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Introduction[]

Arthur is taking toys out of his closet and putting them in a box.

Arthur: Have you ever thought about how much stuff you have? Half of these toys I never play with anymore! But, I keep them anyway because... maybe I will want to play with them someday. He picks up a Poogle. Except for this Poogle, I'll never play with this again. He is about to put it in the trashcan. Then again, it might wind up being a collector's item. I'd better hold on to it. He picks up a model Egyptian sarcophagus. We know about some ancient civilizations because they held onto their stuff for a really long time.

In his fantasy, Arthur stands on top of a pyramid dressed as an explorer.

Arthur: This pyramid; it was built by the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu. Mainly to protect his stuff.

He climbs up a rope ladder.

Arthur flies in a helicopter over a very dirty ocean.

Arthur: Look down there, that's all trash that's floating around the Pacific Ocean. It may be garbage now, but people owned a lot of it. More stuff! He holds his nose. Yuck!

Arthur stands in an Egyptian exhibition in a museum.

Arthur: This amphora was also found in the ocean. The ancient Greeks used it to hold liquid more than 2000 years ago! Stuff!

He takes a picture of the amphora.

The fantasies end.

Arthur: So, what do you think will happen to all your stuff 2000 years from now? Will it be a little piece of history, exhibited in a museum somewhere? Or just trash, floating around the ocean?

Title Card: Fortune Teller[]

Muffy shows slides in class. The first slide shows the gymnasium.

Muffy: This is the school gymnasium now, but when I'm on the decorating committee for the upcoming fair, it will be transformed into this. Voilá!

The gymnasium now has trees and exotic animals in it.

Class: Whoa...

Muffy: Ladies and gentlemen, behold our new school: Rainforest Elementary!

Mr. Ratburn turns on the lights.

Mr. Ratburn: Thank you for that...lovely display, Muffy. But as I said before, the two students on the committee are to be selected randomly.

Muffy closes her slides box and goes back to her desk.

Muffy: Ohh, and I already got a really great deal on the giant plastic trees.

George: You do know this is an Earth Day fair, right? Plastic trees might be sending the wrong message.

Muffy: Just because it's "ecological" doesn't mean it can't be fun!

Mr. Ratburn gets a hat from his desk.

Mr Ratburn: Prunella has already been selected to represent the fourth grade. Representing our class will be... He pulls out a piece of paper. ...Arthur Read!

Muffy leans over and points angrily at Arthur.

Muffy: It better be fabulous!

***

Prunella and Arthur walk up the stairs to Prunella’s room.

Prunella: And I thought maybe we could do a collage. You know, of stuff from Earth Days we've had before. And...

She opens the door. Rubella jumps at her wearing a green cloak.

Rubella: Beware the closet! It will swallow you whole! Mwahahahaha!!

Prunella: Rubella! Cut it out! She leads Rubella out of the room. And that's the last time I'm letting you borrow my cloak.

She takes the cloak and closes the door.

Arthur: What did she mean about your closet?

Prunella: Oh, Rubella just thinks I save too much stuff. She says I'm a packrat. But I've got some great things we can use for the fair.

She opens her closet.

Arthur: (gasps)

The closet is large and full of boxes, bags, and assorted objects. Prunella starts rummaging.

Prunella: Here's a box of pinecones I saved from last winter. She opens the box. Oh wait, these are just pencil stubs. Here, all my quizzes from second grade! Oh, don't want to look at those! Oh! But here's a bag of packing peanuts, might be useful as part of the display.

Arthur walks into the closet and into some dangling strings.

Arthur: Ah!! What are these?

Prunella: Shoelaces. Whenever one breaks, I save the broken piece.

Arthur: Why?

Prunella: I don't know. I just do. Um. I forget what's in this. Oh, ticket stubs! Here's one from Princess on Ice when I was four.

Arthur: Um, I'm gonna go back out. Okay?

Prunella: Sure! I'll just be a sec.

Arthur walks out.

Arthur: Whew.

The clock goes from 3:20 to 5:55. Prunella is still rummaging in her closet. Arthur sits on the bed looking bored.

Prunella: Ooh, my first-grade mittens! Cute. Now where is that box of snow globes? I saw it just the other... Ahh!

Falling boxes are heard. Arthur runs up to the fallen items.

Arthur: Are you okay?

Prunella removes a large bag from her face.

Prunella: I'm fine, happens all the time. (gasps) This is exactly what I was looking for! She picks up a snow globe with two penguins. See? We can use this in a display about global warming!

