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Kenzie Cool By Bethan Gibbs
‘My name is Kenzie, and you are tuned into...Kenzie Cool.’
Kenzie tossed her head back and sauntered down the road. As she walked other children gawped at her vibe; blond afro curls bouncing, jeans, tee and brand-new high-tops immaculate.
‘It’s Kenzie,’ someone exclaimed.
Kenzie pouted into her phone and applied more lip-gloss, she then blew a kiss at the other children before strutting off.
‘Today I’m talking about being popular,’ she scanned her phone around the crowds and back to her face again, ‘what is it that makes certain people stand out from the crowd...’
‘Kenzie...Kenzie, hurry up or we’ll be late’. Her mum reached in and grabbed her phone before rushing off ahead.
‘Mum!’ Kenzie yelped. ‘I was mid-sentence...’ She looked around her at the laughing children and scowled. When she was famous, she wouldn’t let anyone tell her what to do.
You see Kenzie was going to be a star, probably a movie-star or maybe even TV, she wasn’t sure yet. But also, there was modelling...and how about influencing? The other kids really looked up to her. Yes, most likely she would become an influencer.
Deep in thought Kenzie didn’t notice an earthworm on the pavement in front of her. It was wriggling in pain as it dried out under the morning sun.
Stepping on it, she slipped forward. Then looking down she screwed up her face in disgust.
‘Ewwwwwwww, that is disgusting! You have ruined my new trainers you horrid little thing.’ She stamped on the worm, squishing it over and over into the pavement, then she stormed off in a huff.
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‘What’s the point of those disgusting things anyway, all they do is ruin my new things...’ Kenzie muttered as she went.
Later on that day Kenzie was in her garden. She had made some fresh lemonade with her grandma and was filming it for her insta page.
Next door her elderly neighbour was sowing seeds for her vegetable garden. Kenzie’s Grandma was chatting with her over the fence. Kenzie stopped filming abruptly.
‘Can you be quiet please you two?’ called out Kenzie.
‘Ooops, sorry dear,’ said her Grandma walking back over. ‘Marjory was just telling me how much she depends on her vegetable garden these days because times are so hard’. Kenzie tutted and turned to start filming again. Suddenly she heard a horrible buzzing sound, there was a wasp in her lemonade!
Kenzie shrieked and flung the lemonade onto the grass, jumping up and down on top of the wasp until it died. Looking around her she saw bees and wasps buzzing around her mum’s flowers.
‘Ewwwwwww,’ she shrieked and ran to get her mums fly swatter.
Kenzie ran around the garden splatting and swiping, smacking and swatting until the garden was littered with the carcasses of dead little pollinators.
‘Hmphhh.’ Satisfied, Kenzie sat back down and surveyed the garden. ‘Now I can sit here in peace.’ She poured some more lemonade and pouted into her phone. ‘Today I’m teaching you about living more healthfully...’
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The next morning Kenzie was in her back garden again, filming an instagram post about her new trainers, she had bought them after the yucky worm had ruined hers. She angled her phone down at the ground and then froze. There were slug and snail trails everywhere!
‘Oh gross,’ yelped Kenzie, ‘that is disgusting.’ Now she had slug slime over the bottom of her new trainers.
But Kenzie knew exactly what to do, she went to her mums shed and took out the slug pellets and weed killer. Then she sprinkled the slug pellets all over the garden.
‘That’ll teach those horrid slimy things,’ said Kenzie.
She stomped inside. ‘At least there’s nothing yucky in here,’ she grumbled as she got out her phone to continue filming.
Kenzie opened her mouth to speak...and then screamed ‘arghhhhhhhhhh!’
Right next to her face there was a spider weaving a cocoon around a little egg sac. Kenzie leapt back in horror.
‘Why are there so many horrible creatures everywhere?’
She ran into the kitchen, grabbed the hoover and then reaching up she sucked up the spider, egg sac and all into the hoover.
‘That’ll teach you,’ shouted Kenzie. ‘I don’t want you horrible little things anywhere near me ever again!’
That night Kenzie went to bed in a grump, she was getting so annoyed with nature ruining her plans.
Eventually she fell asleep, scowling.
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‘Kenzie, Kenzie...’ The sound of water lapping, birds singing and butterfly wings woke her up.
Kenzie opened her eyes, in front of her floated a fairy dressed in shimmering green, with shining wings and the kindest face Kenzie had ever seen.
‘Hmphhh.’ Kenzie huffed and turned to face the wall. She’d had enough of nature.
‘Kenzie,’ the fairy flapped her wings delicately in Kenzie’s face.
Kenzie sat up and suddenly found herself in the middle of a beautiful forest clearing.
Around her birds, butterflies, frogs, hedgehogs, badgers, deer and foxes played. Sunlight dappled the carpet of moss and flowers, whilst a babbling brook flowed happily beside her.
Kenzie felt a happiness and a peace like nothing she had ever experienced before. ‘Where am I’? Said Kenzie. ‘Where is this beautiful place?’
‘Why Kenzie this is nature’ said the fairy, her voice sang like the sound of a thousand nightingales calling.
The animals stopped playing and came to sit in a circle around Kenzie. They were so beautiful, kind and wise looking; they had such intelligence.
‘How funny’ thought Kenzie, ‘that I have never seen animals like these before’.
‘That is because you have never seen animals for their true selves before,’ whispered the fairy, causing Kenzie to jump.
‘How had the fairy been able to read her mind?’ Kenzie thought.
‘I know everything about you Kenzie,’ said the fairy. ‘I also know that you hurt some of mother natures’ creatures.’
