writing

30 day flash fiction challenge | day 13

Someone’s life takes on a new meaning when they discover an unusual tree.

Dave has never been the most adventurous guy. When his friends were hanging around at bars and fast food joints, he was playing video games and armed with text books in a bedroom that probably smelt like farts and cheese puffs. On most days, he was too busy trying to find X or solving problems. He was a mathematician after all, it was kind of his job. Still, he found himself wishing that he was outgoing. That he could just stroll into a bar and scream ‘WHAT’S UP PARTAY PEOPLE?!’ without everyone judging him hard.

Most of all, he just needed fresh air, so one Friday evening, he decided to go for a walk. The streets were sparsely crowded but the air was warm. Too warm. He began to feel the prickles of sweat under his armpits and he scowled to himself. So much for his forty-eight hour protection deodorant, heck, it was more like forty-five seconds. With a stuff sigh, he carried on walking at a casual speed. His black earbuds hanging around his neck as he approach the park. He twirled them in his fingers and wondered why he had brought them along. Wasn’t this walk supposed to be tranquil and peaceful?

The park was mostly empty and Dave found himself stopping at the forth bench. The air was crisp here, much less stuffier than it had been on the street. It was dark but the streetlight bounced of the glossy leaves and created an illumination that made the park have a fairytale appearance. He sat down on the pine coloured bench and closed his eyes.

“Let me guess, bad break up?” came a voice. Dave whipped his head around and came face to face with…No one. There was no one there and he couldn’t see anyone. Dave frowned, hard. Maybe he was going nuts. Maybe. Well.

“Am I talking to myself here?” The voice sounded again. Dave stood up and looked up and down. Side to side. He even looked diagonally, because why not? He was hearing voices – he might as well use geometry to figure out why.

“Try the tree that’s right next to you, dumbass.” Dave blanched and practically leapt five feet into the air.

“Yeah, that’s right,” the tree said. “I can talk. Sup.”

It figured that the talking tree would be a crude talking tree. Dave couldn’t get the nice, sweet tree. No that would be too much of a hardship. A college kid cycled past quickly, barely sparing Dave a glance. He thought about crying out for help, but he was too slow. Too lost in the haze of his own confusion.

“Helloooo,” the tree practically sang. “Cat got your tongue?”

Considering that this tree wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon it’s impatience was misplaced but Dave didn’t voice that thought. The last thing he needed was to be cussed out by a tree. Or threatened with violence by a tree. He’d already been kidnapped once this month. Foliage violence would just be the icing on his moulding cake.

“Hello,” Dave said and he winced at how formal he sounded and – hold up, “are you wearing purple lipstick?”

He had noticed a pair of lips in the center of the tree. They were purple. He was talking to a talking tree that had purple lips.

This was so wrong on many levels. Dave raised his arm and pinched it hard.

“Now, that wasn’t very smart was it,” the tree said. The lips quirked upward and Dave whimpered. It had facial expressions too.

“Look, how can I help you?” Dave snapped. “I’m just a guy, standing in front of a tree, wondering why that tree is communicating with me.”

The tree appeared to raise an eyebrow and Dave braced himself for more sarcasm.

“You know what, I was going to make small talk with you, but Notting Hill quotes are not acceptable here.”

Dave rolled his eyes. “Why not? Notting Hill is a perfectly acceptable film.”

In truth, Dave had no idea what Notting Hill was about, he just wanted to rile this tree.

The tree seemed to bristle and there was silence for about three minutes. Another cyclist bustled past him and Dave took a step back. Clearly, it was time for him to go home.

A branch snuck out and wrapped itself around his ankle, yanking him back so that he fell onto the floor.

“Yippie-ki-yay, mother lover,” the tree sang. Dave exhaled deeply as the branch uncoiled from his ankle. He had to get away from this tree before it tried to kill him or something equally as drastic.

“Mother lover?” Dave questioned. There was no way that he was letting that go.

The tree seemed to shrug, it’s branches levitating up and down. “I don’t swear.”

Dave snorted. Right, this just happened to be a talking tree that didn’t cuss. He’s sure its mother would be proud.

“So, how does this work?” Dave asked. “You insult me. I take it. The end?”

The tree appeared to sniff. “Well, I can grant you three wishes.”

Dave couldn’t help smiling. “Oh, like in Aladdin?”

The tree hissed. “I’m way better than a fucking lamp.”

Dave frowned, and looked at his watch.

“Well, it was nice talking to you,” he told the tree. “I have some things to do.”

“Oh,” the tree said solemnly. “It’s just that it’s a bit lonely in this park. All of the other trees are silent.”

Dave suddenly felt sorry for the tree. He glanced at his watch. He could spare a little time. After all, he initially left his apartment to get some fresh air. Trees were supposedly good at providing that what with photosynthesis and all.  And he wasn’t the kind of person to leave someone alone, even if that someone as a snarky, possibly violent tree.

“Fine, I can stay for a while,” he informed the tree. “but if you grab my leg like that again, I’ll take an axe to you myself.”

The tree seemed to bounce and Dave shook his head fondly.

“Can we talk about how everyone is on their cellphone these days?” the tree began. “‘Cause people are always walking into me and it’s not okay.”

Dave signed to himself. It was going to be a long evening.

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