He-y, Come On Ou-t!

by Shinichi Hoshi

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In the story "He-y, Come on Ou-t," what does a concessionaire offer to do with the hole?

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"He-y, Come On Ou-t" by Shinichi Hoshi, a Japenese novelist who died in 1997, is a study in the short-sightedness of humanity.

Imagine, if you will, that a seemingly bottomless pit appears in place of one of your most sacred establishments.  What would you do with it?  This is the predicament the citizens of a small village, near the seashore, found themselves in after the passage of a typhoon.

At first, they cautiously scrutinized it.  Next, they fenced it off.  A variety of objects were put into it in order to try and determine its depth.  All to no avail, as it seemed bottomless.  Ultimately, scientist and others tried inspecting it to determine its dimensions and a use for it.  Since it had appeared on the site of an ancient shrine, the people talked of rebuilding a shrine over the hole.  Finally, it was determined to be of little value and possible danger.

It was at this point that a concessionaire offered to build a new shrine for the citizens of the village.  He would even build it closer to the village, making it more convenient for usage.  His only request was that the hole be given to him.  After pondering the man's motives, the villagers agreed to the proposal.

Ultimately, the new shrine was constructed and the vendor assumed ownership of the hole.  He put up signs and advertised the desirability of his new possession.  He touted it as the perfect receptacle for all things dangerous, unwanted, and in need of permanent disposal.   

The first test of its usefulness was nuclear waste.  That went off without a hitch.  The people were elated.  As more and more filthy and offensive things found their way into the hole, the village became a thing of beauty. The concessionaire, since he charged for use of the hole, could see himself becoming a very wealthy man.  After all, humanity was capable of producing an endless supply of undesirable objects.

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