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|Something written to break out of writer's block quite a long time ago. Alas, it's come back, but I do like this story. comments/criticism welcome.||
Winning the Garish Gardens Award
The Snogthistle wilted guiltily under the gaze of two very sharp green eyes. A withered hand savagely yanked it from the ground and tossed it onto a pile with a triumphant flourish. “Thought you could hide behind the Wifflebush, did you? NO-ONE escapes the Gardener! Heheheheh!” A pointy nose between the eyes quivered slightly. “What?! More weeds? Seems to get worse every year…” Grumbling followed and the nose quivered again. SNORRRT
-The nose inhaled furiously. “Hmmm…nothing left behind the Wifflebushes. Perhaps under the Pumpum tree?” The sharp eyes turned quickly to an orange colored tree bowed under the weight of many pumpums. The weeds under the Pumpum tree gave silent moans of despair as a pair of booted feet stomped vengefully in their direction. “Hmmph! Not even an effort to hide yourselves! This really is shameless you know!” the voice reprimanded them sternly, and the weeds sqeaked fearfully. With an angry swipe of a hoe, they knew no more. The Pumpum tree wiggled its roots happily at their disappearance, and the sharp green eyes softened. The withered hand reached out and patted the tree affectionately. “Feel better now old fellow?” asked the voice. “Those snogthistles sure are nasty this year. Why, they almost choked out the featherpetals, and without them, we wouldn’t even have a chance of winning the Garish Gardens Award, would we?”
The Pumpum tree stopped wiggling its roots and rustled its plump leaves doubtfully. The voice chuckled wryly. “All right, all right. I’ll tell them to stop stealing from your water supply. Just promise me you’ll let them have some sun.” The voice trailed off as the eyes noticed something. “EEEEK!” it shrieked, returning to full volume with a sonic blast that ruffled the featherpetals violently. “FLOOD FUNGI!” The booted feet ran towards the hoe, and then sprinted back to the very center of the garden. WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!
The offensive fungus was reduced to its individual cells in a very short time. “Phew! It didn’t have time to spread!” panted the voice, but the sharp green eyes noted otherwise. Flood fungi began popping up around the Gardens and the withered hands gripped the hoe so tightly that the Pumpum tree noticed their knuckles were white. “EEEEYARRRGGH!!!!” said the voice, and a patch of Snotdrops narrowly avoided being decapitated by the frenzied tornado that was the Gardener and the hoe. When they dared to peek, the inhabitants of the gardens surmised that the largest piece of fungi left was not more than several nanometers in size, and that the smallest was surely below the atomic level. Unfortunately, the Gardener was not in much better state. The green eyes were closed and the withered hands frozen in different stages of convulsion. The booted feet were now only half-booted, as one boot had fallen off and was sinking slowly in the rippling waters of the Pond. The Pumpum tree stood straight up in shock. But no! There were signs of life. The frail old chest was rising and falling shakily, and the Pumpum tree allowed itself to sag with relief. With any luck, the Gardener would wake up in time for the contest, and the Gardens might win their first Garish Award ever!
The old tree’s hopes were extinguished however, when there was a brisk rap on the gate. “Garish Gardens Contest! Please admit!” The featherpetals trembled nervously and the snotdrops dripped despairingly. The Pumpum tree rustled its leaves furiously and the featherpetals and snotdrops stood stiffly to attention, though it was obvious that the smallest snotdrop was still sniffling. The rapping at the gate came again. “Open up please! You are the last entrant!” The plants in the Garden shuffled nervously. There was nothing to do but wait. Finally, with a bang that made even the Pumpum tree wince, the lock was broken. A board of judges tumbled in unceremoniously, and immediately clipboards were whipped out and pencils began scratching. “Hmmm…sniffling snotdrops. One point off for that…” “Ah… a lovely bed of featherpetals! Perhaps a two point bonus for creative juxtaposition with that Pumpum tree?” The judges had examined a bed of Blood Roses, a fountain of Youth and several finely sculpted Wifflebushes before they noticed the Gardener.
“Oh my…” faltered a plump judge with unkempt grey hair. “D’you suppose…” “No, Aggie, he’s still alive for heaven’s sake. The question is: What he is doing unconscious on the ground?” snapped a tall judge with thick black eye brows and a permanently severe expression. “Well, where else would he be lying unconscious?” croaked an ancient old man with a twinkle in his eye. “The ground seems a perfectly fine place for him to me.” The tall judge rolled his eyes, but no one noticed because of the extent of his bristly eyebrows. “All right then, I propose we finish examining the garden, since he appears to breathing. After all, plants are far more important than people.” Said the old man, and at this all the judges nodded sagely.
So the examination continued and the Pumpum tree tried its best to glisten with vigor. It was just after one judge had proclaimed it “robust” that things began to go wrong. “What?? A boot in the pond? Oh, I see…it’s come from the old man. Still, we can’t have this kind of thing. With Modern Gardening, it might become a fad, or worse yet, a sales gimmick! We’ll have to deduct at least three points for that.” pronounced the tall judge from beneath his black eyebrows, and the Pumpum tree momentarily considered dropping a large pumpum on his head.
“Aha! I knew there had to be weeds somewhere! Such nasty little excuses for vegetation. That’s another point off. I can’t help feeling sorry for the old man. Unconscious, and missing the fact that his garden just isn’t good enough to make the cut. We could have given him so many pointers.” Aggie said sorrowfully.
The Pumpum tree’s sap went cold. So they weren’t good enough after all. This was it then. Its heartwood ached as it thought of the Garish Garden Awards that the Gardener wouldn’t be getting.
“You know,” said the ancient judge thoughtfully. “Its almost as if this garden was hit by a Flood Fungi attack. You can see that certain areas of it are ab-so-lutely pristine…but others are completely destroyed. Of course, those attacks are rare and you never know what kind of effects they can have on a garden.” The other judges scoffed at this, but the Pumpum Tree’s sap began to flow again. It knew what it had to do. With a mighty rustling of its branches, it rattled Pumpum after Pumpum loose. All the judges turned to stare in puzzlement, but the Tree kept shaking. Finally, a Pumpum bounced up to the Gardener. With a sputter, he awoke. “Th-th- the… f-f-fungi!” he managed weakly. Aggie’s hand covered her mouth, which had become a rather rude O-shape. “Oh my!” she said again, and rushed to him. “Aha!” said the oldest judge happily. “You owe me two bags of Firebloom seeds, Morty!” “What!? I never…don’t call me Morty!” came the indignant retort, and the tall judge turned his back stiffly when the other snickered at his eyebrows.
Meanwhile, Aggie was explaining to the Gardener what was wrong with his garden. The Pumpum tree rustled a warning to her, but she didn’t hear. “WHAAAT!” roared the voice, and the familiar sharp green eyes flashed sparks. “I had a flood-fungi attack just hours before you arrived! How on earth was I supposed to tend my garden while unconscious??” Aggie fell back under the onslaught and the featherpetals couldn’t help giggling. The tall judge was fighting with the old judge, the boot was being fished out of the pond by a fourth judge, the Gardener was unleashing his rage on them all for unfair demerits, and the snotdrops were sniffling more than ever, but the Pumpum tree wriggled its roots in delight. The Gardener was awake and now they would surely win the Prize.
|The Name Changers|