Conversations in art about ecological collapse and our place in the changing world

Conversation 5

Bernie
Kim Vose Jones

Alpaca fur, felt, latex, Styrofoam, glass, clay, cloth, used Converse
152 x 61 x 46 cm

Plubber
Carla Gunn

I am really excited about our plan and nervous at the same time. To calm myself down, I wrote some in my Reull book. The Gorach leaders have a problem. Some of the Bothersome Gorachs are saying that the other creatures of the planet have souls too and maybe Gorachs shouldn’t put them in cages and kick and poke and tease them. They’ve shown pictures of animals looking like they’re in a lot of pain as they’re dying, and bright lights floating up into the air after they’ve died. Some of the ordinary Gorachs are also starting to believe that the other animals really do have souls. So the Gorach leaders have told the Gorach scientists who work for them to prove that this isn’t true.

To do this, these scientists invented a machine that when you step on it, it measures your total weight. Then it measures the separate parts of the body like the bones, skin, organs and blood. Then the machine adds all those body parts together and subtracts that amount from the total amount of the body. Whatever is left over is the weight of the soul.

The scientists’ first guinea pig for the machine was a Plubber. A Plubber is something like the elephant here on earth except it has three trunks — one for eating and drinking, one for protection and one for hugging other Plubbers. Because it has three trunks, it can do all these things at the same time, which makes it very efficient.

The Plubber that was the Gorachs’ guinea pig was called Kloop. He had lived in a cage exactly his size — not a millimetre bigger or smaller — for seventy years. Every day hundreds of Gorach children visited Kloop’s cage to poke and laugh at him. These days he uses his trunks mostly just to cover his face. 

The Gorach scientist used an electric cane to get Kloop onto the soul-weighing machine. The machine churned and churned and finally said Kloop’s total weight was 513 kilograms and the weight of his body parts was 512.955 kilograms. This meant that his soul weighed .005 kilograms. ‘See!’ said the Gorach scientists. ‘Just a puny soul, so small it doesn’t even count.’

The Gorach scientists then weighed the souls of the Digging Robin, the Electric Cat and many other Reull animals. Each creature’s soul weighed less than .006 kilograms, which made the Gorach scientists and leaders very happy.

‘But,’ said the Bothersome Gorachs, ‘you haven’t weighed any Gorach souls with this new machine — so how do we know that those souls are heavier?’

This question was never answered because the Gorach scientists just laughed and said it was a silly question asked by very silly Bothersome Gorachs.

After this story I drew a picture of the Gorach scientists weighing the souls of the other animals of Reull.

 


“Plubber” was originally published in Amphibian copyright © 2009 by Carla Gunn. Reprinted by permission of Coach House Books.
Join this conversation
Contact us
Follow Me
Tweet