by Priya Rajdev
“Today, I’m going to be something,” thought the tiny seed. “Today’s the day.”
He turned to a very pale seed next to him and said expectantly, “Big day today.”
The pale seed nodded, “Sure is, I just finished up a big internship at a hedge fund—they’re gonna offer me a real job today.”
“Oh?” said the tiny seed. Internship? Hedge funds? He had never even heard of such things.
“Yup,” the pale seed nodded. “I’m going to be a hedge.”
A hedge! The tiny seed couldn’t even imagine anything that big. He tried to act enthusiastic for his pale friend but could feel a thin mustache of nervous sweat gather along his upper lip.
After a few minutes of friendly chitchat, the seed closed his eyes and tried instead to think about the gentle ambient warmth of the soil that covered them, how secure he felt wrapped up in that cozy, peaty blanket. He was deep in reverie when he felt a sharp jab to his side.
“Oops! Sorry about that—“ said a mysterious voice. He saw what looked like a translucent eyeless snake slither away. “I’m still learning how to keep a handle on this little guy!”
And then he saw her, the most beautiful seed he had ever seen (and also only the second seed he’d ever seen). He watched the snake—or, no, it was more of a delicate animate moonbeam—wrap itself bashfully around her. She was lovely, curvy in the right places, enough of a cotyledon to make her look full and healthy and vibrant. Her coat was the most inviting shade of chartreuse he could imagine, and it slipped slightly off her shoulders just so.
“Oh, n-no problem.” He couldn’t stop staring at her bare shoulder, which even he knew, in his brief sentient life so far, was creepy. Clearing his throat he asked, “What’s its name?”
“I think it’s called ‘root?’ The dang thing just popped up this morning and I was just like, ‘Well I guess this is happening now—’” and she laughed, and he laughed. And as he laughed, because this was the funniest joke he’d ever heard, a niggling thought popped into his mind that maybe he should also get a “root,” and he made a mental note to ask the green girl seed where she thought he might be able to buy one.
Hours passed and the seed had the distinct feeling that he could be happy just talking to this plucky green bean for the rest of his life. He had barely noticed that her jacket had been slipping off more and more and that she was starting to get a couple of new roots in awkward places. And perhaps he was imagining things, but she was she a little bigger now when they’d first met? He thought it rude to bring up that issue now, so he shoved the thought aside, enrapt by her great sense of humor and melodious chortling.
She was in the middle of a hilarious story about the time she’d met this really cool, shiny, jet-black seed—the dark, silent type. They’d been making a connection when he’d suddenly and brusquely shoved her across the room. That’s when she realized she’d been talking to an ant’s butt the entire night! The seed burst out laughing, mostly with relief that the lima bean of his dreams didn’t appear to already have a boyfriend. He barely noticed when her mouth start to twitch in a most unusual way and was downright shaken when her face exploded into one perfectly cone-shaped shoot. He instinctively turned away, but then turned back to look at the shoot; it was a brilliant shade of chartreuse green.
The tiny seed sighed and faced forward once more as the shoot rocketed upwards and away. He did his best to forget about her and suddenly the annoying voice of Pale Internship Seed popped back into his head and the aching in his heart was replaced by a ringing in his ears.
“Deep breath. Remember,” he assured himself, “today’s the day.” But the seed was alone and hungry and not very assured.
Then, another thought came to him: “Maybe tomorrow’s the day.” He perked up a little. “Maybe I just need a good night’s rest, and maybe a drink or two to help me get some good night’s rest, and then tomorrow—tomorrow will be the big day.” So he drank some fermented sterols he had lying around and settled in to his warm peaty hole in the ground.
The next day came and went in much the same way—“Today’s the day!”—except now was no lima bean girl and his pasty nemesis had also gone, leaving some chlorotic roots behind.
A few times, the tiny seed was raked around to new corners of his little world. He once encountered a dead bee who’d been endlessly entertaining to talk to. He had liked to imagine the bee’s physiologic non-purposeful twitches as simple answers to questions: one twitch for yes, two twitches for no. One day he asked the bee, “Bee, should I go on a mission to learn the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?” A great excitement erupted in his seed gut when he saw the bee twitch once—finally, his whole life was about to change! Everything would be different! But just as he was about to make a run for it, Bee twitched again, and his life stayed exactly the same.
One dreary Tuesday, the tiny seed was well into the wallowing phase of the afternoon when he suddenly felt a violent force pulling him upwards, with the inertia in his stomach pulling him in the exact opposite direction. Just as he was about to vomit, the contradicting vectors disappeared and he was in a free fall! Time slowed and he saw extraordinary colors—papillary pinks, fleshy reds, sticky dark green. He remained in a psychedelic haze until he splashed down into a hot, acrid soup.
The seed surveyed his situation: he appeared to be half-swimming half-standing in a tawny pool, with bits of leaves and worm innards floating about him. The odor was mind-bogglingly foul, worse than the time he’d been raked to a corner of the yard that had the decomposing adult diaper in it. He leapt onto a nearby leaf and frantically paddled towards a small speck of light.
After several hours of tedious bunting, he noticed his feet tingling—his leaf raft had dissolved right up and he found himself improbably standing on a thousand tiny fingers. Hypnotically and insistently, the waves of villi pushed him forward and all of a sudden, he felt a tight squeeze around his head. In the next instant he was flying, propelled though the air. He flew with purpose and with grace. He elegantly flipped his body upside down to get a look at where he’d been jettisoned from just moments before and took in the full glory of what appeared to be a sparrow’s anus.
The anus winked as the seed flew away, faster and faster, careening towards an unknown endpoint. He felt very alive—every xylem and phloem hidden deep inside now beating in time with his heart. He flew like a Blue Angel, deftly avoiding some tiny flying beetles and masterfully evading a flying squirrel.
“Can they really call what they do flying?” he scoffed, “it’s more like jumping and hoping for the best.”
Down, down, down he went, and now the seed was faced with the problem of landing. He was surprised to find that he was not, for a change, panicked. And from some deep previously unknown recess of his back, out popped two long feather-light wings. The free fall slowed to a gentle drift as he helicoptered his way to the ground. So this is where he had been meant to be all his life—in the air! He landed on the forest ground with a soft flutter.
He turned to a nearby acorn and exclaimed, “Hey man, you’ll never believe what just happened to me!”
But before he could tell his story, the acorn yawned and said, “You got plucked out of the ground, swallowed, and shit out by a bird.”
“Wow, exactly—how’d you know?”
“Happens all the time, helicopter guy.” The acorn again made a big show of yawning, “Just yesterday I was gnawed on by a squirrel that was eaten by a bear, then I was crapped out by said bear.”
The seed noticed that the acorn was indeed nestled in a steaming bear pie. “Gosh, I didn’t realize the forest floor was so action-packed.”
“Buddy, did you just call this place ‘the floor?’”
The seed nodded.
Laughing, the acorn said, “Outside, we call it ‘the ground.’”
The seed could still hear the mean cackling long after the acorn had been snapped up and carried away in the cheek of an unassuming chipmunk.