Rena Williams loves new things. She can’t stand things that are worn, torn, broken, holey or basically not new! She once threw out a dress because it had a tiny loose stitch. She never plays with toys more than twice; (she allows a second play in case she forgot if she’s played with it before), and if anything breaks, she will never try to fix it.
Rena’s dad is the opposite; he would never throw anything out. He would take used things and turn them into something useful. One day he turned a broken vase into a guinea pig shelter. In fact, he had a whole collection of bits and pieces under the house; but Rena would never go there.
‘Urgh!’, she thought, ‘how disgusting!’
It was Saturday night and Rena was going through her room deciding what else she could throw away. She filled her throw out box with shoes that had worn laces, boring toys, games with missing pieces and an old lamp. She even thought that maybe she needed a new throw out box!
It was getting late and Rena was getting sleepy. As she lay in bed dreaming of all the new things she wanted, a small voice called out.
‘Hello? Can you help me?’ it squeaked, ‘I’m stuck!’
Rena looked everywhere, but couldn’t find where the voice was coming from.
‘In your old shoe!’ the voice cried.
She looked in to see a little hand sticking out; reached in carefully and gently pulled. A small creature popped out; picking sock fluff from his ears.
‘Hmmm, I could use this for something.’ He said; stuffing the sock fluff in his pocket.
Rena had never seen this type of creature before. It was only half as tall as she was; it had large eyes, big hands and wore overalls.
‘Hi I’m Teco, from Losh,’ he said politely, ‘I’m sorry to disturb you but this is important.’
‘Losh?’ Rena asked.
‘Yes Losh,’ he replied, ‘the Land of Second Hand,’
Rena still looked puzzled.
‘It’s where everything goes that humans throw away.’
‘I thought it all went to the dump,’ she said.
‘It does at first, but most of it sinks into the ground to our world,’ he replied, ‘I’ll explain more when we get there.’
‘When we get there?’ Rena asked, a little bit worried.
‘Yes!’ he said, ‘we have a crisis and we need your help!’ Teco sprinkled some sparkling dust over them both and they disappeared into the shoe.
In a matter of seconds, Rena whooshed through swirling colours, puffy clouds and popped through the end of a broken pipe.
‘Oh no,’ she cried, looking at her pyjamas which now had a small hole in them, ‘I’ll have to throw them away and get a new pair.’
Before she could think about what colour her new pyjamas might be, Rena saw the Land of Second Hand around her.
There were piles of junk everywhere. Each pile had a sign with a person’s name on it; a chute in the sky where more things would drop out of; and two Losh Workers in overalls, scooping the bits and pieces onto a conveyer belt.
Once the junk was on the belt, it travelled to other Losh Creatures who sorted through it; taking things away in carts.
Anything that wasn’t taken (which wasn’t very much), would travel along the conveyer belt and disappear into a large hole in the ground.
‘Everybody in your world has a pile like these,’ Teco explained, ‘we call it the throw aways.’
‘Even me?’ Rena asked.
‘Definitely you.’ Teco replied, ‘come and I’ll show you what we do with it.’
Rena met Teco’s daughter Lesty who was busy collecting more things from the junk belt (or ‘treasure belt’) as Lesty calls it.
‘So what do you do with all this stuff?’ Rena asked.
‘We re-use them to make things,’ Lesty explained. ‘We have markets every week, and sell things to each other, its lots of fun!’
Rena looked around Lesty’s room; thinking it was probably what it looked like under her own house where her dad made things.
Lesty had shelves of broken toys and games, piles of clothes, and lots of string and pieces of material hanging to dry; which Rena thought was very colourful.
‘I’m going to make a large blanket for my baby brother,’ Lesty said as Rena recognised one piece of material from her own baby blanket; it was bright blue.
‘I remember that!’ Rena said, thinking of the fun she had with that blanket.
Seeing Rena’s smiling face, Lesty took the blue material and a needle and thread.
‘Hold still,’ Lesty said as she stitched the material onto Rena’s pyjamas where the hole was. ‘There you go, good as new!’
Rena was amazed. Lesty was right; it had covered the hole perfectly. Rena felt the material patch and it was just as soft as she remembered.
Before she had time to thank Lesty, a loud warning siren roared across Losh.
‘What’s going on?’ Rena asked as Teco returned.
‘That’s what I wanted to show you,’ he replied, ‘but I’m afraid it could be too late!’
Teco, Rena and Lesty rode on a scooter (made from an old kettle) to what Rena thought was a mountain in the distance.
When they came closer, she realised it was not a mountain, but someone’s pile of throw aways which was nearly touching the chute in the sky. The pile had not two, not three but ten workers trying to keep up!
‘What’s wrong?!’ Rena asked, looking very worried.
One of the workers came running up to Teco.
‘Excuse me sir!’ he cried, ‘we can’t keep up with it, now the conveyer belts broken!’
Rena saw the workers running around calling for more help to move the junk that was piling onto the belt; making it collapse under the weight.
Teco looked up and saw smoke coming from the chute as it rattled; more throw away things were trying to push through but were now stuck.
‘It’s worse than I thought!’ Teco cried.
Rena was about to ask how she could help when something caught her eye. Something that made her feel terrible; the name on the sign said Rena Williams; and this was her pile of throw aways that was hurting the Land of Second Hand.
As the workers were about to give up hope, Rena saw an empty pit nearby. The chute above had cobwebs across it and the conveyer belt looked rusted.
‘Is that one broken?’ she asked.
‘No, that one’s your father’s,’ Teco replied, ‘he’s one of our best customers.’
After a moment of feeling proud about her dad, Rena had a great idea.
Because she was bigger than everyone else she found it easy to pile things onto her dad’s conveyer belt. Some of the workers ran over to get it started; it choked and spluttered, then sprang to life as Rena piled more things onto it.
Soon her mountain of throw aways began to get smaller; and the chute wasn’t stuck any more. The workers cheered at Rena for saving the day.
Lesty even gave her a present; a colourful pair of shoelaces made from string twisted around each other.
‘Thanks Rena,’ Teco smiled, ‘but how are we going to stop it from happening again?’
Rena knew there was only one solution; so she made a promise that would help the creatures of Losh.
When Rena woke up the next morning; she took the colourful shoelaces from Lesty and put them into her old shoes and they really did look fantastic!
Better than new ones!
She then took her box of throw aways and visited her dad under the house.
When she got there, the sight was amazing; it looked just like Lesty’s room, but bigger!
Her dad was very happy to see her and together they came up with some great ideas on what to make her old things into.
He even made for Rena her own fix it kit. It had handy things like scissors, glue, needle and thread, wire, sticky tape and all sorts of interesting bits and pieces for whenever she wanted to create her own Land of Second Hand.