Before she even had the support staff come in Charity hired two farmers to buy and stock the barn and corals with horses, cattle, pigs, and chickens so that people weren’t hurt when the animals were herded through the camp into the enclosures. She also hired two animal caretakers who were knowledgeable about many varied species and gave them money to buy a variety of creatures at the pet store like, reptiles, rodents, fish, birds, bunnies, a couple of cats, and dogs and set them up in the farm-house. The farmers and two caretakers stayed in the four-bedroom farm-house located near the barn and corals. Once the animals were safe and secure Charity brought in the large support staff such as supply clerks, nurses, retired firemen, thirty security guards, cleaners, cafeteria staff, and some international animal activists. Every trade was assigned a different color uniform: shirts, pants, boots, jackets, and name tags. Everyone stepped over each other to get their stations ready but Charity knew the chaos would keep them busy so they wouldn’t have time to probe and question her.

The environmental and animal extremists that Charity hired had committed break and enters and released caged animals and stole secret incriminating documents to use against huge companies that polluted through toxic dumping, air pollution, or other assaults against the environment. Charity gave them the title the Enviro Protectors. People love important titles and this group ate it up. She assigned a “general”; the oldest toughest looking guy. Besides his physical dominance he also had a loud mouth and was domineering so people listened to him. Charity told him where a pile of old army camouflage uniforms were to give out to everyone, and provided him with maps to the manufacturers’ warehouses, tools, cargo vans, and a couple of trucks. She told the general that she needed as many mannequins as possible children and adults, and all the spare body parts he could find, but no babies or animals and to line them up in the gym. The activists were pumped but as they loaded the mannequins they grumbled among themselves wondering how these inanimate objects could do anything? The General bellowed at them to quit bitching but he had thought the same thing. Was Charity going to put motors in them or computer intelligence of some sort? As nice a Charity seemed the General doubted she had the intelligence, money, or means to pull this off. He cursed under his breath and thought who gives a shit he was getting paid big bucks to do this so if this gig turns out to be a flop it was no skin off of his back.

Charity utilized the Enviro Protectors to help her process the “Enviro” that was what she decided to name the mannequins.  In the privacy of the school gym Charity was alone with the Enviro to hold the gypsy talisman against their forehead and say the Romanian words trǎi în armonie cu natura (live in harmony with nature). She woke them up in batches of twenty-five and asked the Enviro Protectors to lead them to the classrooms where they put on metallic uniforms to ensure they stayed in the same group. At first the activists were shocked because they were no dummies they knew these were not robots they were the inanimate mannequins that they had gathered up. So Charity told them they’d get an extra $20,000 each if they kept their mouth shut and did their job but if not they’d be held in segregation until the exercise was over and they’d leave with only half the cheque. “Well boys what are you waiting for get back to work” the General barked at them. Once again Charity was saved by the all mighty dollar and she managed to process over two hundred of the Enviros which was quite the feat.

That night as the Enviro Protectors patrolled the school hallways to ensure no harm came to the Enviros they were creep out at the blank stare and utter stillness of the mannequins. In the dark with only dimmed light in each room their silhouettes were haunting.

Illustrated by: Jason Hendrickson