Famed EnviroSue staff attorney Worthington P. Greene IV and his beautiful wife Buffy had just finished the process of filing yet another lawsuit to block removal of the wolf from the endangered species list. To help recharge their passion (renowned as “Greene Fire”) for the upcoming trial, grateful EnviroSue directors awarded the couple an all-expenses trip to Montana’s pristine wilds for the summer solstice.
On Solstice Day (their last) high atop a ridge, the Greenes spotted a glint of metal. “Trash! Up here!?” Buffy sputtered, stomping over to claim, of all things, a miner’s lantern. “Wow,” marveled Worthy as he scrutinized it. “In perfect shape, even has fuel in it! Let’s take it home as a souvenir.”
After a yummy evening repast of vegan tofu stroganoff, Buffy suggested, “Worthy dear, light that lamp and burn off the fuel, please. It’s miles to the trailhead and the lamp will weigh less.”
“As you wish, snookums.”
The Greenes settled back to enjoy its glow. Suddenly the lamp flashed, and POOF! Before Worthy and Buffy stood a scruffy 19th Century prospector. He hacked his lungs clear and dusted himself off.
“Criminy yiminy!,” he gasped, “thanks for letting me out, yah? I’m Sven Olafsen. Dat dang medicine man Valking Eagle stole my whiskey and put me in my lantern. Now I guess I’m a genie. You get vun vish.”
Ever the cagey lawyer, Greene replied: “Only one? Well, could we have some time to consider our request?”
“You betcha, ve meet on da trail tomorrow. Tell me den.”
Sven vanished into the wild darkness. “What did you put in that stroganoff, woman?”
Pre-dawn, the sleep-deprived Greenes silently broke camp and hit the trail. Eventually, Buffy broke the silence, whispering “Worthy, are you nervous?”
“Facing the closing argument of a lifetime? Yes!”
Sven came along, finally, at lunch. “How convenient,” Buffy grumped. Worthy whispered, “Snookums, our WISH! Be nice,” and called, “Won’t you join us, Sven?”
Sven tucked in with sloppy glee, snarfing not only his portion, but also the revolted Greenes’s leftovers. After a fine belch, he asked “Zo, vat’s your vish?”
Worthy speared Sven with his patented “Greene Fire” glare, and spat: “I want a perfect world.”
“A perfect vorld? Jiminy, me too! Let’s valk, sotch nice day, you explain, yah?”
“Well, the first thing is to ban nuclear power. And all exploitative animal products…”
Hours and miles flew: “Ban pthalates….stop hunting….deep ecology….ban mining….chlorine…old growth….sheep….mercury…”
At sundown, Worthy finally summarized with a passionate call for “natural ecosystems free from Man’s malignance. Then, by Gaia, the world will be perfect!”
Sven pulled up: “Hooo, Worthy, dat’s a lot, but you got it, sure, you betcha.”
Moments later, several wolves chased a deer across the trail. Buffy dropped her pack, digging for her camera: “Oh, Worthy, our first wolves! Did you do that, Sven?”
“Worthy, where’s my camera?”
“I don’t know,” replied Worthy as he dropped his rig and started rooting. “And where my PDA? Sven?”
“Vat’s a PDA, eh?”
“Never mind…ow! I just popped a filling!”
The Greenes saddled up again, but soon, Buffy’s high-tech pack strap popped, dumping her load on the trail. Pack and contents disintegrated, along with the straps on Buffy’s vegan-approved sandals. Soon, all that remained was Sven’s lamp.
“Mind carrying this, Sven? It’s yours after all.”
Worthy’s natural-fiber pack came unglued shortly after. Mankind’s artifice fell away, vaporizing until, as the moon rose, even the Greenes’ organic-cotton khakis had crumbled to dust.
At last, the Greenes stood pristine before Nature and each other: “Jeez, Buffy, you told me you were a natural blonde!”
Sven blushingly mumbled, “Vell, I guess dat’s yer vish…” lit his lamp, and turned back up the trail.
With uncouth Sven gone, Buffy whirled on Worthy: “Great! It’s dark, I’m freezing, bloody, and those howling wolves are getting too close! We’ll miss our flight if we don’t get to the trailhead!!”
From the darkness, Sven called back: “Ain’t no trailheads in yer perfect vorld!!”
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.