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Ah, hello, hello, do come in. I have, of course, been expecting you; I have a most pressing concern which simply must be addressed.
I need more plants, you see. I mean, sure, I have a few already, but only a few; as you can clearly tell, that's not nearly enough. There is still counter space left, and windowsill space, and most especially floor space, which just will not do. No, it won't do at all, and that's why you're here, I presume? After all, why else would you be here, especially after the ad I put out? Need someone to help with a plant problem, it said, and here you are, to help with the plant problem. It's all quite perfect, working out rather dandily already.
And don't you worry; I do fully intend to compensate you for your troubles. I did say I would, didn't I? Otherwise why would you be here, and you did come all this way. Yes, this is all going to work out quite nicely. I can feel it in my bones: the plants are going to like you. So let's get to it, shall we?
Seeds of doubt
Come, let me show you around. It is a rather lovely collection, if I do say so myself; it's just a mite lacking. Needs more substance, more variety, more life. More plants, really. Could always use more plants, but which ones, that is where things get interesting. Certainly filling the entire place with fig trees wouldn't have much ambience. Be boring, like a wall covered in ducks, or whatever it is you young people do these days.
Well, here we have the frond room. Lots of palms and ferns and light, all so elegantly sloping, leafy but thin, branching out into a wonderful fractal of green. The light trickles through the fronds so beautifully, does it not? Really, anything slender and long and draping would do well here. A draceana or two, perhaps, maybe a dozen spider plants to hang from the rafters like the spiders for which they're named, just waiting for an unwary soul to run into them, clunk on the head and down! But we'll need hangers for that, won't we? One thing at a time, though.
And what do you think of the kitchen? Covered the floor in moss myself, don't you know. Makes a lovely carpet, after all, and it'll just eat anything dropped on it right up. Wonderful disposal unit, it is, and the ferns growing in the corners make a nice transition. Would be nicer if it had a manhole in it, though. Always wanted one of those, but they're so hard to corner and move. Too big underneath. Too much root. Shame; they'll eat almost anything. Like giant subterranean pitcher plants, they are.
Sprouts of suspicion
What, you didn't know manholes are plants? Well, don't you worry yourself, sonny; it's funny how few people do. You all walk across them every day and yet never even think about it, do you? But people don't think about most things. Don't consider the danger, do they? There's always danger, but nobody ever thinks about it. Always too caught up in their present problems to consider future ones, and why should they? Some present problems are quite large, after all, like mine. Such a large lack of plants.
So much as I'd love a manhole, you won't need to round one up for me, don't fret. No, I need foliage. Green stuff is good, though bluer and purple can work too. Just... leaves. Lots of leaves. Maybe some black swamp plants for the corner? And an assortment of poison mushrooms might complement them rather nicely, too, though those aren't technically plants. Still, you find them anywhere you find plants, disposing of the bodies of the older ones, the deader ones. Where there is life, there is always death, after all. It's how the world works.
Roots of despair
Come, let's take a look outside. Some of these are nicer, after all, since the light here is just so good, and the soil, well... the soil is amazing! You'd not believe how much the plants love it.
These junipers grow so quickly, and the magnolias bloom so early, it's like an Eden. Not that my fertiliser doesn't hurt. You like my plants? Perhaps some day I'll share my little secret and your plants will be able to grow as well as mine, as quickly and as closely and as coveringly. They will cover everything some day. Won't be any escape. You can count on that.
Wait, what is this? A hand? Son, what are you playing at? Didn't your betters ever tell you not to poke around? Guess you wouldn't have liked the secret after all, because yes, there is a rest of the body. What, you didn't think the fellow was out and about walking around, did you? Oh, dear me, this won't do at all. No, perhaps I misjudged you. Didn't misjudge the perimeter of thorn plants, though, so that's fortunate. These things do work better than a spider's web. At least you couldn't run. Not very far, anyhow, and a good shovel to the head will take care of that desire nicely.
Leaves of longing
Let's see... used the woodchipper last time. That got blood everywhere, and as much as the cabbages loved all that blood, the flies loved it more, so perhaps I should try something else this time. Fire, perhaps? Ashes do make for nice soil treatment, so that could work. Burn and compost. Perhaps I'll even get those mushrooms after all.
Oh, you're awake! Well, isn't this a surprise. Do come on then; I've decided to burn you. And people always say talking to plants is good for them, so can you imagine what screaming to them might do? Yes, you are doing quite nicely. Very helpful with the plants. Now I've just got to set up the chimney so the smoke goes out properly... there we go. Please scream as loudly as you can. It's for the plants.
Dust to dust
Well, okay, that didn't entirely work out as planned. But it did work. I was right about the plants; they really seem to like you; between the talking... well, the screaming, really, and the fertiliser, you have such a way with them. Haven't seen them this lush since that time I gave them my husband. They really liked him, too. You probably would have liked him as well, but since it turns out I couldn't stand either of you, this particular outcome seems to have been for the best, and you do make such good fertiliser.
Not that I can stand anyone who doesn't like my plants. I would do anything for my plants. For all of my plants.
I just need more, though.
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This article was chosen as the Best Vital Article in the 2011 The Article Whisperer writing competition.