Tzvi's Trees: Stories About Weed
#08 Roses are Green
by Tzvi Peckar the Third, 2015
There are toys scattered across the faded kitchen linoleum. Michael, a father of three, unemployed for over a year, weedless for a few months short of a year, can’t believe how monstrous the little titans have been today. This father tried to keep the place clean all day; it was his wife’s only request, “It’s my first day of real work again. Please make the boys pick up after themselves,” and then she kissed him, and vanished for the next ten hours. This was a new world for both of them. The struggle of Michael’s lack of employment due to the heart wrenching economy, Karen’s desire to raise their children on their own without any help from her family took its toll long enough, and they both felt a waitress job for Karen was going to do them better than another unemployment check. “Boys, get in here,” Michael called on the three mini-duplicates of himself. The boys piled in single file, smallest to largest, into the kitchen, stopping at the doorframe, all looking up at Dad, none looking at their mess on the floor. “What’s going on in here?” Michael asked. Justin, the five year old, the eldest, standing at a whopping 3 feet 1 inch tall, looks at the disaster, then at Timmy the four year old, a good six inches shorter, then back at Dad,
“Timmy did it.”
“Timmy didn’t do this all on his own,” Michael said.
“Johnny too,” Justin replied, pushing Johnny, the tiny 3 year old, forward toward the judge.
“What about you?” Michael asked the leader of the three.
“Not my toys,” he said, and Michael witnessed his eldest son’s keen sense of dishonesty, as he picked up Justin’s very own toy guitar with an “I belong to Justin” sticker on the body, “What does this say?” Dad asked, catching his boy red-handed.
“I don’t know how to read,” the wise ass little monster of a bean sprout retorted with the poop eating grin he inherited from his grandmother, Karen’s mom.
“Go to your room,” Michael scolded the child.
“Why?!” Justin screeched, and the other two boys snickered.
“Don’t laugh at your brother,” Michael now has to scold them all, wiping his brow, exhausted from the battles of war they waged in the backyard for hours. They dug in along the deck, set up water hose cannons, collected plenty of Nerf artillery. The enemy was two miles out, if they could get their team organized then they were sure to hold them off, but Johnny was already making mud-pies, while Justin and the Timmy were tormenting the tot by putting a wrench in the hose. “Stop it!” the small soldier yelled at his elders. Michael would have to drop the shovel again, break up the friendly fire, and get his army focused on the war at hand. “I want you to get along today,” he’d instruct the top sergeant, “Is that understood, Justin.”
“We’re just fooling around,” Justin pleaded his case, then as helpful as a con-artist could be, picked up one of the shovels and continued the ditch work, leaving the other two to man the green snake, the hose cannon. “We’ll all get a chance to fire the cannon,” General Dad commanded, and posted the two rookies into defense position. With the sun beginning to beat down on the sitting militia, General would hydrate his boys with Tang and Soda, “Soda?” Timmy asked, and the General had assured him it was a secret to be kept from the president, “President Madam Mom.”
“Yes sir!” the soldiers saluted and downed their cans, and little Johnny sucked down his box of Tang, squeezing the emptiness in his baby palm and tossing it over the ditch, setting off the backyard War with the first grenade. “Fire in the hole!” General Dad yelled as he intentionally tossed his own Coca-Cola Can-Grenade at the cement wall of the home, bursting the carbonation into a mechanical metal spinning ball of fury, and the boys ran for cover, in circles, squiggles, screaming, going for their mud-pies, sending the clumps of wet dirt bombs right at their own leader, the General who had turned on his men, and these little military boys must now defend the honor of their base from this: “THE GIANT TRAITOR!” The General takes massive fire, pelted in every possible place on his body, and he’s down, rolling for cover, but he’s a ninja, an unstoppable adversary for the kids, taking hold of the hose cannon and setting it on high. “No,” mouths Justin under his breath as he takes the baby and puts him in front of himself as a human shield. “I don’t negotiate with children,” the Giant Traitor tells the boy, and releases the knot of the hose, pressing hold of the trigger and blasting the baby in the belly, a little too hard, and the mini-soldier goes down into a pool of mud, and the crying begins. “You hurt Johnny!” yelled Timmy, and Justin’s stepping back wiping his hands clean of the violence, “I didn’t do it,” and the General ran to his littlest soldier’s side, lifting him from the mud, the child’s faced wounded with mud splatter, weeping, blaming his father for this tragedy, “Get him a towel,” the General tells Timmy, and Timmy looks to Justin, and Justin just nods, and Soldier Timmy runs to the house and retrieves a towel from the bathroom, hands it to the Giant General and asks, “Is he going to be okay?”
