My roots are dirty. Someone has poured dirt on my roots! They were clean this morning. Oh, yes, I’m certain they were clean. I had felt the air on them- warm and soothing. It had been most comforting. I had fallen asleep.

And now to wake up with dirt on my roots! Outrageous!

I look around me. There is nothing but a large expanse of shiny surface all around, and I sit in the middle with dirt on my roots. A little bit of air moves near my upper leaves. They are young and sensitive to the slightest movements in the air. It isn’t the wind, as I had hoped, but a head. A human head.

The human head peers down at me and watches me sit in the dirt. It is a humiliating experience. I retort by holding my young stems rigidly still. I am offended. Let there be no doubt about that.

But I am only weeks old, I tire of holding myself rigidly. I shift my roots uncomfortably in the dry soil. Dirt. It besmirches my pretty white roots. The human head watches me still. I think it smiles. It obviously enjoys my discomfort.

The air moves over me again and a second, larger head appears. I wonder tiredly how many more such heads I am to entertain in my disheveled state.

But no! This head does not watch me. It has hands! It uses said hands to scoop me up, dirt and all, and deposits me into a tub! I tumble on to my side, disgusted at such incompetence. Now, I have dirt on my leaves! Oh, my poor leaves. They used to be such a pristine young green.

The hands descend on me again and I bear its clumsy ministrations with great dignity. A second pair pours yet more dirt on me. Most of my shoot is now submerged in dry, tasteless earth- even my lower leaves are dirty! Such disrespect beggars belief!

My outrage simmering I promise to myself that I would not grow another shoot, not even the tiniest bud for such heartless keepers. Never! I shall die young and be forever lamented by my captors! This tiny dirt-filled tub shall be first prison and final grave! I lose track of time as I spend a few gratifying moments imagining my jailers’ faces as they discover my withered form.

Cool water trickles past my roots and I jerk awake! Fresh, clean, pure and wonderfully filling water gathers around my roots and I pull it up, up into my shoot, into my stems and my leaves.


The earth is no longer dry, it lives and helps me breathe. The dirt is bearable on my stems now as their cousins hold my water for me as I drink thirsty gulps of that wonderful elixar.

Hands pick my tub up. What mischief are they about now? Will they take my water from me? Will I stand again, alone, in a tub full of dry earth, tasteless dirt covering my roots?

Warmth! Wind! Golden light! They have placed me on a wide ledge and beyond it I can see my kin standing tall and strong below. They revel in the sun and so do I.

The dirt seems not so bad any more. Perhaps I will not die just yet, perhaps i will stand here long enough to reward the two heads with a few more leaves. And maybe another shoot. Maybe. If they remember to bring me my wonderful water everyday.

Hmmm. The sun smiles down at me, and I think the humans smile too.


a short story slam project



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