Author: Brooks C. Mendell

Every few days, I tote a pail of apple cores, carrot peels and coffee grinds to the steaming compost bin at the far end of our grassless backyard. The chore takes twelve minutes roundtrip.

“That’s a minor inconvenience in the name of sustainability,” I said, delegating this task to my son. “And it will count towards your allowance.”

“Deal,” said Daniel, staring out the window at the darkening sky.

Minutes later, four inches of rain muddied our yard. To save Daniel from wading to the bin, Mom tossed the rotten cabbage from our fridge into the bushes alongside the garage.

I heard her talking to Daniel in the kitchen. “Your Dad isn’t going to like this,” she said. “If he sees it.”

The aliens living in the back of the fridge didn’t like it either. Ever since we picked up the compost bin at a yard sale, we halved the veggies lost to neglect by cycling out old produce. This kept the fridge from smelling like a rent-by-the-week kitchenette. It also cut the food supply to the Meagerbytes thriving in the shadows.

“Eh, Mischa, the mother took your favorites.”

“Aye, Moska, perhaps it’s time we move to the suburbs.”

“Yes.” Pause. “How do we get there?”

“The boy will take us.”


“Look, I don’t pay your allowance so Mom can throw old greens in the yard. Will you please put these in with everything else and haul it to the compost bin like we agreed?”

“Sure thing, Dad,” said Daniel, looking down into the pail. He winked at Mischa and Moska before dropping the rotten cabbage between them and carrying out the moveable feast.