I was too tired for sleep. Drifting aimlessly about a pen enclosing half-completed thoughts and decomposing mental sentences without
Where was I?
Just now, I mean.
Here or there? Or nowhere? Or the somewhere described by a vector without direction or a line asymptotic to the curve of a Venn diagram—a mitotic divergence of belonging from what I deserve? Or was I always at this place in the fabric of spacetime; a lonesome point held fast by some helpful pushpin, violent red like arterial blood or the life lights of electronic devices?
Oh right. Now I remember.
I was watching the bright static of a television in an otherwise lightless room. Funny how much it looks like a tunnel’s end even though it is the reflection of a beginning. A cosmic sonogram with a persistent hiss like distant fanfare.
I clapped a hand down onto the remote and dancing dots resolved into a man with a potted plant and a Clorox smile. He seemed trustworthy. So with rapt inattention, my mind fizzled as the drivel wriggled in.
“What if I could promise you a painful death?” he began. “Unrelenting, vein-vacuuming agony that would un-Christ your conception of suffering?”
He swung his body to and fro beneath a stationary head and I found myself nodding in sickening mimicry.
“Fantastic!” He intoned. His mouth didn’t move, but his hand did. “You’re a plant, you know? A tangle of vessels moving liquid gore amidst a skin pot full of wormy compostables.”
I found myself nodding frantically, cerebral jelly sloshing about in my too-tight skull. His hand moved closer, reaching from his luminous world toward my dark vicinity.
“What would you pay for the ✨MOST✨ painful death?”
I ¯|_(?)_/¯ ’d
My face was slurping tears from my eyes. Co-/Adhesion, I thought. Just reactive capillary action…I am a plant.
“Well, you’re in luck, my potted pal! For the next hour, we’re selling superlative torment for the low low price of free!” His eyelids squinted merrily and I forgot about his lack of inner-head. Instead my chlorophyllic eyebuds focused on his hand. So close now; fingers firmly wrapped around a rusty garden trowel that looked so much like my mother’s.
“How?” I asked verdantly. Or did I? Do plants talk? I couldn’t remember.
His hand dropped the trowel into the lap section of my pot. My roots ached, my vessels felt too big, my pot was too constricting. So I grabbed the trowel and peeled away my potting shirt and began to dig.
the ✨MOST✨ painful…for the contents of an empty banker’s pig…
What an absolute bargain! But as I shook away the shock of unpotting, I realized the error of my haste. If I was ever going to die into healthy growth, I’d need a lot more soil and I’d need a much bigger pot.
My leaves rustled loudly toward the top floor of my house and it almost sounded like, “Dad!”