Harold The House Plant

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Start or end your story with a person buying a house plant. ... view prompt


Contemporary Fantasy

Harold The House Plant—George Davis

  For over six weeks, I sat at the counter at the local hardware store. Few took notice of me, but some; mostly little ones severed my leaves, leaving me a shivering, naked floral specimen. 

Sorry, someone’s coming. “Isn’t this cute plant cute, Mother?” The stranger said to an elderly lady. Ladies are attached more to plants, care more for them, tend them with the TLC of a caring mother. 

  “How much does it cost, Nate?” The lady asked. Nate lifted the price tag and said, “too much, Mother. This scraggly, undernourished weed is $4.50 plus tax.” 

  “Humph, that’s highway robbery,” Nate said.

  “Come on then, we’ll buy some seedlings and grow our own plants,” said the white-haired woman. 

  See why I’ve set so long on this counter. The owner won’t discount moi. He’d rather I sit here until I wither away, drop all my leaves, and be relegated to the huge-green monster in the rear of the store. 

  “Okay, Harold, if you don’t sell by Monday. Out you go,” the owner said. Unable to answer him, my stem only quivered, and I swooned. When I woke, I was still on the counter. Why doesn’t he put me in the window where I can get some sun, and where I would be visible to all passing by the store? 

  “Look Martha, the sign says the plant's name is Harold. That’s cute. I want to buy it. We can put it out on the sun porch where it’ll get the sun, and you can water it as you do all your other plants.”  

  “No way, Michael I am not going to take this seedy-looking specimen home with us. Look at the leaves, they are beginning to turn brown. It would be dead within a week.” 

  "But Martha, you are a plant doctor. You can save his life.” 

  “It would take a miracle to bring this uncultivated weed.” 

  “Please, look. He is begging us to take him home. Please, won’t you save the poor thing’s life?” 

  “No way. Now let’s get what we came here for, loam, Iris bulbs, and weed-killer.” She thinks more of bulbs and weed-be-gone than she does of me. 

  Sunday morning and the church people will be coming in today after services. Maybe some kind soul will buy me, and take me out of this prison. Here comes a man toward me. He is picking me up, looking at me but alas; he put me down. “Hey, Jim, you still got this same plant you’ve had here for a month? How much will you take for him? Cash on the barrelhead?” 

  “Let me see,” Jim; the store’s owner replied. “Hey, this plant is an exotic fern from Africa. I paid good money for this fine model.” Now, I came from Africa? Last week, Jim told a woman I was from the Florida Everglades, saved from extinction by a horticulturist in the Sunshine State.  Truth be told, I was born and raised in a hothouse in New Jersey. 

  “Come on, Jim. I’ll give you two bucks, and take this sorry-looking specimen off your hands.” 

The next thing I knew. I was being run through the cash register, reduced to $2. The shame of it all. I should have been priced way higher than I was in the beginning. It isn’t every day a plant-like me has to stay in plant prison until our leaves turn brown, and we embark on their final journey. 

  The ride home was exciting. All I could think about was living among friends, free at last from the boredom of my prison. 

  “Okay, Harold. You are home.” The kind man is drawing water from his sink. Phew…I’m thirsty. I can tell this man is going to be kind to me. I look forward to a life of ease and happiness. 

  For the first month. I enjoyed my surroundings. I got along with most of the other plants. The exceptions were the African violet and the bleeding heart. They were both arrogant and proud.  The violet was proud of its heritage, its descendants coming from a different continent than the rest of us. The bleeding heart was just plain nasty, wouldn’t speak to anyone except the violet. 

  I think it was after a couple of months, that my master removed me from the sun porch, and he brought me outdoors while I didn’t understand what he was doing. I trusted he was going to keep me safe. 

  “Okay, Harold. It’s time to set you free, make something of yourself. Make me proud of you, Harold.” He took me out of my natural habitat, the composition box I was raised, and lived in for many months. 

  It was spring and in Maine sunshine in May is hit or miss. Of course I understand I need sunshine, but also, into my life a little rain must fall, or I’d wither away, dry up and die.

  I guess I have been in this man’s garden for six weeks by now. I’m not complaining. I have a good view of nature all around me. I’ve gotten to enjoy my conversations with his tomato plants.  His cucumbers and I talk a lot about the old days when we were little seeds, and how we love the rich, smooth soil. However, I’m not to keen on having those little bugs traipsing across my body, taking little nips here and there. It hurts, but I’m unable to stop them. My master did spray something all over me last week, and now the little pests don’t bother.me. However, I’m allergic to that powder, make me cough. I guess you can’t have everything.

  Wait, what are you doing to me? My master is pulling at me. It is all right. I have a large tumor around my stomach. It doesn’t bother me, but it is unsightly to say the least.

  “Okay, Harold. Thanks for the cabbage. I’m going to cut it into small pieces and make me some nice coleslaw. Yummm!”

   I slept all winter. When I woke in the spring I felt reborn.The Good Lord resurrected me. I am a new plant. 

April 25, 2022 12:43

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