A Terrible Story You Should Definitely Not Read

Do you ever have an idea you know is really dumb, but you can’t help going through with it? That’s today’s post. It’s truly awful, but it was something I needed to get out of my brain so I could move on to other things.

This one is for all the botanists out there. Apologies to the rest of you (and to the botanists, honestly.)

Here’s a photo of prairie wild rose (Rosa arkansana). I’m so sorry about the story.

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THE STOLON SWARD

by Chris Helzer

.

Basil was holding Rose in a tendril embrace when there was a sudden loud knocking on the door.

“Who is that??” asked Rose.  “Halophyte know,” said Basil, “I’ll go see.”

Basil walked to the door and opened it.  He was shoved backward by a masked figure, who barged into the room.

Rose scrambled up, grabbed a sward and prepared to ramet into the invader, but froze when the masked figure pulled a pistil.

Not wanting to Panicum, the masked figure shouted “Everyone keep culm!  Put down that blade and let’s talk.”

“What do you want?” asked Rose. 

“Eustoma sward and I want it back!” replied the figure. 

 Rose bristled with impatiens.  “Yeah?  Well, I want whorled peas, but that doesn’t mean I can burst into people’s houses and threaten to shoot them!”

“Just give me that sward and I’ll leaf you alone,” said the figure.

“Oh no you don’t,” said Rose.  “You get your awn sward.  This one was given to me by my Grama.”

From the door, Basil said, “Hay now.  Why don’t I Poa drink for each of us and we can talk about it.”

“Fine,” said the figure.  “I guess I’d like to ovoid violets, if possible.” 

As Basil gathered some glasses, the figure removed their mask.

“Oh, allopatric,” sighed Rose.  “I should have guessed it was you.”

“Sorry, Rose,” said Patric.  “I probably overreacted.  That sward really does look just like mine, though.”

“If you thought she was hiding stolon property,” said Basil, “you could have just Aster.”

“I know.  I’m sorry,” said Patric. 

Seeing Patric’s head drupe, Rose softened.  “Now, now,” she said, “everyone’s a Cinna sometimes.  But you’ve gotta be careful with your temper.”

“Yeah,” chimed in Basil.  “In decurrent climate, you don’t want to go around brandishing weapons.  Someone’s likely to overreact and do something regrettable.”

“Maybe we can help you, Patric.  When did first you notice your sward was missing?” asked Rose.

“Well, let’s see,” said Patric.  “I guess it was yesterday morning.  I went out to help a frond who had Diarrhena.  I picked up hirsute from the cleaners and dropped it at her house.  When I got back home, the sward was gone.”

“Do you have Anemone who might have taken it?” asked Rose.

“Gosh, not that I know of!” replied Patric.

“Maybe it’s time to call the copse,” suggested Basil.

“Yeah,” said Rose.  “They’ll take Carya.  My friend Ivy is a detective.  You could call her up and tiller what happened.”

“You’re right,” said Patric.  “I’ll do that right now.”

As Patric went into the next room to make the call, Rose grabbed Basil and whispered, “Quick, let’s not Dalea round here anymore.  We need be gone before he realizes that sward really is his.”

“What??” Basil exclaimed, “You mean that IS his stolon sward?”

“Yes! Now let’s get the evidence out of here so there’s nothing to imbricate us when the copse arrive,” urged Rose.

The two rushed out to Basil’s car and hopped in.  Basil gunned the engine and backed quickly out of the driveway.

Looking back at the house, Rose saw Patric staring out the window at them.  She turned to Basil and yelled…

“Floret!!”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

40 thoughts on “A Terrible Story You Should Definitely Not Read

  1. This was a groanful delight, Chris, though ““Do you have Anemone who might have taken it?” asked Rose.” was a bit of a stretch. 😬 However, puns are always forgivable!
    Years ago, when I left a job, my supervisor at the old one wrote me a wonderful going away card with a lengthy message full of puns on ant genus names and terminology. It was brilliant, and the guy was a botanist, yet! Somehow, I lost that little treasure in a move. Very sad, that.

  2. Oh my! Not a botanist but I know enough to find it quite engaging. It is indeed understandable, Chris, why you would need to release that. The dialogue is addictive and could easily overtake one’s mind and drive one’s friends, family and readers mad. And now I feel compelled to read it again.
    Curious why the words took on a Scottish brogue in my mind? Anyone else experience this?
    Happy Valentines Day all.

  3. The title startled me, but by now I should have remembered your sense of humor. Very, very creative tale. I can’t imagine putting together a mystery story using so many botanical terms. A great Valentine’s Day post — we all LOVE it!

  4. GO SIT IN THE CORNER, CHRIS.

    SIT IN THE CORNER…AND JUST THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFE CHOICES.

    A LITTLE BIT.

    YOU WARNED ME, BUT I HAD FAITH IN YOU.

    GOTTA PICK UP THE SHATTERED PIECES NOW.

    ON VALENTINE’S EVEN…

    DAMMIT, CHRIS…

  5. Chris,

    Oh, that’s fantastic. You’d do Piers Anthony proud!

    Cheers, Dr. Christina Larson

    On Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 8:41 AM The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: ” Do you ever have an idea you know is really dumb, > but you can’t help going through with it? That’s today’s post. It’s truly > awful, but it was something I needed to get out of my brain so I could move > on to other things. This one is for all the bot” >

  6. It’s been a long winter, hasn’t it?
    I sent this by air post to my long-gone grandmother and her siblings. They were the most brilliant and passionate punsters I’ve ever been gifted to know. It might be my tinnitus but I swear I hear them laughing and my grandmother throwing down the gauntlet with her “Top that, Blalock!” to my grandfather. They were all the last generations on their respective farms in SW Michigan. Thanks for bringing them into my heart this chilly Valentine morning.

  7. thanks! I needed a good laugh, but I can see why you needed to get it out of your head! This has the potential to cause problems, I’m catching my brain toying with the idea…

  8. I don’t know how long it took you to compose this, but I know how long it would have taken me — and I wouldn’t have done nearly so well. Hilarious, and utterly engaging: well done!

  9. OH MY GOD this is hilarious and the type of humor that is totally up my alley! I’ve been thankful for taking the course Flora of the Great Plains for many reasons, and now I have another one!

  10. That is pretty funny but maybe the pandemic has been going on a little too long? Verla Shaner

    On Mon, Feb 14, 2022 at 8:41 AM The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: ” Do you ever have an idea you know is really dumb, > but you can’t help going through with it? That’s today’s post. It’s truly > awful, but it was something I needed to get out of my brain so I could move > on to other things. This one is for all the bot” >

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