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The Scrivener: The Plant

There was one word on the foyer door. PLANT. And that simple arrangement of five letters sent a bumpy goose running up and down Brian Barratt's arms.

For more delicious fun with words visit Brian's Web site: www.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/

On the third floor in the building where I sometimes work (not that I work on the floor, you understand) there is the usual foyer. What makes it intriguing are the doors.

There are three lift doors. One in front of you and two behind you. Depending, of course, on which way you happen to be facing at the time. But letís assume you are...Facing at the time, that is. On either side of the lift door in front of you are other doors. The one on the left says Stairs. It doesnít actually say ĎStairsí. It canít speak. But a little sign announces...oh, you know what I mean.

Behind that door are more doors. One has a picture of a mushroom with a lighthouse on top of it. That is where Ladies go. Another has a clothes peg wearing a hat. That is where Gentlemen go. The other has no picture at all but it leads to the stairs.

But that other door, on the right of the lift ó it has a sign that bears one word: PLANT.

I noticed that sign one morning. I could swear it wasnít there before. It wasnít there the day before, Iím sure. Well, I think Iím sure. Perhaps it was there, but I was not meant to see it.
I read it again: PLANT. The little hairs on the back of my neck rose in unison. A bumpy goose ran up and down my arms. Both of them. I was suddenly afraid.

This building, I should explain, houses many technological electronic and researching persons. They do all sorts of Secret Things behind their doors. They need special magnetic key things to get in and have to press a little buzzer to get out. Itís dreadfully secret. I always avoid the lines between the tiles on the floor, you know, when I walk to my own door. I have no wish to stumble on someoneís secrets if I happen to encounter a crossed line.

PLANT, it said. Thatís all. Just PLANT.

Have you ever read John Wyndhamís The Day of the Triffids?
You know what happened to those people, donít you? They were taken over by rampant vegetables that stung them and blinded them with their lashing stamens (or pistils). Plants that chattered to each other in a weird language. Plants that uprooted themselves and went marching all over the place with evil intent. Plants that came to life and took over the Earth.

What is behind that door? Thatís what I want to know! I do think they should have something like BEWARE OF THE PLANT if it is one of them.

THEY are taking over, you know.

We may have only a short time to prepare ourselves for the ultimate onslaught of The Plants. Until that day, I think I shall have to walk very quietly by the door that says PLANT, so that I do not do anything to cause it to write my name it its little book.

And just you be careful what you buy when you get your next packet of seeds!

You could be next.

© Copyright 2004, 2005 Brian Barratt

Adapted from an article first published in Bonzer!


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