Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock
Editor: Sarah Rendo
Cover: Rob Mitchell
The original town of Kansas sat on a bluff towering above the river. The height of the bluffs made offloading river goods, such as molasses and horse pelts, a nightmare. After years of slow delivery times, horse pelt industry officials threatened to leave Kansas City. That's when intrepid Mayor Johnny Filth stepped in.
Mayor Johnny Filth took the city's entire annual budget and bought a shovel for each citizen in town. He handed a shovel to every man, woman and child at Kansas City's annual bean dinner and said, “Get to digging! Do it for the horse pelt industry!”
Together the city cut into the river bluffs like a giant stack of chocolate cake. Within days the bluffs began to shrink and the speed of horse pelt delivery was mightily increased. The work continued day into night and night into week and week into fortnight.
After a fortnight, Donnie Turtle, one of the hardest working shovel boys slipped a note into Mayor Filth’s pocket. It read: “I'm an honest and lowly shovel boy and I never hope to be anymore than that for as long as I live. But I've started to notice that the more we shovel, the more piles we create. We used to have one big bluff but now we have a thousand tiny bluffs. My brains are little more than duck paste but I know that the good Mayor Filth will conjure up a fit solution. ASAP.”
Mayor Filth got up early the next morning and scratched the pox hole on his face. He pulled the blowhorn down from the ring of honor and spoke bravely,
“Let the city gather all the piglets and all the saddles for the piglets. All the piglets will carry the dirt to the lowlands and the waste places so that this dirty dirt will be gone. Call all the piglet wranglers of Westport. Today is the day the piglets set this town in order. Together they will lead a legion of piglet wagons to redistribute dirt into the low places of the city. We will work until dirt fills every gully, every ditch and every ravine. ”
As Donnie Turtle listened, tears streamed down his face. He tossed his shovel and began to hammer together dirt wagons for every piglet wrangler in town. According to legend, Donnie Turtle banged together a thousand tiny dirt wagons for all the bacon babysitters of Westport. At lunch that day all the hoggy handlers of Westport applauded and marveled at the industry of Donnie Turtle. He could barely gnaw a bite of beaver wad jerky before a swineherd supervisor slapped him on the back. They say the cheering was so relentless he never finished his sandwich.
That afternoon he hand delivered another note to Mayor Filth. It said, “I hope you are happy. You have helped forge a path for Kansas City to join the cosmopolitan glow of the 20th century and impressive towns like St. Joseph and Fall River. Unfortunately, the success of my piglets wagons has brought undue attention onto my lowly nature. You will continue your great work, Mayor Filth, but you will do so without me. I will leave this place now. Hopefully in a better place than when I started making dirt wagon hours ago.”
Donnie Turtle left the office of Mayor Filth with a sly grin on his face. He collected his hunk of beaver wad, his pipe and his hat he wore when he thought about church. He hitched a dozen piglets to a wagon and slapped the reins against the piglets. The porkers mushed and mushed for months until Donnie Turtle finally reached a tiny cave. Donnie Turtle lived out the rest of his days in the cave making candles out of bat guano and writing letters to the Mayor of the cave, which was of course, himself.