Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Plant Life (Part 1)

I do not use dopes and I told them this, and firmly, and my words left no room for misunderstanding. I was the responsible one. The sober adult. I was leading by example.

When they – and by “they,”  I mean Eggplant, Rufus, Star, and Ethel Bunny – came to me with this hallucinatory vine of theirs or whatever it was, I squared my shoulders and I looked them straight in the eyes and I said to them, “Um, we-e-ellll… I don’t know. I really sho-o-ouldn’t. I have to work tomorrow, and then there’s this cold I’ve been fighting off, and, well…”

I hope they didn’t think I was being too harsh or judgmental, but I needed for there to be no doubt whatsoever that the days of me running around, partaking in their reckless little childish games were through.

Rufus said, “We weren’t asking you to take the drug with us, Katy! We just needed a spotter’s’all.”

I considered feeling insulted.

Thought about it. Weighed my options.

In the end, I loaded the whole lot of them – Eggplant, Rufus, Star, and Ethel Bunny, along with the Glob and some flashlights and this questionable hallucinatory vine (“It turns the user into a plant!”) (“So recently discovered that the government hasn’t had time to outlaw it yet!”) – all into my van and VROOOOM! off we went.

It was late and we drove for quite some time and I parked the van right smack on the banks of Cypress Creek herself. We all piled out and we checked for cops and then we snuck (Shhh! Quietly, quietly!) into the woods at the back of Meyer Park.

There were trees all around us, along with bushes and some other leafy things, and once in a while, we could hear something scurrying through the underbrush.

I think it was “underbrush,” anyway. I’m a big city girl and these technical terms of the natural world are a foreign language to me.

Let’s just say it was underbrush…

Eggplant found a spot on the ground and he sat down, and he got out this little box from his jeans pocket. I could not see what he was doing with it. He said, with zero irony, “Katy, if we start growing roots, please cut us free within half an hour.”

Then Rufus sat down across from Eggplant, and Star and Ethel Bunny and the Glob all found their places, too. Soon, they were sitting in a circle on the ground in the dark, and they were passing around a pungent cigar of some kind.

I stood way back and I listened. With the flashlight off, I could only see the cherry of the cigar. Soon, there was not even that left to see.

Star chuckled a low, weak laugh – slow and getting slower – until it ran… down and… finally… stopped entirely. This was followed by… nothing. Nothing at all. No exclamations, no hollow profundities, no “What if the Earth is just, like, an electron, and our solar system is an atom that’s part of some bigger creature, man?”

Nope. Nothing.

Now, I played the good spotter. The wary sentinel. The guard standing guard. I checked my phone for the time. I checked my silent, zoned-out friends for any incipient roots.

But nope. Nothing.

After twenty-five minutes of nothing, I felt an urge to use the ladies room, only there wasn’t a ladies room anywhere around. Or, rather, everywhere was a potential ladies room, only with more underbrush and scurrying things than I was used to.

I flipped on my flashlight. I slipped off to find the least buggy and least underbrushy spot that could be found.  

I swear, I was only gone for a couple of minutes, tops! And anyway, I was only a few lousy yards away from the circle!

But get this: When I got back from my (quick! It was so quick!) bathroom break, my friends were gone. No sign or sound of them leaving. Not even an impression on the ground where they’d been.

Nothing but some grass, some leaves, and some of what I’ve been calling underbrush.

*           *           *           *           *

“Okay, now calm down, Katy.”  My boss, Adri, was being ridiculously, inexcusably reasonable.

She said, “Do you and your friends ever play jokes on each other?”

My friends and I play elaborate jokes on each other all of the time. But I’d been awake all night worrying and I wanted to be taken seriously.  “Never!”  I said.

Adri said, “And you checked at their houses, at their jobs, with their friends…?”

My friends had vanished. Maybe even turned into plants. It was all my fault. But I could not let my boss know I was panicking.

I said, “They have vanished – maybe even turned into plants! – and it is all my fault.”

