This is how it started, but soon enough it ESCALATED. Pretty soon I'm ferrying out handfuls of ash to the car and stuffing the glovebox full. Transporting it home and shoveling it into ash piles behind the garden shed (and then filling the garden shed). I'm hopped up on ash all day at this stage. It suggests to me that I do terrible things. It helps me dream up methods of better harvesting and secreting it. It helps me scheme more and more brilliant uses of this under-appreciated material.
At first these were purely entrepreneurial ventures. Many foods, you see, contain "ash" as ingredient. So I figure, if ash is one ingredient, why can it not be all ingredients? And I sell 100% ash burgers and ash soda from my food truck. I serve ash cones to delight and amaze children. As my appreciation for ash increased, I began to treat it less as a business and more as a religious pursuit. I began to get carried away.
It is good that I live in this little country on the bottom of the planet. It becomes easy to tell the fourteen-odd others "why, yes? There always has been a second island, friend. We do not live there simply because it is too dusty" and they agree and struggle to pull their feet free from the floor.
It has been long since I visited the North Island, but they remember me still. They think of me when a southerly snatches powder from the surface of my ashen desert, obscuring their green fields and polluting their clear waters and carrying my hysterical shrieks into their homes. And they look at one another knowingly, say nothing, and try not to think too hard whenever they notice a little mass missing here and there.