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Location: marengo, il, United States

Monday, January 24, 2005

The Exotic Fantasy Flower

I looked up as I walked by, and saw the wilted plant. How forgetful of me. It hadn’t been watered for more than three months. I concluded from this oversight, after seeing the condition of a lone blossom, that the beautiful thing had died. The large delicate petals had begun to fold inward and wither.

Carefully taking the pot in one hand while draping the near-lifeless vine across an arm, I rushed the thing to the kitchen table, wondering why I stored it on top of our white refrigerator in the first place. Sunlight never reaches there, but I didn’t dwell on that.

First I fetched the watering jug. A quick shot into the container, and then a brown liquid swirled around inside, kicking up a miniature but brief wet dust storm. I sat for a minute to watch it settle. Then pinching the slender stalk gently and lifting the plant, I examined its roots.

Matted together, the mossy wetness looked healthy enough, but then to my sudden surprise, I noticed the flower had already unfurled. Four inches across, its lavender face lifted and stared up at me indignantly. I immediately knew what it wanted, so I replaced the roots back into the water with great hope.

But once more the water swirled, becoming opaque and brown. Now wait a second, I thought. What’s going on here? I leaned closer as silt fell to the bottom, and waited for the water to turn clear again.

Then I saw them.

Three tiny creatures appeared to be running in circles, moving with the flow of enclosed liquid. A larger one clung to the side, just above the waterline. I removed it with a finger and held him close to my face for inspection. From his unique marking I recognized the larval stage of the Japanese Aquatic Dancing Wilt, a ferocious foe of the Exotic Fantasy Flower, so I killed him.

After dropping his squashed carcass in the garbage, I turned around. Silly plant. It had left its container. I saw it crawling slowly up the wall, heading desperately for light streaming from a near-by window. I captured the vine quickly and inserted the roots back into the container.

Again the water swirled. I planned on dealing with them later, but first to the needs of my baby.

One high and recessed window looked safe for the plant. While standing on a chair and coaxing things into place, the wife walked in holding my son’s hand.

“He lied to his teacher today.”

“I’m having troubles with this plant, dear.”

“But he lied.”

“Fine. Send him to the den and let him get on the computer. Have him type out an apology.”

While he busied himself, I recounted to her the latest news, during which she suggested I go and check our son’s progress.

Putting the tale on hold, I walked past the refrigerator and into the den.

I knew in an instant something was wrong. On the desk sat the industrial-looking startup monitor. The regular one was gone. So was the tower and the keyboard. The desk looked bare except for the cockeyed minute metal box facing me. When I turned around and saw the up-turned table and the scattered and emptied drawers, my suspicions that we had been robbed during the brief conversation were confirmed.

And then the shock of it all woke me up.

16 Comments:

Blogger Gone Away said...

So that's where you've been all morning! Working away while I've been taxing my creativity for new ways to delay the moment when work is unavoidable. Scandalous, I calls it, scandalous, sir!

And yet the piece is a pretty fantasy, culled from an actual dream, I do not doubt. It's cheese does it, you know, cheese. Less of that last thing at night and you should sleep like a baby...

2:41 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Cheese helps, eh? And here I thought it was Moral Court. Hey, two posts for the price of one...yee-doggies.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Jay said...

Another great reason why nachos should never be consumed right before bedtime.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

All the more reason to eat them, Jay.

4:22 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Hmmmm. It's taken so long to get in here, I've forgotten what I was going to say. Oh yes, the double comment. All down to Blogger, say I. Darn thing just sat there when I hit "Publish Your Comment", so eventually I stopped it and tried again. Then, of course, it remembered the first comment and published it twice. Stupid thing.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Any way you cut it, the counter doo-dad works, so I don't mind, Gone.

4:38 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

A little secret, Harry. Every time you refresh, it counts another hit. Mwahahahahaha.

7:07 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

And you discoved MY little secret!

7:30 PM  
Blogger Hannah said...

When having neglected a tree for years, and watering it once a month or so, one must not suddenly start watering it as much as the books say. The roots, not being used to the proper amount of water, will rot, and the plant will die.

Quite a few of the Holocaust survivors died after being liberated for the same reason-- their systems were not used to richer food, and couldn't handle the shock.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

Then Hannah, we must warn unsuspecting visitors to the blogging world. For having wandered through the vast idea-impoverished world of blogging,then by chance happening upon such a feast of imagination, creativity and talent such as is Harry's blog, they may find their appetites their enemy and succumb to its superior fare.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Not being a tree



makes it hard to relate



to its woes,



I suppose

9:54 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

Why, thank you Ned. You charmer you.

9:59 PM  
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