Arthur: Um... I have to get home.. It's, it's almost time for dinner.

He checks his watch.

Prunella: Sorry, I guess I got a little distracted.

Arthur shrugs.

Arthur: Maybe we'll get more done if we meet at the Sugar Bowl next time. I'll call you.

He hurriedly leaves the room.

Prunella: Okay! But don't buy anything, we've got everything we need right here. A box falls over her head. Ahh!

***

Arthur and Buster are in Buster’s room. Buster holds a box.

Buster: What's wrong with collecting things? I collect food. Look what I found in the garden today.

He takes out a sweet potato shaped roughly like a human body.

Arthur: What is it?

Buster: A sweet potato, shaped like a little man. I call him Yamlet.

Arthur: But with Prunella it's not just one thing like food. She saves everything! She spent the whole time going through boxes. And we didn't talk about the fair at all.

He sits down on Buster’s bed and starts eating a sandwich. Buster brings Arthur a book.

Buster: I used to have trouble getting rid of stuff too. But then my mom got me this great book.

Arthur: “Neatnik Ned's Guide to Clearing Clutter”. You actually read this?

Buster: Yeah! Well, I read the first chapter. But even that was life changing. Maybe it can help Prunella.

He looks at the sandwich wrapper on the bed.

Buster: Are you through with that sandwich wrapper? It'd be perfect for Yamlet's ghost.

Arthur stares at him.

***

Prunella stands protectively in front of her closet. Arthur and Rubella move in on her. Arthur holds the book.

Prunella: No!! It's my stuff! And you can't make me throw it away!

Arthur: All I said was that I thought you might like this book.

Prunella: But what you're really saying is "you should get rid of all that junk"! Well, it's not junk to me. She opens the closet. Everything inside this room has deep personal meaning for me.

Rubella: Oh, is that so? She goes into the closet and picks up a small blue sock. How about this sock with a hole in it?

Prunella: That was the sock I wore when I read my first Henry Skreever book.

Rubella: It's a baby sock! You couldn't read when you were one!

Prunella grabs the sock from Rubella.

Prunella: Well, I really like its blueness. It could be part of an art project someday.

Rubella picks up an egg carton.

Rubella: What about this old empty egg carton? Is this part of a project too?

Prunella: Okay. I guess I could get rid of one or two things.

Arthur is reading the book.

Arthur: Neatnik Ned says that you should put things into piles first. He closes the book. Let's make a 'keep' pile, a 'get rid of' pile, and a 'stuff-for-the-fair' pile.

Rubella: We'll help you start. She tries to take the sock, but Prunella will not let go. Pruny, you need to let go!

Prunella: (sighs)

She lets go. Rubella drops the sock and carton on the floor.

Rubella: There, that's the 'get rid of' pile.

***

The piles become larger.

Prunella and Arthur struggle over an umbrella.

Arthur+Prunella: (struggle)

Arthur gets the umbrella and throws it on a pile.

Prunella looks at an old newspaper. Rubella hands her Neatnik Ned instead.

Eventually, enough stuff has been cleared away so that the closet’s back wall is visible.

Prunella: The wall! I completely forgot it was pink!

Rubella: You can stare at the wall later, Pruny. We've got to get to the collection center before it closes.

Prunella: I'll take it, you guys have done enough.

Arthur: How will you manage all that by yourself?

Prunella: Just help me load it into my wagon downstairs. They start picking up boxes. You know, I actually feel better having less stuff. Thanks, Arthur.

Arthur: Really, you should thank Buster, he's the one who said I should give you the book. Although, he's still a bit of a packrat himself.

They all carry boxes to the door.

***

Prunella walks to the collection center pulling a wagon full of stuff.

Prunella: Hi there. I know where all the metal, paper, and glass stuff go but how about this?

Worker: There, and help yourself to whatever's clean. It's free!

Prunella: Ooh, I wonder if there's anything good. No, Pruny, you must resist!

Prunella walks over and sees several used but usable items on a table. She puts a green teddy bear from her wagon on the table.

Prunella: (gasps) A Henry Skreever thermos! Hm. I could use a hand mirror. (gasps)

She picks up a snow globe with a palm tree.

Prunella returns home pulling two loaded wagons. She hears Rubella’s voice in her mind.

Rubella's Voice: "Pruny, you need to let go!"

Prunella looks at the wagons and pulls them further down the road.

***

Prunella rings Buster’s doorbell.

