Producer/Engineer: Bill Pollock
Editor: Sarah Rendo
Cover: Rob Mitchell
The Union Depot Train Station was an architectural marvel, but it was built in the middle of a floodplain and in 1904 the Union Depot was completely flooded. When preparations for a new train station began, city planners began to focus on a strip of land adjacent to the O.K. Creek. It was agreed that if the waters of the O.K. Creek could be diverted and channeled underground, that this would be the ideal location for a train station.
And so the city began to confront that wrinkle. City officials began to contact all the plants and animals living along the creek, telling them they had 30 days notice to vacate their creekside parcels.
Waterproof notes were handed out to all the fish and turtles. Eviction notices were seed pasted to the nests of the local waterfowl and all the street cats were contacted. Every cricket and water bug was notified via paper boats. Cattails and creekside willows are no dummies. They read the writing on the ripples of the water and de-rooted themselves. The creek water became salty with the tears of all the plants and animals and it was stained with the blood of thousands of dead tadpoles. The bullfrog community agreed that death was preferable to a forced migration.
With heavy hearts, most of the creatures accepted their fate. Except for the crawdads.
Crawdads are blue shelled luddites - freshwater lurkers who don't take kindly to trespassers and their ilk. When they heard the news they tapped into the old alliance and sent an owl to the mayor’s office with a note of their own. It read:
“Dear present administration,
Mess with the tiny daddies and you'll get the claws. Rome will burn before we surrender our homes. You ugly, ugly, shit head man!"
The mayor laughed and crumpled the note in the newspaper. His administration did not respond to threats from hooligans. If he would have listened, perhaps a great horror would have been avoided, perhaps a mighty disaster would have been circumvented - but a massive collision was being prepared and it would not be denied by the watchful eye of history.
Thus, on the debut evening of the first train rolling into the new train station, just as the mayor prepared to clip the dedication ribbon with the scissors of great purpose, an army of 9,000 crawdads surged over the nearby hill. And they did not stop at the appointed boundaries, but began to pinch noses, pinch butts, and pinch ankles. Shovels were produced by the train station police, but even as they smashed one or two crawdads, more crawdads began climbing into the conductor’s cab and twisting the machine to and fro until the great machine - the great machine that had upset them from their homes - toppled over and burst into flames.
The records show that the rebellion lasted for one hour, until Donnie Turtle, the master crawdad smasher of Raytown, began to stomp on the their shells. And in ten minutes he had killed almost all of the crawdads, and in the eleventh minute Turtle pulled out a giant sprayer and began to wash their parts into a nearby drainage ditch.