Eat Shit Die
Crazy Joe squinted towards the horizon. Dust the colour of a desiccated dingo covered the curvature of the earth in every direction. Old habits die hard. Joe wondered, again, why he bothered looking for the rain clouds that nearly never came. It was evening so there wasn’t much chance of any water in the catch trays below the mist nets. Hopefully the morning would bring in some moisture laden air.
Joe wasn’t really crazy, but that’s what people called him back in 2031 when he started collecting human shit for his soldier fly larvae to feed on. Like shit, the name stuck. As with most of his generation, he’d been raised as an Aussie water baby to surf, swim and love water. Now the hard reality of climate change had hit home and the country had been in drought for 15 years straight.
He had had the foresight to set up his protein larvae farm in an outback town where mammal based protein no longer grew. The Great Artesian Basin had dried up to less than 50 active bores and these were a pitiful sight to behold as they had all but ceased flowing. The small community he lived in still mined opal and old shafts had been used to store water when it had rained, but the earth was thirsty and it didn’t stay long. Only the tough folk that could never go back to a city stayed out here now, surviving on the meager scratchings from abandoned claims and whatever moisture they could glean from the mist nets. It was too expensive to get freight out from the coast and people were hunting and eating whatever they could find.
Joe hitched up his hand cart and started out on his morning run to collect the “crow” from all the old compost loo chambers in the shanty town. It was strange to think that people once flushed this stuff away with drinking water. Now he was contractually obliged to return a portion of the larvae protein he produced to the original contributors.
He had made a few dollars years ago converting all the flush toilets to composting loos when the drought began. It was beyond that now. Compost was not as useful as protein. In the process he had collected all the old toilet bowls and made himself a sculpture outside his humpy. There was no mistaking Crazy Joes place.
Although people still called him Crazy Joe, no one believed it any more. Joe was a sort of savior, delivering protein to a community where none had been available before. Perhaps if they had known of his occasional late night visits to the graveyard to top up his feedstock, they would still think him a little eccentric.
Joe trundled his little cart past the local trading post. A prominent sign out the front read “Crazy Joe Burger - $45” He laughed to himself as he remembered a bastardized version of an old expression. “If you don’t eat, you don’t shit. If you don’t eat shit you die” All the same to me he thought.