Growing Back

overgrown city

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“I’ll be out front taking care of the weeds, Diane.” Rudy Harper was yelling as he held the door open between the laundry room and the garage.

“Okay.” He could hear her well enough, though she was in the kitchen.

He shut the door. The garage was already open to the driveway so he had plenty of light to see. He wasn’t in a good mood, and was muttering to himself as he opened one of the utility cabinets. “Freaking summer. Everybody loves freaking summer. Gonna be another scorcher today, freaking hundred degrees at least. There. Gotcha.” He pulled the bottle of weed killer and a pair of gloves out and closed the cabinet.

Putting on the gloves, he wielded his weapon, preparing to vanquish one of his sworn enemies. “Freaking weeds, always growing up through the cracks in the concrete. Got the lawn mowed and edged early enough, but I’ll end up sweating like a pig over the damn weeds.”

Adjusting the nozzle on the sprayer, he placed his finger on the trigger, took careful aim, and, “Zap! That got you. Now on to your miserable little friends.” Rudy shifted his middle-aged bulk from one protruding and unwanted bit of greenery to the next, and then set to work with those infesting the planters until he deemed it too hot to be without the comfort of air conditioning.

Closing the garage door, he flipped on the lights and took off his gloves, tossing them on the nearby work bench. Then he grabbed his reading glasses and took a look at the label on the back of the weed killer bottle. “Starts to work within 48 hours. Great. Die you scum.”

A week later, Rudy walked outside to enjoy a few brief moments in the cool of the morning air before tackling the yard again. “What the…” Staring in disbelief at his driveway, not only had the weeds not died, they’d grown, noticeably widening the cracks in the concrete. The same for those in the sidewalk, and those he’d pulled out of his planters had regrown and were larger than before.

“Of course you know, this means war.”

He didn’t get that far. The lawn stopped him first, or rather, stopped up his mower. The fibers of the grass had become too tough for the machine’s blade. “I just had this thing sharpened in May.

“Honey.” Diane was standing just inside the garage calling out to him. “There’s something on the news you’ve got to see.”

“Yeah, be there in a second.” Then muttering again, “It’s a cinch I’m not going to get anything done out here.”

Abandoning the mower at the edge of his front yard, he trudged inside. The television special broadcast said it all. Rudy wasn’t alone. Grass, trees, shrubs, were becoming increasingly difficult to cut or trim, and weeds were all but invulnerable to every form of herbicide. It was so bad, that the plant life in parks, municipal areas, and the unincorporated areas of the county were encroaching on the city. In a few months, people would be competing with vegetable life for living space.

“I don’t believe it.”

“Honey, come here.”

“What is…” He stopped talking when he entered the kitchen and saw a fresh, green stem spouting through the cracks in the hardwood floor.

I wrote this for Tale Weaver #180 – Growth – 19/7/18 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. Today, anyone participating is invited to craft a poem, short story, or other creative work based on the theme of “growth.” Just for giggles, the word count is limited between 500 to 600 words. Mine is 550.

There are tons of science fiction tales about the end of civilization where plant life encroaches on the deserted cities. I figured why wait?

2 thoughts on “Growing Back

  1. That’s a great response James I did enjoy your tale as scary as it is to consider. Sometimes I think it is good fortune more than anything else that allows us to dominate the planet as we do….though in tropical areas if you abandon anything the bush is quick to reclaim it.

    Liked by 1 person

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