Communion Of Dreams


PI Hunter.
September 18, 2010, 1:29 pm
Filed under: Gardening, Humor, Science Fiction

“Christ, did you see the size of that thing?”

“Keep focused on the task. One mistake and you’ll regret it for weeks.” I paused, looked up. “If you’re lucky.”

* * * * * * *

“It’s getting worse,” I said, taking a drink and then setting down the glass. “A lot worse.”

“How do you mean?”

“The toxin is getting more intense. You have less time to seek treatment.”

“Ugh.”

“Yeah, but that’s not the fun part. The fun part is that it has also become more virulent.” I took another drink. “Grows faster, larger. I’ve seen it as tall as a man recently. With leaves of concentrated evil that’d cripple you, given half a chance.”

She shuddered. Her face had gone pale.

“And it is penetrating even our supposedly secure perimeter, where I thought we had eradicated it.” I gave a laugh. “What a joke.”

“What can we do? Poison?”

“Nah, even the strongest stuff will only knock it back for a while, and at the cost of everything else in the vicinity. And the authorities would look down on the use of nukes.” I looked at her, my gaze hard. “Only one thing you can do – send someone in to rip it out by the roots.”

She said nothing, just looked at me.

“That means me, getting in there in the thick of it.” I slung back the rest of my drink. “It’s what I do.”

* * * * * * *

The bush towering above me shook, threatened to rain the late season leaves down on my head. I eyed it carefully.

This was going to require just the right kind of motion.

Grasping the running tap root, a mass as big as a man’s thumb, I pulled while standing up and stepping back. It resisted being torn free, grasping all the other ground vines in a desperate attempt to survive. My heart pounded with the effort, and from the frightening prospect of the huge leaves just inches from my face. But then, all of a sudden, it pulled loose.

I let out my breath. Carefully I coiled up the huge poison ivy plant and shoved it into the trash bag.

Because that’s what I do. I’m a Poison Ivy Hunter.

Jim Downey

(With apologies to Harry Harrison. And yes, poison ivy is getting both more toxic and more virulent.)

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