by Eric Hale
Monday – 06/02
I rescued a weed from an alley today. He sprouted up between cracks in the pavement, a little dirt-coated rebel with sickly stalks. Ever benevolent, I cradled the limp weed in my arms and carried him inside my home.
The light and humidity of my greenhouse offered no salvation, not when he needed food, so I settled the unconscious plantling in my kitchen. Fed him nutmeg water, sweetened by sugar, and spooned bites of valerian-infused stew past his shaking lips. He stirred and I swelled with pride. But no time for laurel-resting, you need to grow, little weed, and I’m just the man to help you along.
Tuesday – 06/03
I set the weed up in the greenhouse, strung up on a trellis, branches restrained by rope. The regular application of valerian-rich water ensured calm and peace in times of turbulent growth. I shaved away any unsightly fur and removed nails with a pair of steel tweezers. The skin was the wrong shade and the limbs suggested dexterity unbecoming a plant, but gardening required time and patience. Give it time, sweet weedling, the chlorophyll grafts work slowly.
Wednesday – 06/04
The pruning succeeded and I daresay the weed is much improved. No longer a parasite, but a bulb on the verge of bloom. Shears trimmed away unnecessary flesh. Grubby hands, elbows, knees, and stubby feet burdened the weed no longer. A long stalk glistened, sides sewn to stem the spilling of valuable liquids. The head remained, a single memory of his previous, inferior form. A shame, but if I groomed away the head, the weed would die, and I can’t have that. I’m starting to love him like one of my own children.
Thursday – 06/05
Plants respond to song. The best gardeners have beautiful voices and I’m no exception, I caroled for many years in the choir. A haunting baritone. Serenading the weedling, I stroked his ruddy cheek, wiped away a tear, caressed the thin ribs of a gaunt trunk. Not long now.
The process of elongation taxed the poor weed, but as they say, there’s no growth without pain. After transplanting my pet plant onto the racks, I turned the wheel, belting out a hymn. No reason to be cruel, so I countered the screams with my crooning.
Milk of poppy infused with valerian offered some relief, but stretching a trunk agonized the weed, even when drenched in sedatives. After completion, he required some patching. Comfort and care I was only too happy to provide. He extended almost ten feet now, to the greenhouse ceiling, and I made sure he knows I’m proud.
Saturday – 06/07
A great search party congregated in the city square, nettles in a bed of orchids. A little lordling went missing after playing the street rat. No wonder my weed’s flesh drips tonic so rich.
Glistening, sugary sweat collected on green skin and I harvested the drops for sale. A cure for joint pain, for forgetfulness, for a lazy cock, for childbirth, for baldness, for any of the common folk’s fears.
I tasted the weed’s juice and the effect knocked me out. I sprawled on a hedge unable to move for several hours, my mind teased by the most delightful delirium, eyes dancing with visions. A potent tonic indeed.
I sold the tonic of my secret plant in the city square and my purse bulges with coin. Enough to fund further research, but the money is only a sideshow. The real thrill came from the customer’s glowing reviews. The lordlings brew is the best received tonic I’ve ever sold.
A wretched, finely-dressed woman caught my attention at the end of a day’s work. As the sun set and darkness reigned, I approached her. The mother of the weed. Red rimmed her eyes and her lips twitched. Hands dry washed the hem of her skirt. I offered her a dose of the lordlings brew and she accepted. During her delirium, I posited further treatment might help with her pain.
Of course, she obliged. Now a dandelion hangs next to the weed and I sharpen the shears. A strong stem only goes so far. True growth can only occur after cutting away extraneous flesh.