Academic Probation

Herding apes among the trees

Publication YearIssue Date 

ditor's note: We sent Mr. Thompson to the Calgary Botanical Society's third annual flower show. What follows is nearly completely without editorial revision, save for having been transferred from a filthy napkin to print. All manure stains have been removed.

I was surrounded on all sides by tulips and roses, their stamens and pistils lolling to the sides like a sex fiend's tongue, wagging at me, staring at some piece of random meat. All the faces I saw were rosy and gigantic, fleshy mounds of indifference smeared with fertilizer and oily hatred.

My companion had been lost among the philodendrons, eaten whole and spit back out onto the carpeted floor. Children were planting trees in his empty skull, I thought they might break into song.

Jesus, I hate children.

The Calgary Botanical Society's third annual Flower Exhibition, a bilious affair chock full of botanical hypocrisy was no place for me and I knew it. I could see the accusing stares behind the watery blue eyes poring over every violet and begonia. They were carnivores hiding among plants, waiting to gobble me whole and wedge the sticky pieces deep inside poorly painted ceramic pots. I'd spread through the stems and shit out the leaves, their children would play inside the garden and I'd crush them like insects.

Jesus, I hate children.

It might have been the crystal meth, but I was sure I saw a flytrap as big as a man and twice as ugly. He was reading books on Sarte and asking the plastic flamingos next to him whether they understood metaphysics. I started screaming like a primal animal, jumping from leaf to leaf until I'd crushed that goddamned flamingo into a pile of identical plastic chunks. I would have gouged my own eyes out with them if they'd let me, but the judging was beginning and the aisles of the tradeshow were no place to be for any kind of civilized man.

Someone had started snorting the nitrate fertilizer and they'd all be dead soon.

They stood in judgement on garish plastic lawn chairs, sprawled and expanding as they snatched flies from the air. They made me sick. They picked at leaves with impossibly long fingers, searching for more insects to pop into their primal mouths. Yellowed teeth and peeling lips--I thought to pour manure on them, but I knew they were beyond help now.

I'd been in places like this before, seen the wave before it crested and washed them all away, but it hadn't ever really smelled like fertilizer. Not outside anyway.

"You're all fascists," I yelled. "I'll watch your genitals mulched and fed to the roses! They're hostile you know, they hold grudges like you wouldn't believe! A rose by any other name would be Charles Manson!"

It was a bad scene now, something had gone wrong and the shrinking violets behind me weren't attacking. The botanists had hoes and rakes tipped with poison and they were advancing. I knew they'd plant me if I wasn't careful. It required delicacy now.

I crept like a vine beneath them, avoiding their eyes by screaming like a hot house tomato. It fooled them, the gullible bastards.

I hid behind a sunflower the size of a woman, crouched where the hips should have been and avoiding the urge to snap it in half. Have you ever looked at the world through sunflower eyes? They're tall you know. Taller than a man, but thinner.

I watched the monkeys rummaging through shit trying to find gold, growing petals and covering themselves in them. I saw them prune off fingers and toes until they were able to pot them and grow more. Great trees laden with appendages, arms and legs in bunches like fruit. Then they could cross-pollinate them, growing an ape with four legs and a horn on his face. It could dance for pennies.

Covered in the shit of the failures they'd grow larger and larger. Trees would tower above the cities, bridges and shopping malls until the apes broke their necks staring up at the leaves touching the blackened clouds.

They'd grow them larger and larger, more and more beautiful until one day someone would just burn the whole mess to the ground.

Then I'd stand alone in a field of burning limbs and piss on the fire. Then I'd finally be able to make my escape.

Section: 

Issue: