Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Plant Whisperer

A quick and fun not-so-Friday-flash based on the Writer’s Digest prompt “You wake up one day with an unusual super power that seems pretty worthless—until you are caught in a situation that requires that specific ‘talent.’”

Sun sun sun! Shine shine shhiiine! A small, merry voice hummed.

What in the – I thought as I woke.  I squinted at the rays of sunlight that crept through the gaps in my venetian shades.  Leaning on an elbow, I looked around my room, trying to locate the source of the voice.  No one was there.  I could hear the pattering of water from the showing in the adjacent bathroom.  My roommate was up, but it couldn’t have been her.

Glancing back at my window, the African violet my mother had given me caught my eye.  The bud it sprouted a few days ago had finally bloomed.  Its violet face seemed to smile as its velvety leaves bathed in the light.  I grinned back at it and reached into its pot to test the soil moisture.

Water, the voice had returned. Please? it added.

I pulled my finger back from the soil like it was going to bite me.  Was that…what I thought it was?

Tentatively, I stroked one of the leaves.

Tickles! The voice giggled.

Great.  I’m hearing plants talk.

***

By the end of the week I’d gotten use to hearing plant chatter whenever I went outside.  The grass would whisper, the flowers boasted about their blooms, and my potted herbs would sing to me whenever I watered them – in harmony no less.

It could get annoying, though.  I use to enjoy the quiet walks through the park, but now my walks were invaded by the passing thoughts of every blade of grass, every shrub, and every tree.  It was no longer a quiet walk.  The only way I could get away from the noise was to plug myself into my ipod and blast Dragonforce.

On one such walk I was minding my own business, power metal buzzing in my ears, when a young girl and her untrained puppy jogged past; her parents walked behind them at a more leisurely pace.  Actually , it was more like the puppy was walking the girl and in its excitement it pulled the leash free of her hands.

“No!  Mr. Snuffles!  Come baaaaack!”

He bounded into the woods edging the park and without a second though the girl ran in after him. 

“Nora! Nora, get back here right now!” her mother cried, running up to the edge of the woods, but it was too late.  The girl and puppy were gone.

People began to stop and gather around the wailing mother and frantic father.  Cell phones were out en mass as everyone started calling 911 and the news stations.   I paused my music and popped out my earbuds.  My plant senses were tingling. 

By the edge of the forest where the puppy had bounded off, a faint groan rose from the plants whose stems had been bent or torn.  That gave me an idea.  Maybe I could put this new, slightly annoying new “talent” to good use.

I strode past the crowd and right up to the parents.  “I’ll go find them,” I said and before they could reply I stepped into the woods.

As the chatter of the crowd gave way to the murmur of the undergrowth, I knelt and listened for the pain ridden moans of damaged plants.  Sure enough, there was a whole line of them bearing to my right.  Doing my best not to add to their pain, I followed the string of complaints deeper into the woods.

A half an hour later, I found a sweaty Nora holding onto the dirty leash of Mr. Snuffles who had paused to relieve himself on a nearby oak.

Smelly, it whined as the urine seeped through its bark.  I felt sorry for it.

“Hello, there," I smiled a the girl.  "You must be Nora.”

The girl nodded and Mr. Snuffles finished doing his business.

“Are you ready to get out of here?”

She nodded again and took my hand.  I retraced our steps, whispering my apologies to the plants as we stepped on them, again, and Mr. Snuffles frolicked over previously undamaged growth.  I apologized to those plants too.

When we emerged from the woods, we were greeted by ambulance sirens, TV cameras, and cold drinks.  I took a bottle of water while Nora shyly told her story to an overly made-up news anchor.

“And how exactly did you find her?” the anchor asked, shoving her microphone in my face mid-sip.

I took my time swallowing my water before saying, “Oh, a little oak tree tipped me off.”

2 comments:

vandamir said...

Lovely story and a good use of an unwanted "talent." The only reason my house plants live is because they tell me when they want water. :)

I used the argument that plants are alive and can communicate, too, against militant vegans and their "meat is murder" slogan when I was in college - they weren't amused.

Lena S. said...

Maybe you should have told them you were a member of PETA. People Eating Tasty Animals. Bet they would have appreciated that :D

thanks for the comment! (sorry it took me so long to add my own!)