An image appeared before Kenzie; it was of her killing the earthworm. Suddenly around her the trees, grass and flowers started dying and the earth cracked open, dry and barren.
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‘What’s happening?’ cried Kenzie in terror, as the animals around her started to die.
‘It’s what would happen to the earth if there were no earthworms,’ whispered the fairy her wings drooping sadly. ‘Earthworms are just one of the invertebrates that keep the soil healthy and balanced, without them there would be no us,’ she looked around at the animals who all hung their heads sadly. ‘And there would be no you.’The fairy smiled gently, ‘you see the earthworms may be little, but they play a mighty role in keeping us all alive and well.’
Next a family of hedgehogs walked up to Kenzie, crying. The little hogs’ eyes were red rimmed. ‘You killed our papa,’ cried one of the little hogs.
‘No, I didn’t, I love hedgehogs. I wouldn’t do that,’ said Kenzie.
‘Yes Kenzie...you did,’ said the fairy. ‘You used poison and slug pellets, which kill the slugs and snails slowly, painfully and in the most horrible, cruel way.’
Mrs. Hedgehog stepped forward, ‘and then hedgehogs, birds, foxes, badgers and other animals eat the slugs, and then we all die painfully too.’
‘Oh’ said Kenzie, ‘I didn’t realise, I didn’t mean to...’
Suddenly there was the sound of someone else crying. Kenzie looked up to see an image of her elderly neighbour, Marjory. Thin and weak, she was sobbing over her empty, barren vegetable garden.
‘My vegetables haven’t been pollinated,’ cried Marjory. ‘And now I don’t have anything to eat’.
‘You killed the pollinators Kenzie,’ said the fairy. ‘And as a result, there was nothing to pollinate Marjory’s vegetables. All the creatures great and small evolved in line with mother nature, we all have a role to play which has been carefully and symbiotically crafted’.
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The fairy continued, ‘and by killing different species, no matter how small or yucky or unimportant you think they are, there will be an unintended consequence. In this case there was nothing left to pollinate Marjory’s plants, which meant that she went hungry.’
Kenzie stared horrified at the fairy as she let her words sink in, what an awful thing to have happened. She really liked Marjory.
‘Kenzie, Kenzie, it’s mummy, can you hear me?’
Kenzie whipped her head around to see an image of herself lying in a hospital bed wearing an oxygen mask. Her mum was holding her hand, crying,
‘What has happened?’ Asked Kenzie wide-eyed.
‘You poisoned yourself Kenzie’, said a spider who dropped down delicately from a tree.
‘It’s because you killed all of us Kenzie,’ said the baby spiderlings who peeked out from behind the spider.
‘And then there was nothing to stop the outbreak of flies in the summer.’ The fairy flew forward. ‘Your house was overrun with flies and mosquitoes Kenzie, andyou used fly spray to kill them...’
‘But you used too much,’ whispered the spiderlings.
‘And you didn’t ventilate the room,’ sang the dragon flies, ladybirds and lace wings.
‘It’s poison after all,’ murmured the butterflies.
The image changed to Kenzie spraying her house and coughing violently.
‘You should have just left it to us Kenzie,’ said the spiders. ‘That’s what mother nature designed us for.’
A group of frogs jumped forward, ‘you can’t just go around killing living creatures in this way! Everything has a purpose and we have evolved to support each other. It’s called the eco- system.’
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Kenzie stepped back from them, her hand over her mouth, wide-eyed. ‘I’m so sorry, I had no idea, I didn’t realise how much harm I was causing...’
Suddenly Kenzie was falling backwards through space. The images swirling through her mind.
And then just like that, she was back in her room, in her bed. Kenzie leapt up, terrified. ‘Mum’ she called, ‘I’ve had such a horrible dream.’
Kenzie ran into her mum’s room crying and jumped up for a cuddle.
‘Kenzie what’s wrong?’ Asked her mum concerned.
‘Mum I’ve done such horrible things and I have been really selfish and because of me the whole planet and all of the animals and humans are going to die.’ Kenzie burst into tears again.
‘Oh gosh dear,’ said her mum. ‘I’m sure it can’t be that bad. Now what has happened?’
So, Kenzie proceeded to tell her mum all about the mean things she had done and then all about the messages she had received from mother nature.
Later that day Kenzie, her mum and Grandma went round to see Marjory. They had bought her lots of special plants to grow in her garden to attract bees, wasps, butterflies and other pollinators to help her vegetables grow. Marjory was very happy and touched by their gesture.
‘Now with all these flowers I’ll be sure to have a bumper crop growing this year,’ she said happily.
After visiting Marjory, Kenzie and her mum threw away all of the slug pellets and weed killer from the shed, agreeing never to use them again.
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‘Gosh, I’m sorry Kenzie. This one was my fault, I can’t believe that I ever thought it was okay to use poisons like these in the garden, but just look at the harms they cause’. Her mum gave her a hug, ‘thank you for teaching me how to be kinder Kenzie,’ she said.
Next Kenzie walked around her home saying sorry to all the remaining spiders and promising that she would never hurt them again and that she knew how important they are. She made her mum promise the same thing also. They threw away the fly spray, vowing never to buy any again.
The next day Kenzie was filming for instagram when she suddenly stopped. In front of her on the pavement there was a worm wriggling in pain. Calmly, she walked over and picked it up using a leaf and placed it in the grass where it was safe.
Then, she took out her phone again...
‘My name is Kenzie, and you are tuned into Kenzie Cool. Today we are talking about the importance of healing, respecting and preserving the eco-system, and the role which you and I can play in this...’
Children around her stopped to listen. Kenzie smiled at them and then strutted proudly down the street.
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