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I am A Cactus

Sharp and pointy to the touch, I am a cactus. With a mind like a diamond, or in this case, a series of finely tuned claws, I run around shouting math equations and their solutions to the unenlightened. They use their umbrellas as defensive weapons, but before they can get them open, their minds have become another number in my relentless rampage of universal logic. They are left counting cracks in the sidewalks and bricks in walls trying to regain what they once had: a weak grip on reality.

I don't need much water, which is why you will find me hanging around in the desert. And also why you'll see me with snakes on my shoulder, because snakes and I share a love of hot places.

I am a cactus, and recently I was knocked down, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Both of my legs were badly broken and my spleen had ruptured, some brains of mine were strewn across the dirt and I had a few unsightly bruises. You'd think I'd have given up, but no. I am a cactus. I simply welded myself to mother earth and drew nutrients from her. True, I can no longer move, and may have a bit of a learning disability and a stutter, but at least my life is intact. My legs are healing nicely. My scattered brains were eaten by some crows. They wanted some of my ligaments, so I spit at them. It was terribly painful, but it managed to do the trick.

A local village boy found me. He brings me watermelon. I tell him thanks, but I think he is schizophrenic. He is more interested in my pet snake which used to hang around me because I fed it, but now who hangs around me waiting to eat me. Sometimes I catch him nibbling on me when I'm sleeping, so I have to smack his head. He wears his sorry, shameful eyes. I tell him: "After all the good times we've had, this is how you repay me?" He hangs his head in shame, but not before casting one quick glance at my ripe buttock.

The village boy, like how I used to, but with math, thinks he can shoot snakes out of his arm.
I cannot understand his language, but he gives me a demonstration by violently shaking his arm; and by his manner, and body language I can tell he is asking me if I see the snakes. I look at Edgar, my pet snake, he looks back at me confused and afraid. I share the sentiment, and tell the village boy: "No. There are no snakes." Whereupon the village boy gets incredibly mad, and in my opinion, acts of the devil. It's been twice now he's tried to light me on fire, but he has neither the technology, nor the skill to do so. His fires are weak and would not even cook a frog. I'd laugh at him, if it wasn't for his shifty little eyes: They speak of dark places.

"Hey, Village boy," I tell him, "Why don't you take Edgar with you as a gift." And I offer him Edgar. Edgar, in reply, shakes his head furiously, and his eyes fill with fear. Village boy's eyes fill with delight, and off the two go together. It's for reasons like that I am such a fool. Together they have made the most diabolical contraptions that threaten to rip my limbs off of my torso. I'd complain to Mother Earth, but she says nothing, and if the flowers are any indication of her mood, she is smiling.

"Smiling at my eventual demise, eh? I'd be good fertilizer, wouldn't I?" I say it as though I may have a plan against her, but how do you beat Mother Earth? It is impossible. And it's true, I would make excellent fertilizer. What do you do when your future looks so bleak?

Although painful, the only answer is to uproot yourself. You've done it once before. The second time will be incomparably worse. Try ripping out a tooth, and x-ing that by 11.3, and then you know how I felt ripping my nutrient limb from the dirt. I did it one full moon night, while Edgar and the Village Boy were making small repairs to the wooden contraption they had devised. I threw some beef jerky I had been saving into the chaparral and watched as they ran for it, and searched for the chewable. Like taking off a band-aid, one swift motion would get it over with. I bled for many days. I worried about the trail of blood I left not only as a giveaway to my whereabouts, but also because there were jackals around. Big ones.

I made it back to civilization with my body about me, and my wits intact. And to be honest, I feel like a new man. My breath is fresh, my asthma is gone, and I've lost over 50 pounds. I can do 200 jumping jacks, and I do them every morning without fail. Let that be a lesson to you.


Asylum Dolly said...

Surreal, funny, and unpredictable as per usual.
I had no idea cacti were so good at methematics. I should get one, then i can throw away my calculator.
All in all, i admire cactus man's resilience. I would follow cactus man's lead and uproot myself, but I've never actually put roots down anywhere. The only thing i ever seem to get securely attatched to are my fears.But i am ever so slowly releasing my grip on those, by allowing myself to act like a complete dick on a regular basis.Soon, people will just take it for granted that i'm a complete loony tune. I think it will be liberating.
So there you go. I just got inspired by a cactus! Life is bizarre.

JMH said...

Forgive me for overlooking this for so long, but you are the master of the sentence. Any one of the sentences in "I am A Cactus" could start any sort of literary work and demand the reader read the second sentence. Could they also end one? That demands further examination, unless the writing is in palindrome.

sybil law said...


John Dantzer said...

Bon - I'm glad cactus man could be of some help. That is a good insight about being rooted to your fears. I think a lot of people are, but forget or don't acknowledge it. Thanks for the reminder. I will go ahead and move to Siberia.

JMH - Thanks for the compliment. I cannot help but think it was inspired by alcohol, judging by your last post, but thanks anyway. I don't know if it's true, it's certainly not intentional. I like to think I'm taking the sum is greater than it's parts approach. Your comment has drawn my attention to your sentences, and they are great. You should be known as sentence man.

Sybil - Thanks!

JMH said...

Alcohol, sure, but the primary agent there was grass. It makes me see things in intense pieces. But I certainly stand by that comment. For instance, if a story started with any of the following, could you help but read the second sentence (in no particular order [!]):

a) It's not for nothing I keep my gun rack stocked in the bathroom.
(sorry that's the current post, but sort of underlines the point).

b) They use their umbrellas as defensive weapons, but before they can get them open, their minds have become another number in my relentless rampage of universal logic.

c) True, I can no longer move, and may have a bit of a learning disability and a stutter, but at least my life is intact.

d) He brings me watermelon.

See what I mean?