It towers over the surrounding countryside, a tor of trash, rising 9506m (31,187 ft) into a clear blue sky. The jet stream pulls at its peak, blowing plastic bags, diapers, and take-out containers in a plume of spindrift rubbish capable of travelling all the way out into the mid-Atlantic; there to strangle marine animals in all-new, more convenient ways.
It is called Mt. Everwaste. And it is the new second highest thing on Earth, surpassed only by humanity’s hubris.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” says Maxwell Consumption, the man who discovered the new peak, and after whom the mountain is named. He takes in a deep breath, and then coughs violently for half an hour before donning a respirator in order to continue.
“I found it last week, while detouring around a traffic accident that had blocked up the expressway,” the resident of Scobeyville, New Jersey says through the grey face mask, his eyes watering from both pride, and the clinging, rotting aromas.
“It’s usually just fields and forests out this way, so yes I was a little surprised to see a garbage pile reaching a third of the way to outer space. But you know, New York and Philly have to put their trash somewhere. Why not all in one place?”
Rising by up to 10 metres a day, and 150 metres every Christmas, Mt. Everwaste is believed to have been created by a powerful tectonic force known as “The Endless Growth Model,” in which people are sold ever more shit they don’t need, in ways they don’t require, to create year-on-year profit for shareholders in the global shitmaking industry.
And nearby Scobeyville appears poised to parlay its new landfillmark into its own cold, hard, cash machine.
“Get your Mt. Everwaste shirts, hats, coozies, croakies, cardigans, and earrings right here” says local entrepreneur Jack Blight, showing visitors around his hastily erected gift shop.
“I’ve even got cans of Mt. Everwaste air for you to take home to your family, so you can give them a whiff of what putrid decay smells like at 30,000 feet.”
Saying he thinks the vast mountain of garbage is the best thing that ever happened to his town, Blight adds he can’t wait for serious mountaineers to begin descending in droves, as the race to see who can be the first to climb the towering paunch of consumer culture begins in earnest.
“Who’s going to want to fly all the way to Nepal to climb a boring old rock, when you can come to New Jersey and ascend a mountain of old clothes, electronics, and millions of people’s leftovers? And the best part? There’s no need to clean up after yourselves!”
Despite Jack’s enthusiasm, geologists have been quick to say that a mountain created from the detritus of an insane culture – one that holds the odd distinction of being both the deer and the headlights in a calamity of their own creation – cannot be counted as the highest peak on Earth.
“People,” Dr. Joyce Made, a leading researcher into the still-experimental field of not destroying the planet, says pleadingly to a crowd of reporters. “This is not something to be excited about. It’s a literal monument to our own stupidity.”
But aside from boring, moralizing scientists who are weirdly obsessed with handing our children some sort of useable planet, most people are thrilled.
“I cannot wait to summit it,” says Tim Thompson, one of the foremost trash climbers in the world today, and the first man to summit the highest garbage mountain on each continent. In summer, without retching.
“People ask me all the time, ‘Why do you climb mountains of garbage?’ And my response is always the same: ‘Because we put them there.'”