he was out of the bin. “I am only useful when there is milk inside me. Once the milk has gone, I am just an empty carton and no one wants me anymore; so I have to be sent to the recycling place and be made into something else.”
“Made into something else?!” said Hello, unable to hide his excitement. “Cor, that sounds great! Why would you be sad about that?”
“Because I won’t be Milky Carton anymore,” said Milky. “I like being me, but if I get recycled I might become a cereal box or an envelope or, worst of all, toilet paper.
“Toilet paper?!” said Hello horrified. “I’m not sure I’d want to be friends with toilet paper.”
“You see,” said Milky, starting to cry again. “If I get recycled, I won’t be me and I won’t have any friends.”
“Don’t worry,” said Pencil reassuringly. “We’ll help you. All we need is an idea…an idea of the brilliant variety.”
“An idea?” said Hello to himself. He wasn’t too good at ideas, and knew for sure that he had never had brillo-pie-for-tea. But on this occasion, to help his friend Milky, he decided he would try his hardest to have an idea. With that, he began thinking very hard; so hard in fact that the wool in his head began to turn frizzy. Then, out of the blue and beyond all probability, he had one.
“I’ve got an idea! I’ve got an idea!” shouted Hello, jumping up and down.
Milky’s face lit up and Pencil let out a pain-filled sigh.
“What if…” said Hello, looking very proud of himself, then momentarily forgetting where he was and wondering if there were any Jammie Dodgers in the cupboard.
“What if,” he began again, after a nudge from Pencil. “Instead of going to the recycling place, we recycle you ourselves. That way,” he said, gaining momentum. “We could recycle you into something cool. You would still be Milky Carton, and you would still be useful.”
Pencil was just about to point out the flaw in Hello’s idea, as there was sure to be one. When, to his utter astonishment, he realised it was in fact, a brilliant idea. And so he said.
“That, my clever friend, is a brilliant idea.”
With that, the trio put their heads together to come up with plan every bit as brilliant as Hello’s idea.
First they had to decide what they would recycle Milky into. Hello suggested a Space Rocket that could fly them to the moon. Pencil, being a practical sort of fellow, suggested a box to put his stamp collection in. Milky, although he thought being a rocket or a box sounded pretty good, suggested something he’d always dreamed of being.
Hello and Pencil agreed that Milky’s suggestion was best, and set about recycling him. There was lots of snipping and gluing and painting and laughing, until, after a lot of hard work, the three friends had recycled Milky into a beautiful…
They spent the rest of the day sailing the 7 seas, visiting unknown lands, finding treasure and escaping from Privates in the nick of time. They all had lots fun, especially Milky, who had never felt so happy.
That night while reflecting on the day’s events, a sense of deep satisfaction washed over Pencil. Not only had he had lots of fun, he also felt hopeful that his little friend, Hello, having had a brilliant idea, wasn’t such a nincompoop after all.
Of course, Pencil’s hope was short-lived. For, the very next day, he found Hello trying to recycle himself into a packet of Jammie Dodgers. His reasoning, explained Hello, was so he could always have Jammie Dodgers inside him.
At least, conceded Pencil with a sigh, there was a semblance of logic to his friend’s nincompoopery.