A Job for Superkid
The Purns' house was suddenly swamped with phone calls. Mrs. Purn was quite surprised by the number of them calling. She quickly became irritated when she discovered what they wanted.
"Superkid? What do you need my son for? …Mutant plants? …You think I should send my son over to save you? Aaron doesn't do that kind of stuff! At least, he shouldn't! …He's not Superkid, he's Aaron! …No, he can't save you, save yourself! …Because he's busy! …What is he busy with? None of your business! Now goodbye!" She slammed the phone down but had to immediately pick it back up when it rang.
But what was Superkid busy with? What kind of secret mission was he on? Something more urgent than mutant plants attacking? Something that threatened the world? Something dangerous and majorly epic?
Actually, no. He was busy in the garden, pulling weeds. They weren't even mutated or evil! Just regular old weeds that had overtaken a perfectly normal garden! Mrs. Purn was using her son to weed her garden while mutant plants were on a rampage! How could she do that?!
I don't know, but while people were screaming in horror, Superkid - he was actually Aaron at the moment - was sweating in the garden, chopping with his mighty trowel at stubborn weeds that were crowding the tulips residing there, dislocating his shoulder, with a merciless sun bearing down on him. Now Aaron loved his mother very much, but even he thought she was going too far making him weed a garden that was way too late to save, in the middle of summer.
"It's too late to plant anything. The weeds will grow back and I'll end up pulling them again when it's cold… boy, I hate gardens! You work to death and in the end you get nothing! And they're such a pain to water! Water them too little and they shrivel and brown. Water them too much and they bleach…"
These and many other points proved why gardening was best scrapped in the bad idea pile. But there was soon to be another point for Aaron - one that would top all the others!
Once again we must take a dip below the ground where it's crowded with minerals and putrid compost to witness once again a thick, snaky, mutant root slithering through the soil up to a cluster of bulbs with roots straggling below. This is the last time, I promise you! We'll just stay long enough to watch the mutant root pop out some spines, plug them into the bulbs and begin pumping poison to change the domestic tulips up above into man-eating plants of doom. Did you see it? Okay, let's go.
Hidden by the numerous weeds, their change went unnoticed by Aaron. First, their puckered mouths of red and yellow closed and tightened as though they had suddenly tasted the sourest lemon in the world - trust me, I'd know. But that's a different story. Then the tulips' mouths opened and from each of them a long yellow tongue with a knob on the end stretched out and tasted the air.
All those tulip tongues waved in the air, trying to catch a taste. Then they slowed to a stop - one at a time - until they were all leaning in the same direction… toward Aaron's upraised rear end.
Having found their target, the tulip tongues slowly retracted into the tulip mouths and the tulips themselves slowly retracted into the ground, hiding in the cover of the thick weeds, like little vicious monsters waiting to pounce on their prey.
One of the tulips, however, did just the opposite. While its brothers… or sisters… or… cousins? Anyways, while the rest of them were ducking to the ground, this one - a bright red one - started stretching itself above the weeds with the sound of - er - your dad's belt ripping off! Ha ha! Whoa, wait. Is he… No, wait! Not the belt! Please, for the love of mercy, not the belt! OW!
Ow, that hurt. Geesh, where's everyone's sense of humor? Let's just get back to the tulip growing, its stem getting taller and thicker and its flower getting bigger and redder, the petals stretching with the sound of silk curtains rubbing against each other - and never mind your parents' pants ripping! I've had enough! The tulip grew larger and larger, stretching and stretching until it towered twenty feet over Aaron's back.
Yeah, you would think with all the ripping pants and rubbing silk curtains that Aaron would think, "What's that sound?" and turn around a see a gigantic flower looking down on him, but no, he didn't hear anything over his grumbling and the sounds of weeds finally coming free from the dirt. But he had to have noticed the dark shadow stretching over him, right?
"Oh, finally! Some shade! Some clouds blocked the sun," he mumbled - without even turning around! I mean, come on! What is it going to take for that smart-aleck of a kid to notice his life is threatened by a mutated garden-variety tubular flower?
As it turned out, it required drool. It dropped onto his shoulder blade with sticky, squelching sounds and sent up an aroma that smelled strangely sweet like freshly cut grass with just a hint of mildew. This stopped Aaron, who was struggling with roots, which had come halfway out of the ground. He slowly used his right hand to touch the goop on his left shoulder. The goop came away on his fingers in quivering strands that swung away and then bunched up like teardrop-shaped bats.
"Bleck!" Aaron exclaimed, wiping it on his soiled shirt. "What in the…"
More drool plopped on his shoulder. At this, he finally - finally - turned around and looked up. Then his mouth dropped open. His eyes bugged out. And somewhere in the lower regions, an accident threatened to happen.
A ginormous tulip was looking down at him with its golden carpel dangling out. If Aaron didn't know better, he would have thought it was a hungry, mutant plant with a drooling tongue hanging out for a taste of him - which, of course, was exactly the case, and, coincidentally, Aaron wasn't really in a condition to know better.
The tongue descended, waving back and forth like a snake and dripping drool like a runny nose. On a sudden swing, the bulbous tip grazed Aaron's nose, effectively unfreezing him from his paralysis. And since our hero has regained his mobility, he took action and… backed away quickly and screamed like a girl. How heroic.
