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December 27, 2017
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This article was rejected from McSweeney's and Clickhole. It now has a home here.

The exact same copy of Dreamworks Animation’s Flushed Away is in every single Walmart $5 DVD bin. There’s a slight tear on the upper left corner of the plastic. There is no topsticker label with the title, nor is there a security device inside.

Regardless of your locality, among copies of Walmart’s overstocked digital video disc collection, you’ll discover this copy of Flushed Away. You can look at, maybe even joke about getting it, but you can never commit to that purchase. If that barcode is scanned in a self-checkout line or by that older woman with the faint moustache, it could cause a dimensional rift annihilating life on Earth.

What was once “plumbing soon” to a theater near you, that performed well for critics and audiences, now exists as an inter-dimensional totem in Walmarts across the country. There must always be a totem.

Over the years, totems like The Iron Giant and Balto have been sold en masse due to overdue appreciation. But nobody will miss Flushed Away. No one will get nostalgic for this sewer-themed adventure starring the voice talents of Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet. It is the perfect level of “not good” enough to keep our dimension’s equilibrium.

Thanks to well-meaning aunts across the country, we can handle exactly one more purchase of Flushed Away before it is deemed “adequate” by the Elder Council. As soon as the receipt is printed, a new totem will take its place: Shark Tale. And no matter where you go, no matter how “high-brow” you think your friend group is, there will always be some asshole who will throw down five dollars on Shark Tale. Meaning, of course, that another surge of totem sales will shatter the divide between our dimension and the next.

So be warned, if ever you should encounter this DVD in a WalMart $5 bin, let it be. Or else life, the universe, and everything will be… flushed away.

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