A batch of giant crayons sits ready for export at Diddley’s Landing public pier on Blacktip Island. The crayons, made from reclaimed booby bird guano, have boosted the island’s economy and eliminated a public heath crisis.
Blacktip Island government and business leaders teamed up this week to solve an island public health concern and calm unemployment worries by opening a factory to make wax markers from booby bird guano.
“Droppings from all these birds was a making folks sick,” said public health chief Herring Frye. “It dries into dust, then the wind blows it everywhere. Folks all over the island were hacking and coughing and whatnot.
“We collected a bunch of it, it was too expensive to ship off island,” Frye said. “And the reef huggers wouldn’t let us chuck it in the sea. That’s when ol’ Doc stepped in and saved our bacon.”
Island entrepreneur Piers “Doc” Plank had recently patented a process that turned bird waste into multi-colored wax.
“It started as a gimmick to sell for writing underwater,” Plank said. “When I saw the mountain of bird poop Herry’d collected, well, the light bulb went off. What do you do with a giant pile of poo? Turn it into crayons, of course.
“Island unemployment dropped to zero when we hired staff for processing, distribution and sales,” Plank said. “And there’s a whole lot less wheezing now, too.”
Plank noted the facility manufactures markers of all sizes for a variety of uses.
“We started with industrial-sized ones to use for striping the road and landing strip,” Plank said. “They’re even coloring navigational beacons with them. The wax is brighter than paint, and holds its color longer.
“Of course, we also make the standard-sized crayons you’d expect, for underwater slates and kids’ coloring,” Plank said. “We’re marketing those as ‘Poopons.’”
Many islanders have embraced the markers.
“It’s kind of nasty, using crayons made from bird poop,” said local Olive Beaugregory. “But Doc’s factory separates outs the impurities. They don’t smell much, I’ve never seen such vivid colors, and knowing they’re made from poop keeps the kiddos from eating them. Well, most of the kiddos.”
Not all residents are happy with the factory, though.
“When the wind’s from the east, you’d think something died over there,” said Palometa Fischer, who lives next door. “Our eyes water, and the dogs have a nasty cough now. Mr. Plank did give the kids free crayons, though, so we make the best of it.”
Other locals are concerned the manufacturing masks a more sinister product.
“One of the little-known byproducts of Doc’s ‘cleaning’ process is trinitrotoluene,” said island political activist Harry Pickett. “You think it’s a coincidence those big markers look like warheads? TNT on Blacktip Island’s a disaster waiting to happen.”
Officials denied the claim.
“All this missile talk is pure crap,” Frye said. “We’d only use crayons for defensive purposes.”