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The Weed | Kestrel's Aerie

The Weed | Kestrel's Aerie

The Weed

Today’s offering had its genesis in the latest Saucy Wenches podcast from Tami and Iris. The writing prompt for May is “weed” (from Tami) and “towel” (from Iris). Incorporating the two words was pretty easy, but from there…well, let’s just say my muse fled quickly.

I make no apology for what follows: My intent was simply to create something. But now that I’ve created this…thing…I’m debating whether to follow up with “what comes next.”

“Now where did that come from?” Jerry asked himself, as he looked over the garden he’d just finished planting. Unbelievably, a large weed was smack in the middle of the green bean plot. It was at least six inches tall, and in no way could be mistaken for one of the sprouts he’d just planted. Sighing, he pulled the damp towel from his back pocket and wiped the sweat off his face once more.
The mid-May morning had dawned bright and warm: an excellent day for planting the garden. This was a task put off too long, but Jerry could rationalize that the cold and wet spring they’d experienced so far this year was as much a contributing factor as his own procrastination.
He walked back over to the green beans, took his weeding tool from his tool belt and knelt down by the offending plant. Probing under the weed, he was shocked to feel his tool hit a very hard object—a rock, no doubt. But that was troubling, too: He’d carefully tilled the garden before planting, and had made sure there were no rocks. In fact, he’d only found a very few small stones, which was a testament to the careful gardening he’d done the year before.
Jerry grasped the weed close to the ground, and gave a tentative tug. Nothing. He pulled harder, with the same result. Using the weeder, he dug around under the plant with one hand while pulling up the weed with the other. The weed did not want to come out. “What the hell…,” he muttered. He grabbed a trowel and started digging deeper. The rock didn’t seem to be that large; maybe the size of his closed fist, or a bit smaller. But it certainly seemed to have become a firm anchor for the weed’s roots.
One thing was certain: Jerry did not want to leave one bit of this weed in the ground to re-spawn. He dug out around and under the rock and gave one more firm pull on the plant. Finally, it came out of the ground. What he saw gave him pause: Not a rock, but what appeared to be a small box was surrounded by the weed’s roots. In fact, it appeared that the taproot was actually growing out of the box.
Frowning, Jerry stood and walked to the gardening shed, weed in hand. He rinsed the dirt off with the hose, then took it to the potting bench. He picked up a small pair of pruning shears and started snipping the roots away from the box. The last thing he cut was the taproot. As soon as it was severed, the weed shriveled before his eyes. Jerry frowned again.
He knew that box hadn’t been in the garden when he tilled it this morning, but he had no explanation for its presence that made sense. So, he stopped trying to figure that out. Instead, he focused on trying to figure out how to open the box.
The box itself was plain, made of some sort of dull gray metal. He tapped it to confirm that it echoed as though hollow, so he was convinced it wasn’t solid. It remained dull, even when rubbed with his towel. He was almost disappointed not to see a genie emerge as he rubbed the last of the dirt away. The box was about four inches across, and about half as wide and deep, and weighed less than half a pound. There was a very clear line around the equator of the container, but no hinge, and no apparent way to open it. He tried prying it open with his fingernails around all four sides. He tried sliding it open, left to right, right to left, front to back, back to front. Nothing worked. He tried to twist along the inscribed line, but that didn’t work either.
Grumbling, Jerry put the box down and walked over to his workbench. He considered the various tools in front of him. He picked up an awl, a thin-bladed screwdriver, and a hacksaw. He carried them back to the potting bench and laid them down next to the gray box. With two fingers, he picked up the box once more, and almost dropped the “top” as it easily separated from the lower half. “What the HELL!” he exclaimed. He turned over the half in his hand, and saw nothing but the inside of the top of the box, looking exactly as one might expect. He then looked into the lower half, and saw three seeds there. The almost looked like small bean pods but were otherwise unremarkable. “Huh. ‘Curiouser and curiouser,’” he quoted.
He picked up the bottom half of the box and tossed the seeds outside the shed, then started examining the two halves of the box more closely. There did not appear to be any way for the box to stay together, and in fact, when he put the two halves together, they didn’t stay that way. He grabbed a magnet and confirmed the box wasn’t magnetic.
“Wonder if I can find something on the Web like this,” he thought. He picked up both halves of the box and walked into the house. He put them down next to his computer, then went into the bathroom and washed his hands. He then grabbed his camera and took several pictures: each half of the box, inside and out, and a few of the two halves placed together as closely as possible to the original configuration. Jerry uploaded the pictures then started Googling to see if anything similar was “out there.” Nothing came close.
An hour or more went by, and Jerry noticed it was getting darker. He glanced at the time; only four o’clock. He looked outside, and it appeared to be getting cloudy. His brow furrowed, and he clicked on his weather app. No mention of clouds today (which is why he’d been working in the garden in the first place).
He strode to the back door and opened it.
Just outside the door to the shed, a huge vine thrust itself upward, as high as Jerry could see. No, not a vine: a beanstalk.
2 Conversations about The Weed
  1. Tami
    May 12, 2010 | 19:44

    Hee! Great entry (and goodness gracious, so quickly written!) I love it! And I wonder where the box came from…and where that beanstalk leads!
    Tami´s latest blog post is Photoblog : Choose My ComLuv Profile