When Aaron panicked, the tulip reacted on instinct, whipping its tongue around him until he was completely wrapped in a slimy carpel. Then the evil tulip began reeling him in.
Aaron fought against it. He writhed and squirmed in the coils of the mutant plant's tongue. He would have used his arms to beat futilely against the twisted tulip but they were wrapped against his sides by the sticky carpel!
Closer and closer the plant pulled him to its cup-like mouth. Harder and harder Aaron struggled, looking desperately around for something to save himself with. His brain worked overtime to figure out a solution to this predicament, but would it be enough? He was almost directly under its dark maw!
He was lifted off the ground. He whipped his body around and kicked his legs as he was lifted closer to the tulip's sucking mouth. His heart pounded! His eyes rolled! His body was going to be swallowed soon if he didn't do something!
His upper torso was swallowed up. He kicked his legs even more frantically. But just when all hope seemed lost… The rest of his body was slurped up completely into the carnivorous flower's mouth.
Wait. WHAT? Aaron was eaten by a flower?! That's not right! He can't get eaten! He's the one who turns into Superkid who's supposed to save everyone from the floral menace! That can't happen! Oh, geez, SUPERKID! SUPERKID! WAKE UP! You've got to escape! You can't be eaten! Oh great, where's an in-story character when you need one?
Er… while we're dealing with this plot-development crisis, please enjoy these limericks:
A boy with a cold said, "Achoo!"
His friend, quite polite, said, "Bless you."
The boy sneezed again
Got him covered in phlegm
So the next time his friend did eschew
My friend found an odd kind of bean
It was the biggest that I'd ever seen
But my friend, he just ate it
And then he inflated
Then let loose 'til the whole town was green
I had always thought my friend quaint
For the methods she'd use when she'd paint
She'd gargle and spit
And lick it a bit
I'd say more but you look like you'll faint!
We're nearly finished here. You'll be returned to your regularly scheduled piece of literature shortly.
Whew! Hah! Okay, nothing to worry about anymore, friends. The crisis has been resolved. It was a close one but we've managed to get everything back on track. The story's okay now. Here's what happened:
When the evil tulip had swallowed Aaron, it didn't realize it had swallowed something dangerous along with him. What was it? Patience, you'll find out eventually.
The lump that was Aaron traveled down the carnivorous flora's throat. The tulip then used its tongue-like carpel to lick its petal lips and then it let out a disgusting explosion from its mouth that would send most etiquette-conscious mothers into a frenzy. Lucky for these mothers, the flower was about to get its come-uppance. The lump that was Aaron suddenly stopped right in at the center of its throat. The tulip began twitching and making odd "ck-ck-ck" noises that sounded a lot like choking. Its little carpel tongue dangled out as it gagged and slowly the monstrous flower's head started to turn black. Two long leaves from its stem grabbed at the lump like two hands gripping a throat in a desperate ploy to free its windpipe.
Then something appeared on the bulge at its throat… a smaller, pointier bulge that was slowly growing larger and pointier. Suddenly, green pulp squirted from it like pimple juice. Then something moved in the rupture, shifting slimy lump until it poked through, sharp and metallic.
The leafy hands scraped at it but in vain. The sharp metallic thing continued to push out until it was possible to tell what it was. It had a sharp tip that suddenly widened, a crease in the middle, and it was bowed.
Yes, that's right! It was Aaron's mighty trowel come to save the day! Once a humble gardening tool that kept the pests of the plant kingdom in line, it was now a mighty weapon that cleaved through the demonic armies of the underground. Aaron had managed to keep a hold of that little garden shovel when he had been swallowed and now he was using it to cut himself out of the mutant plant's throat!
Once the mighty weapon had pushed itself out far enough, it slowly began hacking in a slow circle around the plant's throat. The evil plant's desperate groping became even more desperate and now it was writhing in agony. As more and more of its throat was sliced away, it thrashed and flailed more violently, which was merely speeding its death - it was ripping itself apart in its death throes!
At last, the tear at its neck went around full circle. The plant gave one last jerk, throwing itself to the ground with a surprisingly soft thud. Then there was another thud - a splotchy sort of thud. It was Aaron covered in green slime and pulp. He gasped and made dry retches as he got to his knees. After a while, his retching became words:
"That flower was huge! …And it ate me! I got eaten by a huge flower! …Where the heck did that thing come from?! Is there more of them?!"
At this frightening thought, he jumped to his feet and looked around in hysterical paranoia. All the flowers were out to get him! …Which was actually very accurate, if you remember all those tulips that had retracted to the ground. He backed out of the garden, swiveling his head left and right to make sure no other mutant flower was sneaking up on him. Then he turned and sprinted into the house where he found his mom just getting off the phone with another desperate cry for help.
"Mom!" he cried, "You won't believe me, but I was almost eaten by this giant tulip!"
"Giant tulip?!" his mother screamed, her voice rising to supersonic. "First I get all these calls about monster plants attacking and now you come in and tell me you were eaten by a giant flower?!"
You would think now that she would crack and let him be the superhero and stop the rampaging floral menace, right?
Unfortunately, no. She was a stubborn-headed mule all right, but she only needed a little bit more prodding to finally admit defeat and send out Poolington's number one go-to guy for superhuman catastrophes. And that little bit more prodding came from a very unlikely source…