NOTE: Yesterday, Becky the Beetle decided it was time to reinvent herself (see Cars Not Waiting) but she can’t do it without her owner Ashley’s support. With the help of the Great Gazoo, a “chance” encounter between Ashley and her old childhood friend Vanessa followed by a stellar performance by Becky the Beetle herself create the opportunity for the required shift.



Ashley and Vanessa are walking on the shady side of 8th Avenue, reminiscing about all the childhood seashell hunts on Kamilo beach.

“I still remember the wall murals we made in your bedroom when your mother threatened to make cream of seashell and feed it to you for breakfast every day unless you did something with the beach under your bed,“ Ashley laughs.

Vanessa sighs fondly. “Yeah. It’s not exactly what she had in mind but it still gave her great joy, especially during her last days with us.”

“I’m so sorry, Vanessa. I didn’t know.” Ashley’s mind travels over the Pacific Ocean to the back porch where Vanessa’s mother used to pour them the chilled Hawaiian punch she would prepare fresh every morning— a much anticipated treat after the girls’ dream inspiring adventures at the beach.

Vanessa smiles. “Those were beautiful times, even at her passing. I’m just glad she never got to see the last mural I did just a couple of years ago.”  She pulls out her smart phone, flips through her camera roll, and passes it to Ashley. “I thought it fitting to put it on the ceiling. It looms over us like a dark cloud.”

Ashley stops to look at it. She squints, cocks her head sideways, and leans into it. “Those aren’t seashells.”

Vanessa takes the phone, zooms the photo, and hands it back to Ashley. “They are now.” She watches intently for Ashley’s reaction while the wind tunnels down the avenue announcing the impending storm.

Confusion is what she sees. Disgust is what she senses. Smoke is what she smells.

“That’s not…No. Not Kamilo beach!”Ashley’s heart is hanging somewhere between anger and deep sorrow. She shoves the phone back to Vanessa and rips into the sidewalk, leaving her friend in her wake.


The Great Gazoo gives a mysteriously cured Becky the Beetle a high five.


Ashley storms across 7th Street with Vanessa close behind as the wind starts mini garbage twisters in front of them.

“Ashley! Stop! You can’t run away from this.”

But Ashley just pounds the concrete harder until she hits a crack in the sidewalk and her right shoe explodes. She clenches her teeth, collects the pieces and growls at Vanessa, who immediately starts howling until Ashley finally can’t hold it in any longer and bursts into laughter.

“Still into werewolves I see.” The roaring is down to a giggle now and Ashley takes the other shoe off. “These things never really fit me anyway.”

Vanessa grabs the retired pumps, pulls out a polka dot shopping bag from her purse, and throws the shoes in. “I’ll find a good home for them.” She then pulls out a pair of heels just like her own and hands them to Ashley. “I think you’re ready for a change.”

Ashley grins, slips them on, and checks them out in a store window. They fit perfectly. She looks over at Vanessa chasing a plastic bottle spinning around in the wind then catching it and dumping it in another polka-dot bag.

“It has a better chance at getting recycled this way,” she explains. “Otherwise, it will wash up as another plastic seashell on Kamilo beach.”

Ashley still can’t believe it’s true. She takes out her tablet and googles “kamilo beach plastic”. As she looks at the headlines her eyes well up and are drawn to a YouTube video by Grassroots news. Vanessa wraps her arm around Ashley’s shoulder and nods. “Go ahead. See what I’m not waiting for.”

Ashley clicks the play button.

The skies open up and down come Gaea’s tears.

Vanessa throws Ashley a polka-dot bag and together our reunited heroines put their heels to the pavement and intercept as much of the plastic flood heading to the river as they can.