For Cynthia (as promised):

About 500 years ago, I was presented with a choice: Beaucarnia recurvata or Beaucarnia stricta. Naturally I chose B. stricta, as I could foresee (having charlatanism in my blood) that B. recurvata–the so-called ponytail palm–would some troublesome day become quite popular as a potted houseplant, and I was having none of that.

So I planted my light-emitting Beaucarnia stricta seeds and went on a journey (called Odýsseia). Upon my return, I saw that my castle had been renovated several times by Mr. Wind and Mrs. Neglect (though these two were never technically married (living in sin for millennia), they spent a lot of idle time together and I use the Mr. and Mrs. ruse as a matter of pure though spectacular convenience).

Being a cad, I disguised my identity while ambulating around the scarcely familiar castle environs. From behind a giant cabbage-like plant, a giant hedgehog edged his way forward. He looked at me with doleful eyes, wagged his tail, and died instantly of a cardiac arrest (I guess he had a pickled egg for a heart, Sue). He was a puppy all those years ago when I had absconded with the company funds and was forced to leave the Ithacan island of my birth. Poor rodent (editor’s note: are hedgehogs really part of the rodentia order?).

In my grief, I heard, in the abstract distance, a panflute melody (based on the ionian scale, if I am not mistaken). Must be a group of lazy farm laborers, I thought. I was wrong. It was Gheorghe Zamfir and I told him to get off my land.  But later, under a halcyon sky, amid a field of buttercups, near a willowy windmill, I was disturbed by a rogue group of farm hands, and forthwith I told them the story of my life (leaving out all the bits of truth wherever possible). Mesmerized by their impassive faces, I regaled them (regale: windy again ) with long, epic-poem-like tales of crop failures and, in a compassionate moment, the benefits of good dentistry. One farmer (like Neptune, I mused) held a pitch fork so steadily I quivered. I bid them good day and wiped the miscreants from the page with my Pink Pearl eraser.

Once at the castle, I was met by my former housekeeper Goneril (a bastardization of gonorrhea, I suppose) and she died instantly of pleurisy (if you’re counting–that’s a second untimely death in a few paragraphs, Bruce). But her sister Cordelia recognized me instantly. I swore her to secrecy (not about her rigor mortisizing sister, but about my identity). (Note rigor mortis is not a verb–under normal circumstances).

The third sister was missing and Egon was put on the case. But this long preamble is to inform you that my Beaucarnia stricta was mislabeled and is most probably, recklessly, frustratingly the common Beaucarnia recurvata.  Some readers will no doubt make the connection between a man hiding his true identity and a Beaucarnia seed doing the same ( being recurvata while pretending to be stricta). That is epic.

P.S. you will notice the marionette strings operating the ponytail puppet (in truth, if you can believe it, designed to keep Mr. Wind in check).

Intertextually and at your peril, you may wish to visit:

Sue, to learn all about condiment hearts

Cynthia, to bask in the glory of  epic poetry

Bruce, for the science of untimely deaths

And Dagmar, for the adventues of Egon, master detective

Also this –

The Exorcist


  1. Your mention of my untimely deaths is very kind, thank you. Now I’m going to be wondering all day if hedgehogs (apart from being rodents) actually have tails (to wag)…


    • Not unless mammals have tails. Certainly they have tales.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My thorough research reveals that they do have short tails, which amateur humans often confuse with another part of the male anatomy. QED.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Next week: Amorphophallus rivieri–not to be confused with a part of the male anatomy.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Charlatan or not, you are a man of your word, Prospero. I knew of Beaucarnia recurvata as a houseplant but I had to ask Barney Google about the stricta version. I think I still favor your pony tail (as well as your pony tale) over the more spiky look. I like the cowlicky, disheveled mood of it, and think perhaps, in the end, it may have chosen you, even if you didn’t choose it.

    In the matter of banishing Gheorghe Zamfir from your land, I don’t think I could ever do that, especially if I could get him to play his panpipe in the Aeolian mode, which is usually more my own lonely shepherdess mood, when I am out in the country.

    And also, your designation of ‘Mr. Wind” is a bit confusing to me, since I had always heard the wind was a she and they called her Mariah.
    But these are mere details in what is a most enjoyable post.

    Thank you for the plug to my blog, but especially thank you for all the praiseworthy intangibles I have come to know and love about your writing. I hope Beaucarnia stays safe from Mariah, grows a great elephant sized foot, and becomes tall enough to tickle your turrets for many and many a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very worried about my palm toppling over. Zamfir’s banishment from the island concerns me less.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Doesn’t Cynthia write the best comments?! I have been trying to think of how to characterize your funny, loopy style and she does it so easily with “praiseworthy intangibles”. *sigh*. I won’t make this a long-winded comment and will only say you make being a blog friend a breeze. The pickled heart I inherited from my old dad melts at your kindness linking me with your work. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doesn’t Cynthia write the best comments?! Shush, you will make her blush.

      Loopier than Lorrie Moore?


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