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Invasion Preview


A gentle yet heavy rain dances on the lilacs and lilies of the valley. Or is it lily of the valleys? A pregnant pause lies bloated on the grass as the milky dewdrops cling to the bosoms of trees. A garbage truck revs its engine, but with so much rain, the exhaust, which would normally inflate the lungs of happy pedestrians, is battered down and falls lifeless on the tarmac. Another glorious San Francisco morning. The pistils of variegated flowers open up wide, wet, and voracious, catching the water droplets and whatever pollen, earth-born or otherwise, happens to land within their labial folds. It is spring.

A waterlogged pod rests on a dripping oak leaf, waiting for the right time. It is now the right time. Dammit, I wasn’t quite ready for… okay, fine. Tendrils break through the membrane and pierce the veinous surface of the leaf. Sprouting from the pod, a lone flower. There is nothing special about this flower. Other than the fact that it’s growing from the middle of a leaf and is, in fact, a species from a whole other planet, it’s pretty ordinary. So why Elizabeth stops and plucks it from its perch to smell it, well, that’s anyone’s guess.

Across the playground, a priest who looks an awful lot like Robert Duvall sits on the swing,  trying to go higher and higher, pumping his legs back and forth, in a childlike manner whilst ogling the other swinging children.

A teacher leads her class on a very special field trip of the parking lot. “Ooh, there’s more ordinary, harmless-looking flowers, children. Go pick them.” She glances over at the swings. “Oh, look, a priest. Stay with me, class. Don’t wander too close.”

“I got one,” says a boy.

“I got six of them,” says one of the other boys.

“I don’t have any,” says a girl.

“Well, maybe next time you’ll look harder. You, other boy, give her one of your six. Everyone else have at least one? Good. Now, I expect you all to take these home and give them to your parents. I promise your parents will be perfectly fine and safe after receiving the flowers from you. Come on, children. Let’s go this way. Give the priest a wide berth; there ya go.”


Elizabeth opens the door to her apartment and trips over a Sears catalog.

“Too busy to pick the mail up off the floor, Geoffrey?”

He throws her a confusing hand signal, which simultaneously means, I can’t hear you because I have giant earphones on, and, Come over here and sit on me while I watch the basketball game.

“Look at this flower,” she says, sitting on him. “Pretty ordinary, huh?”

Geoffrey doesn’t care about a flower, which he demonstrates by plunging his tongue down her esophagus.

“I think it’s a grex,” Elizabeth says.

“Now’s not the time to spout Dr. Seuss,” says Geoffrey, his tone turning grave. “It is never the time to spout Dr. Seuss. You know this, Liz. Just like you know how much I hate clams casino. His books should be banned, burned, and b- um, another word that begins with B. Now, let me see if I can reach your spleen.”

His tongue does its best Gene Simmons impersonation. It unrolls, reaching down to his knee. Impressive, but she’s no longer in the mood. How dare he bring up Dr. Seuss. “I believe you’re thinking of the Lorax, dear,” she says, getting a little moist down below as she speaks that word. “This is a grex. It’s a hybrid.”

“Then why don’t you say ‘hybrid’? Why invent all these Dr. Seuss words? You know how much I hate Dr. Seuss. Just like you know how much I hate baked stuffed colostomies. Now, where was I?”

“Put your tongue back in your mouth, Geoffrey. I’m done with you for now. It’s epilobic, you know?” she says, deftly bringing the subject back to flora.


“Lobic. Lobic, meaning pod. And epi, meaning Greek prefix. Most of them are dangerous, you know?”

“Dangerous? Geez. I better start brushing up on my etymology. I had no idea about prefixes. What could happen to me if I use the wrong one?”

“What? No, stupid. The prefixes aren’t dangerous. The plants. You dumb, dumb cretin. They’re an invasive species, choking the life out of most other flora. They seem to thrive in most war-torn European countries.”

“Such as?”

“Well, all European countries, basically.”

“Hmm,” Geoffrey says thoughtfully.

“But never the United States.”


Never. The United States,” she says ominously.


“So what is this doing here, Geoffrey?”

“Mmm?” he says, shrugging.

“Is this plant going to take over the country? The entire planet? Are we in for a Rude Awakening? Jesus fuck and holy cow!”

“Don’t you think you’re making too much of a big deal about this?” asks Geoffrey. “It’s just a plant.”

“Yeah. You’re right. Just a plant,” she says, tossing the flower out the window and out of sight, where it rapidly takes root and chokes the life out of a nearby dandelion. “I’m hungry. Want Chinese?”

“Yes, please!”


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