It was a sunny, humid day in South Florida when Tim, Flash, and Jen were very bored and had nothing to do. “I’m about to faint,” said Jen. “Me too” said Tim. ”Let’s go to the river,” said Flash. So the three walked about a mile from Tim’s house to Hutchinson’s River. A river, that feeds into the Atlantic. , At the end of town. It was a very beautiful, well kept river that people of all ages enjoyed. They couldn’t wait to jump in until they saw dead fish floating on the top of the water and other creatures washed up on the shore lifeless. The kids were stunned. “ Let’s get out of here,” said Jen. So they all left. They ran back to Tim’s house and told Tim’s mom. His mom thought he was joking and said, “ No one has ever harmed that river, go back outside and play. So they sat on the porch all day until the sun went down and said nothing. So about 8 o’clock Flash and Jen said they had to go because it was getting dark. But Tim stayed on the porch until he came up with something to do about the river. He asked his mom, “ Mom what’s the polices’ phone number.” She told him and he called. The police arrived at his door at about 9 a.m. the next morning. So about 9:30 Flash and Jen came down the street to Tim’s house. “ Why is a police car at Tim’s house.” “ I don’t know,” said Jen in return. So they rang the doorbell and Tim’s father came to the door and let them in. Tim and the police were sitting in the living room talking. “ Just in time” said Tim. “Officer Jones and I are about to go the river to see what’s wrong” he added. So the three and the officer drove down to the river. The officer got out and was amazed at what he saw. He stood in silence, as did the others for about five minutes. Then the officer said, “I looks like a poison of some kind that’s killing the animals.” So he went to the squad car and called the necessary people to figure out what kind of poison it was. So about 15 minutes later a van with a sign on the outside saying, ‘STATE UNIVERSITY’ came down the road to the river. A guy in lab coat set up a bunch of equipment. The kids were in awe of the technique. After 5 mins, the man told the officer to come over and they talked for awhile. Then Flash said, “ What poison is it.” The man walked over and replied, “ Its Mercury a metallic element, with the periodic symbol Hg.” “It’s s silver clear color and mirrorless and it was discovered in an Egyptian tombs in 1500 BC. Then Jen asked, “ I thought Mercury was a liquid, like in thermometers.” “True, but it is the 1 of 2 existing at room temperatures. Also its melting point is for cesium 28.5 C, gallium 30 C, and rubidium 39 C and boils at 356.9 C. It has good electrical conductivity. It’s density is 13.5” replied the man. “ All those numbers are good and all but can the mercury kill and is dumping it illegal?” asked Tim. “Yeah, it can cause skin disorders, hemorrhage, liver and kidney disease.” “ And yes it is illegal to dump mercury because of just this it kills aquatic life and hurts people” said the guy. So they all went home and went on with their lives, but still were worried about the river. About 2 weeks later Officer Jones came by. So Tim’s mom called the kids in the house. So they exchanged hellos. “ The police force found out who dumped the mercury” said Officer Jones. “ WHO?” said the kids in unison. “ The President of Barometers Inc. and a few of his workers” he said. “ What’s going to happen to them?” said Flash. “ Let just say they’ll be having nothing to dump for 10-15 years?” said Officer Jones.


randlof, randall, 1998 Random house: ny, pp. 01-12