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Natural Selection

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Our Venus fly trap was a most unusual plant. It sat perched on the windowsill, tendrils stretching seductively in the sunlight. Strewn among its shadows were dried corpses of unfortunate victims. Our mother kept a plethora of plants in the house, but tended the most time to “Vanessa”, which was the flytrap, supposedly derived from “Venus”. Like an engrossed botanist, she would groom its leaves and had engaging conversations with it on a regular basis. We found this practice a bit loony at first, but were also immersed in the plant’s exotic spell; such a marvel of creation; thirst for water in its soil and lust for meat in its jaws.

Its only two competitors were an abandoned spider web across the sill, and the family dog. Occasionally you could here the squirming and disintegration of a fly in the jaws of the plant; a sound similar to the electric juicer in our kitchen. And you could also hear the ferocious crunch and slobber from the dog’s mouth, that had just trapped an insect mid-air and was enjoying an afternoon snack; similar to the nerve-wracking grind of the garbage disposal in our sink. They were gruesome sounds at the least, but our pest problem remained minimal.

Our dog was jealous of Vanessa getting all the attention. Leaping into the air to catch small prey was an admittedly astounding trick, but eventually lost its touch on us. My mother, whose daily chores consisted of feeding the dog, became forgetful of our pet, and often I was left to feed him. Of course, I couldn’t work the can opener to save my life, so I dumped dry food into the dog’s bowl without the customary wet food, and it really ticked him off. For a dog who consumed flies, he had a particularly picky attitude with food. For a while, Vanessa was center-stage in our household.

Natural selection is a cruel process, however. As time passed, and fly season waned, our beloved tropical carnivore shriveled and paled. Lack of proper diet eventually led to its expiration. The dog, having the advantage of mobility, proved himself dominant in the competition. It made us, especially our mother, sad to see our plant pass away, but we found a good use for it, by churning it into fertilizer.

The dog was real full of himself, somehow aware that he was the king of the food chain in our home; his attitude became irritating. He would parade around our dinner table, snapping his jaws at precariously placed food on our plates. He entered every room with a formal air, under the illusion there was nothing he couldn’t digest. He was proved wrong in a fatal circumstance.

Our mother was sowing a button back onto one of my father’s shirts, when an inaudible or imaginary sound startled her. Her hands slipped and the button flew across the air. The dog took notice of this tiny projectile and mistook it for another fly. With grace and swiftness he bounded from his couch cushion, practically arcing over the coffee table, and the button disappeared into a moist cave of teeth. Sadly, it was the last performance our dog would give. Bouncing violently, the button accidentally got swallowed into the wrong pipe, and that was that.

We mixed him with the fertilizer. Hopefully this time, animal and plant will get along better. But natural selection is still a cruel process for everyone.

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Whylime said...
Aug. 12, 2010 at 8:42 pm
Very unique! i love the rich languege! very good and well done! (poor doggy-- i couldnt bear my pup dying)
gymbabe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 30, 2010 at 1:53 am
Haha that was a really good piece, love the rivalry of a plant and a dog.  I'm sorry about what happened to your dog:( This was a fabulous piece.
A.Dreamer said...
Jul. 29, 2010 at 8:22 pm

It was super unique, the moment I read it, I knew it was gonna be something different. :) I liked the role the dog played in the story, it was so interesting how a dog could get jealous of a plant. Yet you made it seem realistic. It was very nice to read.

I'm sorry about your dog. :(

ShelbyW. replied...
Jul. 29, 2010 at 8:26 pm
thanks! :)
iluvuiluvunot said...
Jul. 28, 2010 at 11:31 pm

Haa, I like This(: Natural Selection..Lol. I'm sorry about Your Dog, I'm Away From Home Right Now &Nd Totally Miss Mines(: I Like This Though.

-Jaiden(:  A.K.A. iluvuiluvunot

ShelbyW. replied...
Jul. 29, 2010 at 7:41 am
First to comment, thanks a million! :D
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