The Bucket Heads

On our planet named Nu Turain almost everything is perfect and right. I love it here and though they tell me that Earth is nice, I have never thought of leaving this beautiful place. Our landscapes are filled with extraordinary flora and fauna not found on Earth or any other of the carbon based planets. There are three hundred foot high trees with bark like obsidian and limbs like perfectly formed tapered steel girders on a high rise building (but they are not). The leaves are tiny and resemble flat jewels that twinkle brightly in the sunshine. In fact all of our trees and grasses shimmer like a stained glass landscape. The single flaw in our atmosphere is perhaps the only bad thing I can say about Nu Turain. You see, the sun shines brightly most of the time, rains sometimes, but occasionally rains pure dark purple poison schieze.
Nu Turain regular rain is good, but most people only go out when it is sunshine or lightly sprinkling because good rain often turns to bad rain without warning. Everyone knows to avoid the purple poison schieze rain because it smells horrible and when it gets on us, it irritates us, causing misery and pain. It also stains the skin and clothing a royal dark purple. Yuk! I got caught out a lot as a child but now that I am older I am more cautious. Still, I have purple blotches on my head and shoulders. Thank goodness I am smart enough to know as well, that to linger in the purple poison schieze rain it will seep into pores and poison us, making us bitter and miserable and quite literally dark.
From our planets written history we understand that once a person is poisoned, they in turn, start to poison others. Sneezing, coughing or talking releases droplets of poison potentially affecting all around us. It can get into our clothing, carpet, bed sheets and our food. The key is to avoid it in the first place but if you get caught in it, get out quick and get clean quickly!
Amazingly, it has been also recorded in our annals that some folks have gotten through an entire lifetime after walking through all the hills and valleys without every getting caught in the purple poison schieze rain. Perhaps they never risked anything or had cause to be out in the purple poison schieze rain. Maybe it was pure coincidence that purple poison schieze rain only fell when they were in doors. This has been a cause for great speculation because, as a species, we still have not learned how to render ourselves completely safe from the purple poison schieze rain.
Raincoats and umbrellas of various materials were tried, but the corrosive rain eats through everything but the heavy diamond shields the police and fireman use. But the shields still drip at the edges and ultimately fail to be 100% effective. It has also been recorded that excessive time spent in the purple poison schieze rain causes a myriad of health problems and even premature death. We do know that our bodies can clean the poison but it can only clean so much before our natural body filters fail.
For people saturated completely with poison a mere touch could harm others. Everyone can readily see by their actions and movements that they are poisoned. It is no surprise that people avoid these poisoned wretches. The only help anyone can give them is simple prudent advice about staying out of the poisoned rain. Most people who are poisoned seem drawn towards the poisoned rain and never know when to come in out of it. Some scholars and scientists suggest that the poison seeps into the brain and causes people to lose all reason. That might explain why the poisoned people never seem to have enough sense to avoid the downpours.
Some philosophers speculate that our chief purpose in life is to travel in this terrain and avoid the purple poison schieze rain. Some poets have written that we need a little of the purple poison in our lives and even though it makes us hurt it also makes us feel alive. They mention how warm sunshiny days seem to be more intense and glorious, after being caught in a purple poison downpour. Some politicians have noted that the poison is contagious, because on our planet, some countries seem inundated with dangerous puddles of poison and the people all try to kill each other because they are so miserable.
Whatever the philosophers or scientists say, the common folks know the five simple laws of surviving the purple poison schieze rain.
1.) Avoid exposure at all cost to include insisting friends and f amily be vigilant and exposure free as possible. Do not travel to where exposure is likely.
2.) Watch for and avoid residual puddles even on sunny days
3.) If caught in a downpour, seek shelter immediately and clean up thoroughly
4.) Assist others who have been exposed, but avoid being contaminated
5.) If you are overly saturated seek help in cleaning up but do the hardest work yourself so as not to burden others
Last year a major advance was made on the dark side of our planet where it rains more purple poison schieze rain than here on the bright side. It seems that the ministry of safety, seeking to mitigate crime and craziness passed an ordinance requiring all inhabitants on the dark side of Nu Turain to be fitted with 2 gallon titanium buckets to be worn on the head. These buckets would help scientists better study the amount of purple poison schieze rain each citizen was exposed to. The buckets would further act as a temporary shield from the poison as people sought cover.
An interesting if comic report was released to the media which helps explain what happened on the dark side after the “Bucket Law” was enacted. What happened to the inhabitants of the dark side may be a cautionary tale for us all. The results in perfect hindsight were perhaps predictable but will no doubt help us here on the bright side, to better navigate Nu Turain. Note:
The people first revolted when the law was enacted but when martial law was established everyone was fitted with the new container hats which people deride as bucket hats. Some people called them potty hats while others called them titanium turbans. Despite the initial reluctance, people found themselves proudly donning the contraptions and helping science by measuring the exact amount of purple poison they collected every day.
Many wrote letters thanking the government for the free rain hats. Others sued the government for neck injuries and this has cost us considerable effort to mitigate. We have had our scientists create a shoulder support apparatus for the headpiece for all weak necked people and the elderly/young. We have had no complaints yet except for the name calling which seems a likely consequence of having different containers for different body types. The names we have heard so far are weak neck, weak ass-neck, water tower head, buttressed bolero head, and on and on. We believe the name calling will stop after everyone gets used to the idea of carrying that extra weight around.
An unintended consequence of the containers is that people would forget to dump them after rushing out of the rain. There have been thousands of reports of people accidently dumping on their whole family trying to embrace when greeting. More than one meal was ruined by a father leaning forward to pass the potatoes only to spill his container into the gravy. Kids playing video games shook small amounts onto themselves and their homes whilst jiggling control devices. Policemen spilled on old ladies they helped across the street. Bakers spilled in pies, butchers spilled on ribs, bankers spilled on money and customers. Fortunately only a small amount of people were forgetting to dump their poisons before attending to anything else once indoors. We believe the populace will get used to these containers and mishaps will be fewer as time goes on.
In reporting these “spills” we would be remiss if we did not mention the mall effect which accounts for masses of people seeking shelter only to jostle and spill on each other causing a panic. It seems that when even accidental spills occur, a panic starts with people trying to resist being poisoned, slosh all over each other in a race to get clear of the spilling. Fights break out and then people deliberately dump on each other. Pure mayhem! The result is a lot of litigation over slip and falls with attendant pain and suffering. We are not sure how to proceed in the mall, arena or other public gathering venues, but we are working on it. Some suggestions have been to erect dumping /measuring sites at all of these venues and insist people dump before entering. We have outlawed all public mass gatherings in the meantime.
For us on the bright side we can consider ourselves lucky that we live in a somewhat healthier atmosphere. If we use caution we will not have to suffer the fate of the bucket heads. Most importantly we should follow and live by the five rules of happiness:
1.) Avoid exposure to poison schieze at all cost to include insisting friends and family be vigilant and exposure free as possible. (e.g. Do not travel to where exposure to schieze is likely.)
2.) Watch for and avoid residual purple poison puddles even on sunny days
3.) If caught in a downpour, seek shelter immediately and clean up thoroughly
4.) Assist others who have been exposed, but avoid being contaminated
5.) If you are overly saturated seek help in cleaning up but do the hardest work yourself so as not to burden others

The Bucket Heads


Dolan Springs, United States

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Artist's Description

A story about a planet which has toxic rain and how inhabitants cope.

Artwork Comments

  • JRGarland
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