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
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