Prunella: Hi, Buster. Thanks for lending me Neatnik Ned's book.

Buster: Isn't it great?

Prunella: Oh, I love it. Changed my life.

Buster: Me too!

Prunella: Hey, you know what I found at the farmer's market yesterday? A beet shaped just like a heart. And it's this big. She shows with her hands. Want it?

Buster: Yes!!!

Prunella: It's yours. I just need a favor. Could you keep some stuff for me? Just for today? I'll pick it up tomorrow.

Buster holds open the door.

Buster: (gasps)

Prunella wheels in both wagons.

A short while later, Buster holds the heart-shaped beet. After Prunella has gone, he takes out Yamlet.

Buster: What do you think, Yamlet? He gets dramatically on one knee. “Two beets or not two beets”!

***

Arthur and Prunella sit at a table in the Sugar Bowl. Arthur has drawn a plan of the school gymnasium.

Arthur: And here we'll have an area that's all about swamps and marshes. And this section can be about the melting ice caps. You still have all the decorations for that area, right?

Prunella: Oh yeah, it's all in the... 'stuff for the fair' pile.

They get up.

Arthur: Great! Oh, could I come over and pick up the Neatnik Ned book? I'd like to read it too.

Prunella: Now?

Arthur: If that's okay. It'll only take a minute.

Prunella: Sure. Of course it's okay! Why wouldn't it be okay?

***

Prunella and Arthur walk up the stairs to Prunella’s room.

Prunella: Wait right here. I'll be back with it in just a sec.

She goes in and closes the door.

A moment later she gives Arthur a “Gnome” magazine and closes the door again.

Prunella: Here's a magazine. Make yourself at home.

Arthur hears loud rumbling inside.

Arthur: (gasps)

He opens the door and sees Prunella buried under a pile of stuff.

Prunella: (deep breath) I'm fine, happens all the time.

Arthur: You never threw anything out, did you?

Prunella: I did, but then I got a few things at the recycling center. And then a few more. But don't worry, those decorations are around here somewhere. I promise I'll find them in time. Oh look! It's Neatnik Ned. Here you go.

She hands him the book. Arthur drops the magazine.

Arthur: You need it more than me, I hope you get a bigger closet. I can't imagine what it's gonna be like in a year from now.

He walks out.

In Prunella’s imagination, the closet door bends outwards. Prunella pushes the magazine under the door.

Prunella: (gasps) She walks backwards. The door bursts and Prunella shoots through the roof on a fountain of stuff. Ahhh! She sees the blue baby sock and takes it. Mm. She starts falling. Ahhh!

The fantasy ends.

Prunella: Hm. Arthur's right. I can't go on like this. Okay, stuff, prepare to get organized!

***

A large poster saying "Happy Earth Day" hangs in the gymnasium. There are several stands. Binky has one where he shows Luke bicycle routes. George has a “Plant a Tree” stand. Sue Ellen has a “Save the Grebes” stand. She gives Francine a “No Chicken Lickin’” button.

Arthur stands at Buster’s “Organic Vegetables” stand. Buster holds a plate of beet-colored soup.

Buster: Try some locally grown organic borscht.

Arthur: You didn't save the heart shaped beet?

Buster: Nah, I'm through collecting food for a while. Check out Yamlet.

He holds a plate of sweet potato fries. Arthur tries one. Muffy joins them.

Muffy: Well, if I were on the decorating committee, this would have been much more dramatic. Couldn't you have at least gotten a polar bear?

Arthur: Actually, Prunella has a stuffed polar bear doll. But I guess she decided not to show.

Loud feedback is heard coming from a loudspeaker. Prunella has put a loudspeaker on an empty table and plugs in a microphone. Rubella starts putting old stuff on the table.

Prunella: Testing, testing. Hey, this actually works! I haven't used this thing in years. I just wanted to let everyone know that everything on this table is free. Including this microphone. Binky walks up and tries to take it. Not yet! Let me finish! I have two requests, though. Don't hold on to anything you take for too long. Give it to someone else when you're done. We all just share it! Thanks.

She gives Binky the microphone.

Mr. Ratburn: A very interesting take on recycling, Prunella, but what's your second request?

Prunella: Well, I'll need a little help from everyone. Everything on this wagon is for a special work of art.

A while later the kids have created a sculpture of the Earth with a sign saying “Save the Earth” on top. The polar bear doll is sitting on it, while the blue baby sock forms South America.

Prunella: Now that's what I call recycling!

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