"She's Always Packing" from The Grind Stone Vol. 2: Environmentalism (flash fiction)
Updated: Jul 29, 2022
She's Always Packing
by Ursula Curiosa
February 21, 2022
"Approach her as packing and dangerous," said the Field Marshal for the Hoosier Section of the Bureau of Seed and Plant Control, District 6 (hereafter "BSPC-HS6"). Waxed pith helmets glinted with hatred of farmers as the snatch squad nodded. "She's a convicted gardener, so expect resistance. She didn't turn in anything at the buy-back events last week. She's always packing seeds and giving them away to people in her 'beloved community,' whatever that means. Executive Order #4201337 forbids the distribution of seeds in this District except by BSPC-HS6 Bureaucrats. Enabling people to grow their own food and medicine is contrary to the New Common Law—such insolence and desire and hubris. That all ends tonight."
"Sir, the amnesty period to give up their seeds doesn't end for three days," noted a fresh faced young Bureaucrat.
"Did I ask you a damned thing?" snarled the Field Marshal. "She's gotten enough amnesty to last a lifetime, what with refusing to stop teaching how to grow plants and save seeds. That lifetime ends tonight. She's getting buried like a seed." And indeed they did bury me that night.
Before my temporary interment, a squad of Bureaucrats for BSPC-HS6 shot me out of a redbud tree in a semi-automatic hail of bean bag rounds propelled by carbon dioxide. One bean bag broke my glasses, squished my eye, and scrambled my brains. Their robot-dogs had nearly run me down, but I got into a tree just in time to avoid them trampling me. The redbud tree bled xylem where their titanium claws dug in. They let out electronic barks which some really sick puppies had designed to cause incapacitating auditory pain.
The Bureaucrats wore special headphones to avoid the busted eardrums that come with hearing the siren-like baying of the robot-dogs. All of the animals with ears in the redbud and surrounding vegetation fell out of their perches in pain. When I joined them on the ground, blood trickled from my ears as my blood pressure went to zero. The snatch squad ran my pockets and found no seeds.
The Bureaucrats buried me in a fallow field in a shallow grave. The seeds hidden in my jacket ate my decaying flesh and rose up to the surface well-fed. Blossoms and ornate greenery filled out under the Sun to about 15 square feet during the first year, which was visible from a hiking trail traversed by the dispossessed in the hopes of just being let alone by governmental authorities. Such trailblazers took cuttings of the plants with pleasure and the boldest amongst them came back for seeds when they were ready to harvest.
About an acre of the secret garden continues on, as it has spread out from what used to be my body. I can't tell you where it is, because I don't trust you enough, my Beloved Reader. What I can tell you, though, is to look for a furtive blossom in a window and never ask about it. Mentioning the possibly-unlicensed plant might cause the gardener to destroy all of their plants for fear of getting busted by the BSPC-HS6. If you take a hike, I know you will find something beautiful.
The seeds and plants whom I loved in life live on in the secret growhouses of comrades, awaiting the day to re-emerge victorious in dedicated garden plots which no longer have to be secrets. I cannot separate them from myself, since they consumed me. I am fortunate that I did not die.
This flash fiction was published in the lit anthology The Grind Stone Vol. 2: Environmentalism. It is available to collect for your library here.