My co-worker, Harry – this old guy who’d once been arrested in the parking lot of a strip club for snorting unprescribed Viagra off the back of his hand in front of a cop – he was more circumspect. This old guy kept everything in perspective. 

Harry said, “Do you have any more of the vine they smoked?”

In my van, I had more of the vine they’d smoked.

Harry looked at me, and he was serious and he was wise and he was speaking from the heart. He said, “You’ve got to go in after them, Katy!”

He said, “This is on you.”

He said, “You have to go back there and smoke that vine and talk to the plants in that circle and see if they’re what’s left of your friends!”

I looked over at Adri. I looked back at Harry.

At that moment, not one of us could come up with a better idea.

To be continued…


  1. I hope you went down the rabbit hole! Some of my best friends are psychoactive!

    1. It's going to take 3 blog posts to tell that. I'm not sure why I can't ever be more succinct.

  2. The Jack-in-the-Box reported "The egguberant Eggman orchestrated the great eggcape from the unreality eggsperiment via the hole in Eggplant's jean pocket"

    1. I always use the same names for whatever circle of friends I hang with in my blogs. One reader broke my code last year.

      Probably because I'm only 1/3rd as clever as I like to believe...

    2. yeah caught that... just could come up with a clever bunny comment - data overflow...

      have you ever noticed... that when you find something, it's always the last place you look?

    3. Not me. I keep looking... or else I start from the last place and work my way backwards!

  3. You have friends named Eggplant, Rufus, Star, and Ethel Bunny and you DON'T get high on the regular? Something is amiss. Also, this sounds like a lot of lead-up to you getting super high and staring at black light posters. Also, what's the timeline between losing them and talking with Adri and Harry? Did you ditch the spot and leave the wayward high folk to skitter among the brush without hope of retrieval and transportation? Will all these and more be answered next time in the continuing adventures of LiMS!?!

    1. Hi, Pickleope! This one is a 3-parter.

      I need this.

      It was starting to look like a mom-blog around here.

      In part 2, I shank a homeless dude for no reason.

  4. Here I am, captivated by a story that has managed to capture my undivided attention. Just as I'm forgetting about my surroundings and submerging myself into a world where text is effortlessly turning itself into image— POW, welcome back to reality, to be continued.

    I mean, it's impressive. It's a tease but I'm not upset. I'm just slightly annoyed I have to wait for part 2.

    1. I'm okay with frustrating people.

      I try and make this as grueling a process as possible.

      Carrot and stick, buddy. Carrot and stick...

  5. Do you know that on this day twenty-four years ago a few thousand peace-loving and democracy-seeking civilians got mowed down by tanks and AKs and bayonets on a boulevard called Heavenly Peace?

    And you commemorated it with a story about a few spoiled American good-for-nothing white-neck druggies getting stoned in the woods?

    And you helped?

    I am taking down my rainbow-color gay-rights ribbon right now!

    1. There's so much wrong with this comment.

      First of all, you haven't read parts 3 and 4 yet, which could be every bit as historic as Tiananmen Square.

      Second, I am not at all sure that China's changes since 1989 - which has led that country to the same kind of unsustainable, state-run consumerist society we are flying through in the West, but on steroids - has been a good thing.

      Third, we can live in the past or make our future. It's like the folks who will say MLK and the civil rights movement were important but then turn around and condemn modern struggles for rights.

      Yeah. A bunch of kids smoking vines in the woods could be THE FUTURE!!! (Yeah. That's right.)

    2. The thing is, what the vast majority over there have decided to do in the past two decades was exactly what your friends were doing in the woods: numbing themselves with the biggest drug of them all -- money.

      Revolution is a tricky business, where critical mass is hard to predict and plan for. Yet, they all know that the whole thing can implode at any moment, which has been exactly why the shameless and heartless dictators there have been so brutal towards all signs of dissent and political freedom.

      More the reason we are to remind everyone of the significance of this day, and to whack the heads of your brainless friends into doing something useful and meaningful with their privileged lives.

    3. I don't agree. Life is for living. I hear this from a lot of politically-dedicated people, that everyone who is not working for Cause A is a Useful Idiot or indirectly helping the enemy or whatever.

      I think that's garbage.

      We each have a responsibility to ourselves to live our lives regardless of what circumstances we find ourselves in. If someone stays sane by watching reality television and eating bonbons, I say go for it. I probably won't find that person very useful or interesting, but I do wish them happiness.

    4. Taking drugs and turning into plants are not the same as watching television and eating bonbons. Among the infinite possibilities of this universe, some are simply too extreme, dangerous, and self-destructing for anyone to test fate with. Unless your friends are suicidal, of course; then again, if they are then they should have just walked in front of a city bus. I doubt that they will stop the city bus in its tracks, like that guy did to a column of T62 tanks.

      It is just irresponsible to waste away their privileged lives by doing stupid things under the guise of "feeling" or "living" life in ways that are frivolous and harmful to themselves and to others. Hey, it may be cool to sniff paint and get that high, until your brain is fried and you can't even remember what you had for breakfast. "But they stay sane this way," you may say. But really? Okay, be my guest, go sniff more paint then! As long as it makes them happy, right? Right.

    5. This is sort of symptomatic of having had a War on Drugs for forty years. Equating plant hallucinogens and huffing paint, I mean.

      It's simply not the same thing in any way, shape, or form.

      My saying that does not mean I take drugs or endorse the taking of drugs. It means only that taking a plant hallucinogen in a controlled environment and huffing paint are so different that it is dangerous that we lump them in together in our society.

  6. Adri could share the experience with you, I'm thinking. Two heads are better than one. Ask Adri.

    (By the way, I read all your posts - but I can't reply tot hem from my cell-phone, which is where I usually read them from.)

    1. Hi, Bill!

      I have heard that posting comments from blogger is hell. Cal reminds me of this on a regular basis.

      I wrote all three parts of this (the other two will get posted eventually), and then started thinking about your mushroom story. It was one of my faves of yours, and things get caught in the mix occasionally.

    2. Yes, I'm guilty of reminding you. In fact, I'm replying from my cell phone right now... mainly because this illness, which seems to be strep throat, has left me too weak to walk. I just hope it isn't some strange complication with my heart surgery.

      Unless I went too long without oxygen during my surgery, commenting on blogger with a cell phone is INDEED hell.

    3. I think blaming blogger instead of your brain is a safe bet. I hope that's what is happening, anyway.

      You can always replace a cell phone. Brain transplants are still in the experimental stages...

  7. Your friends (possibly) turned into plants, but my friends were always plants. I'm about 97% sure that Brandon's just a venus fly trap that I water with craft beer.

    1. When you finally realize something like that, it's like the big "reveal" scenes at the end of "Fight Club" or "6th Sense," where they flash over all the scenes of the film to see how it all fits together.

      I mean, that's how I felt when I was finally told that I'm just a box-fan with two chipped blades, anyway.

  8. You have to watch out for those vines. They will trap you when you least expect it.

    1. Plants are very sneaky. They will lay low for a few million years, act like they can't hear us or understand us - and certainly can't carry knives - only to pull off a sneak attack one day.

  9. I knew a girl who was so far in, she thought she was a tomato, but no matter how much she insisted, we KNEW she was still a girl. Tomatoes don't talk.

    1. I have to say that I admire that about tomatoes. It's a real point in their favor: I've never had to ask one to shut up.

      Silence is underrated.

  10. So, your friends are plants, eh? That just won't do, see? We don't like snitches around here, see? You'd better tell your plants to get out of my way and stay out, see?

    1. Common sense tells me that they probably didn't actually turn into plants. Of course, common sense also tells me that your comment is a op culture reference - and I can even put it in the correct voice - but neither my brain nor google is helping me to pin it down...


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