jenniferechols (jenniferechols) wrote,
jenniferechols
jenniferechols

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Juvenilia

In honor of matociquala’s International Embarrass Yourself as an Artist Day, here’s a short story I wrote when I was 14 that won 3rd place in the Alabama Penman contest for high school students. Look closely and you will see purple adverbs and dialogue tags, elements of pre-romance and pre-humor, a complete misunderstanding of leasing agreements, and evidence of my kudzu phobia.


The Wild Morosa
I brought my wilted, sickly Wild Morosa into the house and placed it on the table beside the sofa in my living room. The plant had been a real bargain--only fifty-nine cents at the local grocery store. I ripped the plant’s care instructions off the flower pot, and, without reading them, dropped them on the kitchen table.

I can truthfully say that I definitely do not have a green thumb. Every plant I had ever owned had, under my care, died within a week. To make sure this didn’t happen again, I generously watered the little Wild Morosa and pushed several plant food spikes into its soil.

Just as I had finished these preparations, the phone rang. I walked into the kitchen to answer it and found it was Mrs. Nordid, my landlady.

“Maggie, is it convenient for me to come over with your bill now?” she asked in a tone of voice which told me that it didn’t matter to her whether it was convenient for me or not.

“Sure, Mrs. Nordid,” I said with lots of fake cheerfulness.

I hung up the phone and returned to the living room to do some quick cleaning before Mrs. Nordid arrived. My eyes widened as I glimpsed my little plant. At least, it had been little. It was now flowing over the sides of the sofa table.

I walked over to examine the greenery. It seemed perfectly normal and healthy; one would never have guessed that this plant had just grown three feet in five minutes.

I turned my back on my Morosa and reached for a book on plants that I thought might list this species and explain its strange growing habits. When I headed for a nearby chair, I was even more startled than before, for the plant had disappeared. It was not on the table, and there was no sign of it on the floor or anywhere around.

Swallowing my surprise, I opened the book to the index. As I discovered that Wild Morosa was not listed, a dark shadow passed over the pages of the book. Slowly I looked over my shoulder and found myself face to face with a wall of green.

I jumped out of the chair and stood, trembling, a safe distance away from the plant which was now proceeding to smother my chair in foliage. Then the doorbell rang.

I closed the living room door behind me and tried to calm myself down as I traversed the length of the entrance hall. By the time I reached the front door, I had glued a smile on my lips.

“Hello, Mrs. Nordid! How nice to see you!” I exclaimed, the picture of composure.

“Yes, quite,” she agreed with a definite absence of warmth. “Just sign these six payment agreements and I’ll go.”

Pretending to read the papers, I saw, from the corner of my eye, several green tendrils creeping under the living room door. Briskly I signed six dotted lines, handed the papers to Mrs. Nordid, and shoved the hateful lady out the door with a forced grin.

By the time I had run back to the living room door, the little green sprigs were gone. Nervously I opened the door a crack. The plant had vanished again.

I walked into the center of the room. The light seemed rather dim. I looked up and saw the plant tangled around the chandelier, its ominous vines reaching to the corners of the ceiling.

About this time, I remembered the plant care instructions that I had so carelessly tossed on the kitchen table earlier. I dashed out of the room, down the hall, and turned into the kitchen doorway. The instructions still lay, neatly folded, where they had been dropped. I opened them and scanned the page until I reached the following passage:

The Wild Morosa needs little water and no plant food. If overwatered or fed, it may react strangely.

And I had to find out the hard way!

Now the logical thing to do to keep the plant from overrunning my whole house seemed to be to kill it. Since I certainly wasn’t going to attempt this with it hanging from my ceiling where it could easily attack me, I decided to let someone else do it. I called the botanist, Don Hunter, who lived next door.

After only a brief phone conversation, a rather skeptical Don arrived at my door. “All right, where’s the killer vegetable?” he queried with a bit of sarcasm.

“The last time I saw it, it was in the living room. You go look for it,” I told him.

Don disappeared down the hall. After a long silence, I said, “Don?” I wondered if he had been strangled.

“Yes?” he answered. So he was still alive.

“What’s the plant doing?” I asked fearfully.

“It’s eating your T.V.,” he reported calmly.

“I’m not surprised,” I lied. I ran down the hall and stood beside him, watching the Wild Morosa engulf the Curtis Mathis.

“Maybe you should kill it,” he said after a moment.

“Good idea,” I agreed. “How?”

“Shoot it,” he suggested.

“Be serious, Don!” I pleaded.

“Well,” he said, “you might try cutting it at the base of the stem.”

We both walked over to the writhing mass of foliage and attempted to locate the flower pot.

“I think I see it over there by the bookshelf,” I announced.

“Good. Go get a knife and I’ll cut it down,” Don commanded.

I obeyed and found a nice sharp Ginsu. Don tried to hack the plant apart, but the knife didn’t make a dent in the thick stem.

“But that’s impossible!” I insisted. “The commercial says a Ginsu will cut through a tin can!”

“Go find an ax,” Don ordered. “And hurry--this plant is looking at me like it’s very hungry!”

I somehow found an ax in some obscure corner of my abode and arrived with it back in the living room in time to see the plant ascend the staircase to the upper floor, dragging the T.V. and Don after it.

Frantically I pursued the green bandit. On the third try, I managed to hit the stem with the ax blade. The blade bounced off harmlessly.

Now in a frenzy, and in too much of a hurry to look for a chainsaw, I pulled the flowerpot right off the trunk and knocked the rich dirt away from the roots. The end came quickly for my Wild Morosa.

“Are you all right, Don?” I called.

“At times like these, I wish I wasn’t a botanist,” he answered.

* * * * *

I had stuffed almost all of the dead foliage down the garbage disposal when Mrs. Nordid came rapping at my door.

“I was passing by earlier and I heard some strange noises. I hope you haven’t damaged the house,” she said suspiciously.

“Oh, of course not, Mrs. Nordid,” I assured the woman. “Here, let me give you this rare plant. It’s a Wild Morosa. Let it have plenty of water and plant food,” I said, handing her a remaining wilted vine. I didn’t bother to give her the care instructions.
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