Author : Eric L. Sofer

Dear Cousin Pynn,

I want to thank you for the birthday present you sent from Proxima Centauri. You obviously remembered my love for plants and botanicals, and it was such a thrill getting a genuine extra-solar gift.

The HydroFern was lovely, and I carefully followed the instructions you included. And per the growth schedule, it bloomed and grew magnificently. The blues and purples sparkle in the sunlight (filtered, as you noted.)

Unfortunately, my imbecile of a husband did NOT read the instructions. I was on Mars for a weekend, and he decided to take care of it for me, despite his lack of any skill with plants at all. You would have thought that he might have known better, as he was perfectly aware it was from a different star system – or, as he referred to it, “that damned alien tumbleweed.”

He placed it into direct, unfiltered sunlight, and watered it – nearly a liter of liquid. He neglected to add the growth inhibitor, and he didn’t wear gloves. You can imagine that when it began to grow uncontrolled, the first thing he thought of was to grab it and throw it away.

I was able to get him medical assistance after I got home the next evening. Once the parameds got the plant unwrapped from around him, and started detoxifying his bloodstream, his skin began changing back from that lavender (which, really, did his features credit). They were able to remove the pods sprouting from his arms and legs also, and I’m told that study of these has yielded some fascinating data.

Of course, he is now institutionalized at the Center for Botanical Rehabilitation, but I don’t mind the peace and quiet around the apartment now. It’s so nice when I visit him… he just sits there, nodding and staring, quiet and nonabusive. They say he might recover his speech someday, too. And he’s finally achieved what I knew he could always become.

So thank you again, and best wishes from cousin Jek and her husband, the blooming idiot.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows