The smell would make anyone wretch, but what sat before her eyes made all her senses go numb.
The color screamed “sickness” and the slick, oily surface was something out of a sci-fi movie. Then, in horror, she realized that part of it was her fault. There was only one thing she could do.
Amelia closed the accounting program and rubbed her tired eyes.
Doing personal taxes was a mind-numbing job, but at least she could be her own boss and stay at home with her science-obsessed 5-year-old, daughter, Kelly. She ran to the kitchen to pour another coffee. That’s when she noticed the strange, unpleasant smell.
Had Kelly tried to do another “experiment” again? The answer came when she followed the stench to the front door.
There, in the middle of the suburban, Toronto street, was a huge hole – a hole that had not been there in the morning. A few hours later, the city’s “fix” left her blood boiling.
All they had done was plop down a few warning cones and wrapped yellow warning tape around the area.
And that wasn’t even the worst part. The sinkhole had not only grown twice the size, there was now a bright, glowing green liquid oozing and bubbling to the surface.
Amelia pulled out her phone and left an angry message to the city.
This wasn’t normal at all. Someone had to fix it – properly! Then, she heard the little pitter-patter of her daughter’s steps. If she had known what was about to happen, she would never had made the call.
Only a few minutes later, her little girl ran into the room. Her tiny hands gripped her water bottle tight.
Sloshing around inside was the same green liquid that was boiling out of the massive hole. Kelly flashed a toothy grin, waved the bottle in Amelia’s face, and said, “Experiment time!”
The stench that had been roaming around the house was now pungent and right under her nose. It smelled like an outhouse, skunk, and roadkill all in one.
She felt her stomach twist – but not because of the aroma. Her daughter’s hands were now bright green! The little girl had been elbow-deep in that vile stuff!
Amelia scooped up her daughter and rushed to the bathroom.
Every soap, rag, scrub brush, disinfectant, and skin cream flew around the bathroom as she frantically tried to wash it off and dial 911 at the same time. The time it took for the ambulance to arrive felt like an eternity.
Paramedics rushed inside. She pointed to the street in tears and explained what had happened.
One medic pulled out his own phone and started making calls. They needed to know exactly what they were dealing with … and how bad it might get.
Amelia cried all the way to the hospital. Her tears were a mix of anger and fear.
Someone was going to pay for this! She held the tiny girl’s hand as thought of everyone that was to blame – including herself. It wasn’t until many nerve-wracking hours later did she finally get answers.
The doctor came into the room, looking oddly calm. “We found out what was in the water,” he said.
“It’s not as bad as we thought.” It turned out that the sink hole had been flooded with city waste water. The green part was dye.
Amalie learned how it was standard practice to add non-toxic dye to city water flows whenever there was a rupture that could affect other systems.
Workers would go “downstream” and see if anything leaked bright green. She collapsed into a chair and sighed with relief. But the horrible afternoon wasn’t over just yet.
The green dye might have been harmless, but the mucky water was still filled with plenty of bacteria.
Her little girl would need a big dose of antibiotics. It really was the “best” outcome of all her imagined fears, but that didn’t mean she was done with it. All she needed was a single phone number.
It took a few calls, but she eventually reached the person in charge. And, oh boy, did she let them have it.
The long, angry rant covered everything – from the lack of information for the surrounding houses to the stupid warning tape. What was the end result?
There were plenty of apologies. Workers were also out the next day to fix the hole.
As an extra gesture, the city offered to pay for Kelly to go to science summer camp. Amelia sighed as she watched her daughter play with her plastic test tubes. Hopefully, safety lessons would be part of the camp curriculum.