“Medic!” Dad calls to Justin, as he wipes the face of the wounded soldier. Justin squats beside his father, “Yes!” Dad puts Justin’s palm on Johnny’s chest, “Take his pulse, medic,” he instructs as he draws his fingers through the muddy hair of his son who is calming down, finding things more humorous, less deadly. “More mud!” yells the wounded little soldier. “I think he’s okay, Dad,” Medic Justin diagnoses. “Let’s get him in the house, boys. We need to hit the showers before our military meal.”
“Sir, yes sir!” all three mini-pretend-soldiers salute and run off into the house. The General remains in the theater of war. How much trouble are they all going to be in when the wife sees the yard like this? How much trouble is the General in? “I gotta clean this up,” he says to the ditches, picking up a shovel, spreading down the soil back into the mud lakes, then remembering, “The boys!” and rushes into the barracks to tend to his tumultuous army of crazed children of variously terrible ages, left to their own accord.
Upon entering his home, Michael finds only the silence from nothing, but what sounds like the running of a bath upstairs. The bathroom door is still open, steam rises from the bath, the hot nozzle has been turned on, but the place is lacking the boys. Where are the boys? “Boys!” Michael yells as he turns off the hot water, and ramps up the cold before fetching the monsters in their shared room.
All three of the tiny tyrants are in their room and the mud from outside has accompanied them in a quiet carnival of guilty silence. Each of them has taken shelter on their bed, Timmy on his top bunk, and muddy Johnny laid haphazard on his once white sheets. “What am I missing?” Dad asks, but no one speaks, they all just smile. “Why are you all so quiet?” still no answer. “Okay, Justin,” Dad finally asks. “Yeah Dad?” Justin replies, ready for the next order, “Help Johnny out of his clothes, by then the bath will be cool enough. Bathe him and come downstairs for dinner.” Dad holds position, eye-balling the boy, making sure he understood the instructions, completely. “Sir, yes sir?” Justin says, a strange twinge to his voice, they are hiding something for sure.
Downstairs is the nuclear fallout that was once the kitchen. Michael is utterly confused. How did they do this? They dumped nearly every toy they have ever been gifted onto the kitchen floor, and for what possible reason? Muddy handprints have been engraved against cabinets, swiped across the white chairs, and yet somehow the muddy foot prints lead up along the wall in a rainbow shape, as if the boys held Johnny up so he could walk on the wall. “My children are lunatics,” Michael says aloud and then back to himself, “They weren’t like this when we were both home—BOYS!!!!!!!!!!!”
The house is quiet for real now. The TV is on, but Michael’s got it low, he’s not all that interested in the commercials, and would like to pass out from the long day. He checks the clock on the cable menu, nearing 10pm, and the front door opens and the wife is home and Michael perks up like a puppy and stands to attention, “Hey babe, how was the first day?” Karen asks Michael before he can ask her the same.
“Outdoor play, Pizza, and then bed. I wrestled them down by twenty-one hundred hours,” he says leaving gaps in the story.
“I brought you something,” she says, “For being such a supportive husband.”
And from behind her, Michael’s beautiful, loving wife presents him with a quarter bouquet of flowers—Cannabis flowers, purple and green marijuana budded flowers, covered in highly potent keif. “Let’s roll one before bed,” she says kissing Michael’s cheek. “You brought me flowers,” and he returns the kiss, but on the lips, rolls the jay, and takes his working girl to bed, only to be interrupted by littlest monster, he’s thirsty, he wants some water, and Karen says, “Smoke another dear, I’ll put him back to bed,” and kisses her mate, puts on her robe, and before she steps out of their temple of solidarity, Michael simply says, “I love you.”