A cold rain falls on Durham. Per the laws of physics, when the water hits the ground it runs downhill. It follows the path of least resistance, carrying with it the detritus of American consumer culture—Pepsi bottles, potato chip bags, six-pack rings, Miller Lite cans. It flows along roadsides and into storm drains. It emerges from culverts, where Lilliputian cascades feed ditches and gullies. It washes a cornucopia of garbage into Ellerbe Creek.