"The Destructors" is a 1954 short story about young boys who destroy a house, written by Graham Greene. The story is ironic—showing how destruction is allegedly a form of creation. The story is set in the mid-1950s, and is about a boys' gang named the "Wormsley Common Gang", after the place where they live. Trevor, or "T.", the protagonist, devises a plan to destroy a beautiful two hundred-year-old house that survived The Blitz. Under T., their new leader, the gang accepts the plan and executes it when the owner of the house, Mr. Thomas (whom the gang call "Old Misery"), is away during a bank holiday weekend. Their plan is to destroy the house from inside, then tear down the remaining outer structure. Mr. Thomas returns home early, however, and the gang locks him in the outhouse and leader, T., refuses to stop until the destruction job is complete, because even the facade is valuable and could be reused. Inside, they find a mattress filled with money—but they burn it nonetheless. The final damage to the house is done when a parked lorry pulls away a support pole from the side of the house. Mr. Thomas is released from the outhouse by the aforementioned lorry's driver and after being laughed at is left with the dusty rubble of what once was his home.
In the film Donnie Darko (2001), the title character contributes to discussion of "The Destructors" in his English class, stating "The Destructors" suggests destruction is a form of creation. A parent of a pupil protests the use of this book in the curriculum during a PTA meeting, implying that it inspired an incident of vandalism to the school—a broken water main, which flooded the school—in a way similar to the protagonists of the Greene story.