A fecal mission

Was reading a Reddit thread on the subject of:

If you won 100 million dollars with the stipulation that you can only spend it on evil, what would you buy?

Read this comment

Send every person in the world a box of elephant shit.

— and thought: This is something which should be done carefully.

First, there aren’t that many elephants in the world. You should spray money around to get a permanent base in a natural park somewhere in Africa; enough money that nobody’s going to look too deeply into the “research” you are doing, once it is obvious you’re not a poacher or a poacher-enabler.

Then, slowly, without too much fuss, you would scoop up a few hundred kilos of elephant poop each day, and send it out. It would take years, maybe decades; that would be okay, as long as you sent the poop out quicker than people died.

(Reality note: That’s 155 000 boxes per day. Lots of elephants, or very small boxes. Also, 100 million dollars is not a lot when there are 7 billion people, minimum, to deal with. Solution: catch poachers, kill them in underground Fight Club-style tournaments. Leverage your popularity with the locals to form an insurgency, and take over the country. Use its diamond, natural gas or warm flesh deposits to fuel your mad poop-flinging crusade. Stay in power for as long as you need by secretly funding a tame guerrilla force of Marxist Muslim cannibals, and hugging America for help.)

Since the Great Sending would take years and years, people would develop a culture around it.

A culture of waiting.

A culture of anxiety and expectation.

“All my neighbors have been pooped already — why not me?”

The sending would be almost random. People would be beside themselves as a friend told a box had come for them; they would dropkick a package from Amazon into a wall, having mistaken it for the Famous Box.

And then, when their day came around at last, they would hug the box, kiss it, whirl it around in joy… and open it, and find elephant poop inside. Instant letdown, since their expectation had overwhelmed their knowledge of the contents. And now the box had come to them. Now there was nothing to look forward to. This was the one truly universal experience, the touchstone of the age… and now it was done for them, leaving nothing but a cardboard container of increasingly rank fecal matter.

Worse still, there would be a secret one-ten-millionth that would not get a box. They would be chosen by trawling online for the most brightly expectant box-enthusiasts.

For some of the boxless, a neighbor of theirs would get a second box — as the boxes would come anonymously, without any explanation, there would be nobody to complain to, no-one to petition for redress. The neighbor might offer the box to the boxless, but it wouldn’t be quite right. Surely one had to wait for one’s own… and then years would pass, and doubt settle in. Maybe it had been my box after all? But why not just the almost correct address, but the utterly incorrect name too? Would it be too late to ask for the box… no, it would be like concrete now, if the neighbor had even kept the box.

Then, one day, a box arrives. But there’s something subtly wrong with it. The poop isn’t as majestically, heavily elephantine as it should be, not as redolent of Africa and mystery. It’s sent from Spain, not from a small African nation that detests investigative journalists. One thinks, remembers one’s sister had been holiday-ing in Spain, one had been griping about the boxless life… oh, a pity box of poop.


Country profile: Ruvuma Democratic Republican Independent Republic (formerly a part of Tanzania)

Population: 1 million

Motto: Ex Africa, excrementum arcanum omnibus

Main imports: paper products, glue

Main industries: The National Post employs 35% of the population, and the National Elephant Drop-Harvest another 30%

Important people:

  • Johnny Kinyesi, inventor of the interspecies fecal transplant
  • Johnny Kinyesi Jr., sculptor (“The Dung Family”, “Elephant Attacked by Worms of Its Own Creation”)
  • Johnny Kinyesi Jr. II, businessman, chair of Ruvu Boxmaster Industries, founder of the Biomatter Customs Safety Trust.
  • Gerard Depardieu, actor, formerly a French and Russian citizen


  • Persistent rumors of animal mistreatment in the national parks; see “A Kind of Foie Gras: Converter Elephants and Fecal Points of Contention in Africa’s Most Bizarre Villainocracy” by Nosy McInvestigator.
  • The UPS/DHL International Airport is the largest in the region, but handles very few passenger flights. Landing conditions are usually good, and the plane washing service is the best in the world.
  • All photography is forbidden, and the first sentence of the constitution is “Disregard the poop boxes.” This edict is zealously enforced by the Secret Police’s Brown Squad.
  • Ruvuma uses the death penalty for mostly trivial and random offenses, and effects it through crushing with an elephant. The actual elephant is a taxidermied specimen filled with lead shot, tied to the end of a fifty-meter haft lifted by legions of civil servants. (Design by J. Kinyesi of the Epic Aesthetics In Law Enforcement Agency)
  • The country’s leader has a reputation for single-minded eccentricity; on every state visit he has given the same gift.



Q: If there was a cartoon animal version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, what would be the name of Cosette’s mother?

A: Elefantine.

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