by Christy Guyer
"Why hello Opal. Beautiful morning isn't it?"
"It sure is, Martha."
"I must say you look mighty pretty today. Your red is much deeper and more becoming on you. What's your secret?"
"It must be my new powder I've been using. Betsy, on the other side of me, says it works wonders," replied Opal.
"You don't say. How is Betsy? I haven't seen her in such a long time. Is she still having that affair with the dandelion?"
"Well you know what they say, no news is good news. There is crazy ol' Lizzie. I wonder what she's up to today? It looks like the same old thing, swaying back and forth all the time. You know Martha, lately I've been having a bad stem ache. Sometimes it's so bad I can't even sleep. I think it's because my thorns are going dull."
"Don't let that happen! You gotta keep them sharp in case SHE comes. I noticed that your yellow wasn't quite as bright as usual. I was a little worried, but now I know it is because of your thorns. I heard that if you look at the sun for an hour, your thorns get sharper."
"I just might try that. Oh my, there is Nancy and her two little ones. Aren't they cute? Boy have they grown."
"Yes they have. It seems like only yesterday they were only seeds. Look, they are changing from their infant green to their mature colors. They're going to be red, just like their mother."
"Did you hear about Perdy? She got picked yesterday. She was snipped right above the roots."
"Poor Perdy, rest in peace. That is the worst way to go you know. She was in a lot of pain though, with her petals falling out and all. But why does this have to happen to us? Why can't SHE just leave us alone? SHE thinks just because SHE planted us, SHE can pick us! Well I've watched this garden get picked one by one and I don't like it!"
"Calm down Opal, we all knew this would happen."
"SHE will bleed before SHE takes me! I'm going to sharpen my thorns."
"It's OK. Calm down. Be careful of your congestive leaf failure condition. I know how you feel. Heddie, across the bed from me, says that SHE always knocks off her petals. How inconsiderate."
"I know and SHE always walks on my nice warm bed and I have to get all situated again."
"Just make sure SHE doesn't step on your leaves. That really hurts! And what about this view? All I ever see is the side of the house. Now Laura over there has a beautiful view. She can see trees and grass. I guess it's a good thing we are over here though. Everyone on that side of the garden gets picked. SHE must not notice us over here."
"Yes, I remember when this used to be the good side of the garden. But that wasn't enough for HER. SHE needed to add on. Make the garden bigger, add more beds and make the population larger. Why do things have to change?"
"Boy have we been through a lot, Martha. Remember the drought of '90? That was awful. We barely made it."
"Oh yes , I remember. My little Ann didn't make it. I blame it all on HER. SHE didn't bring us enough water. If SHE did maybe Ann would still be here."
"Now, now Martha. You have gotten over that. Don't let it bother you again.
"Opal, did you feel the ground shake?"
"Yes, but that wasn't the kind of shake SHE makes. I think it is just the shake that comes before the falling water."
"Oh that would be wonderful! I hope it is the falling water. Look, the sun went away. It is the falling water!"
"SHE won't come out when the falling water is here. This is our lucky day!"
"That means it is safe to go to sleep. Good night, Martha."
"Good night, Opal."
"Oh Opal, what a glorious day! I am refreshed and ready for a new day. Today I am going to sharpen my thorns."
"Great idea! Maybe I'll get some sun too. Did you know that there is a garden council meeting tonight? Amy is having it from her bed."
"What time? I can't wait! Amy is so sweet. I don't know how she can be a mom and the president of the garden council. She is amazing."
"I felt a shake! SHE's coming!"
"No SHE isn't. You are overreacting."
"You're right. I'm sorry. SHE just makes me so upset. Did I tell you that I won the petal weaving contest on Wednesday night? My prize was some perfume. Um, am I overreacting again or did the ground shake this time?"
"Yes! Here SHE comes! Just like usual, SHE has her basket. Look at HER. Why does SHE think SHE's so special? SHE has the ugliest leaves I have ever seen. They are so long and skinny and are frayed at the end. SHE doesn't have any petals, that is so ugly. HER face is on the side of HER head instead of the top. How can SHE see the sun? SHE is the ugliest rose I have ever seen. SHE probably doesn't smell good either."
"I think SHE tries to trick us because SHE always brings us water but we know better. Who is SHE going to pick today? SHE's over by Rosie."
"Listen to the silence. Everyone is so afraid."
"Here comes the water. OOH, that feels so good. Oh No Martha! There they are, the rrrazor sssharp ssscissors! Who is it going to be? I knew SHE couldn't go one day without one of us."
"Not Amy! NO! Not Amy! Opal SHE took Amy! What are we going to do? What about her little ones?"
"Poor Amy. There SHE goes with Amy. SHE is going to put Amy in confinement and smell her and look at her. How humiliating. No one deserves that kind of life. We are just lucky."
"I can't believe SHE took Amy! This is the worst day."
"Martha, you say that every time this happens."
"Well it's true."
"Come on Martha, that was enough excitement for me. I need a nap."
"Opal! Opal wake up! Wake up Opal! What is that noise? Opal what is that noise?"
"What, what, what is that noise? Is sounds like the thing that cuts the grass. Don't worry, it never comes by us because SHE wouldn't want us to get eaten. What would SHE do then? SHE would have no one to pick."
"Yes, but doesn't SHE usually run the thing that cuts the grass?"
"Who is that? That isn't HER. That person doesn't know how to run it. Look at him. He is all over the place."
"Look, look there SHE is. SHE is talking to him. SHE is pointing to us and shaking HER head from side to side. Now SHE is leaving. Where is SHE going? Wait! I actually want HER back! Come back!"
"He is going the other way."
"Um never mind. Here he comes again. Wait! Where is he? The grass cutter is out of control! It's coming strait for us!"
"How does it work by itself?"
"Quick! Try to get as low as you can! Maybe it won't get us."
"Think of what is going to be left of our garden. What about the little ones? They won't ever get to experience life. Poor things."
"I never thought it would end like this. I figured I would die of dehydration or something, not the grass cutter. Now I can be with my Ann."
"Well look at it this way, we aren't getting picked. Here it comes! AHHHH......"Acknowledgments: This story was inspired by the Disney movie Alice In Wonderland. Movies like this, along with cartoons have inspired my writing. I would like to thank everyone in my fantasy class, especially Terry Heller, for helping me out.
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