12 April 2016

It's Aliiive!

by Barb Goffman

It's aliiiive!
Everyone, meet Plant.

Plant is my houseplant. I never bothered to name him (Her? How do you tell?) because I learned long ago not to get invested in plants. You see, no matter how much I've cared for and loved my plants, they all ultimately ... often quite prematurely ... have died.

We'll start with the pretty flowering plant I bought my mom for Mother's Day when I was in elementary school. (Okay, yes, technically this wasn't my plant, it was hers, but it was the beginning of my plant curse.) I planted it in the yard for her, and less than a week later our gardener mowed over it. Rest in peace, poor plant.

Moving onto sophomore year of college, I bought a little plant for my dorm room. Kept it on the windowsill where it could get lots of light. As the year went on, I noticed that no matter how much water I gave it, that poor plant was not thriving. I couldn't figure it out until the day I happened to set my hand on the windowsill and discovered it was freezing. And thus the poor plant clearly had been freezing all this time. Too bad plants can't shiver so I'd have had a clue. I moved it the plant to another location in the room but ... yep, you can guess ... it died.

The following year, my best friends went to a florist in town for my birthday gift. They explained my black thumb and said they wanted to buy a plant I could not kill. The florist sold them a peace lily. It was dead in a month.

A few years ago, a friend bought me an orchid plant. It had a bloom going when the poor thing arrived in my house, but that bloom withered quickly. I kept hoping for more flowers out of it, but I think the orchid must have felt my bad juju, because the poor thing didn't last very long.

And that brings us to Plant. Plant was a housewarming gift from some poor fool who didn't know that I am The Plant Killer. But the fool has been on me because Plant is now nearly ten years old. Heck, that deserves more than regular type. Plant is now nearly TEN YEARS OLD. I think Plant is living to spite me. I over-water it sometimes, Plant lives. I forget to water it sometimes, Plant lives. I better add Plant to my will, because apparently, no matter how hard I try (or don't try, as the case may be), Plant will live on way longer than I will. So, anyone want responsibility for Plant when I die? It clearly doesn't need a lot of work. Believe me, if I can keep Plant alive, anyone can.

In other news, the Malice Domestic mystery convention is in two weeks. Convention attendees will be able to vote for the Agatha Award in six categories. Fellow SleuthSayer B.K. Stevens and I each have stories up for the Agatha in the short story category. (B.K. is also a finalist in the children's/YA category! And SleuthSayer Art Taylor is a finalist in the best first novel category!) If you'd like to read all the short story finalists (and please, do read before you vote), they're available online here. Scroll down to the short stories. Each title is a link to that story. Happy reading!


Leigh Lundin said...

Congratulations to you, Bonnie, and Art! Well done and thanks for the links.

My plant wants to meet your plant. Mine was left in my kitchen window and abandoned. Its pot had way too little soil, but it clung to life. I remembered to water it once in a while and after a couple of years, I moved it to my bathroom window and still managed to water it when I thought of it. A couple of weeks ago, it bloomed little bell-like flowers. I have no idea what it is… it has succulent-like ‘leaves’ and a long vine with tendrils that vainly reach nowhere.

My plant has masculine male parts and feminine female parts. It likes Voltaire, candlelit high-nitrogen dinners and long walks on the beach. It’s asking what your plant is wearing,

janice law said...

Very best of luck to you, B.K.Stevens and Art Taylor with the Agatha awards.
And kudos to Plant!

Barb Goffman said...

Leigh, Plant is in it for the long haul, so he/she is not going to reveal its attire until a commitment is procured. Plant has been around for far too long to dabble in minor flirtations.

I, on the other hand, like candlelight and walks on the beach. And since Plant can't get around on its own (or stop me from carrying it around), with the right offer, you could get two for one.

In other news, thank you, Leigh and Janice, about the Agathas. Fingers crossed.

Melodie Campbell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melodie Campbell said...

Crap! Why can't we edit comments?
The Plant Killer! Title for my next novel (you think I jest.) No plants here in my house (looks furtively around)
ON the award front: Congrats again, Barb! Rooting(sic) for you.

Pat Marinelli said...

Loved your nominated short story.

At my house I'm known as the Parsley Serial Killer.

Herschel Cozine said...

Barb, nature has yet to come up with a plant that I can't kill, and I'm not even trying. Send the little guy (gal) to me and it will be history within a week.
Congratulations and good luck with your story.

Unknown said...

Barb, that's another thing we have in common. Over the years, I've killed countless house plants. Occasionally, one has been hardy enough to last a year or so, but sooner or later, they all perish. And now I can't keep them at all, because our cat attacks them. When we tried putting them on top of our highest shelves, Ari risked his life repeatedly trying to leap or climb up. So we gave up. When my husband brings me flowers, I have to keep them in the refrigerator. Oh, well. At least they last a long time in there, and I can visit them every time I get a Diet Coke. And it's a small price to pay for having the privilege of living with Ari.

Thanks for mentioning Art and me. Good luck to all of us!

Barb Goffman said...

You write The Plant Killer and I'll buy it. And now you've given me an idea for a possible new story. Thanks, Melodie!

Barb Goffman said...

Thanks, Pat. And the Parsley Serial Killer? Please please please share how you kill parsley. PLEASE!

Barb Goffman said...

We apparently need a Black Thumb Club. You in, Herschel? (And thanks about the story.)

Barb Goffman said...

I love the idea of keeping flowers in the fridge, Bonnie. You get a little surprise every time you open it up. And yes, good luck to us all. See you in two weeks!

Leigh Lundin said...

Bonnie, my Aunt Rae (professor of art, art history, eccentric even in my mad family) solved the cats and plants problem with bird cages– she kept her plants inside cages. Further, she didn't hesitate to use squirt guns to dissuade cats from places they weren't supposed to be.

Unknown said...

Leigh, your aunt came up with a clever solution--I'm impressed. If I tried it, though, pretty soon I'd have a bunch of dead plants in bird cages, and that has too much of a creepy, Miss Havisham-type feel to it. As for the squirt guns, I did keep a loaded one at my desk when we had our last cat, Mazel: She liked to curl up under my desk while I was writing, and that was fine with me. Every so often, though, she'd decide to get my attention by biting my leg, and that's when the squirt gun came in handy. I'd never try a squirt gun on Ari. He's not the sort of cat who would slink away if I squirted him. He'd counter-attack, and he'd probably win.

Barb Goffman said...

OMG. I love the image of a home with a bunch of bird cages filled with vases of dead flowers. Imagine being the cops called to the home because of a suspicious death and they see that? That has to be usable in a story somehow, I think with glee, rubbing my hands together.