Old man cactus

Janine dusted under the cactus then settled it back on the windowsill. She turned to wipe the table, but whipped around when she heard a crunch. “Oh, damn.” The cactus glowered up at her from a pile of clay shards. She swept the pot’s remains into the trash and debated the future of her pointy little friend.

“You know, it’s been five years. That’s a long run for a plant in this house.” The cactus went on lowering from the floor. “I can’t rightly talk to you down there. You’ll have to come up to the table, at least.”

She got a potholder and moved the old man. “You’ll probably die anyway, now that you’ve been thrown around like that,” she pointed out. Elevation had neither improved the succulent’s mood nor resigned it to its fate. Janine could see this in the way its wispy hair and unbroken spines seemed to follow her like eyes when she walked away.

“You can’t sit there all day,” she informed it. “I’ve got company coming, and this table will be cleared.” The cactus didn’t move. Janine blew her bangs out of her eyes with expelled annoyance. “Really.”

She stalked out to the garage and rummaged for awhile. She came back in with a child’s beach bucket full of gravel and sandy soil. “This is absurd.” Using the potholder and a fork, she tamped the old man into its new home. Then, because it looked so outrageous all alone in that huge space, she went out and found the shovel that had once gone with the bucket and jammed it in down the side. She moved the whole thing out onto the screened patio. “I hope you’re happy.” The little cactus preened without moving, its countenance already on the rise. Janine shook her head and turned towards the kitchen. “I’d almost swear you jumped out of that window on purpose.” She thought she heard the old man laughing behind her back as the door snicked shut.


Just to be clear, an ‘old man’ is a type of cactus with wispy hair. Obviously, I don’t have a cactus. But I have a great beach bucket. And this week at Trifecta, we’re all using the third definition of home!

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.


Old man cactus — 22 Comments

  1. This bit made me laugh out loud: “Elevation had neither improved the succulent’s mood nor resigned it to its fate.” I love that the cactus’s willpower wins in the end!
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    • I’m glad I captured his personality. At first I thought you were saying I’d left the g off the end of ‘lowering’, but it’s the beginning you’re asking about, right? It’s cool. The word I’m after is the one you might use about a raincloud. Glower is good, but this guy postively lowers.

    • I’m finally replying to your comment about my cactus story. Sorry It’s taken me so bloody long. I love that the father thing came through. She is very much responding to the cactus and thinking about an older person in her life.

    • I THINK my comments have forgiven everyone. I’m noticing a TON of comments in places where I saw none before. I see several weeks of getting caught up on my comments now.

    • Giggle. I appear to only just now be seeing your comment on my cactus post, even though it’s dated August 17!!! Plants die in my care. They inevitably croak.

  2. Jessie, you have described my exact relationship with my own cactus. The thing is almost never happy. It always looks like crap. But, I can’t throw it out, because it came from a cutting of my Mamaw’s, and dumping the thing in the trash would be like discarding a tenuous connection to her.
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    • I’m responding to your comment on my cactus post, which I’m only seeing just now. I think whatever the jetpack and Askimet folks fixed for me released a LOT of people from some kind of spam hell. Anyway, we have some Ivy that came from a cutting from Scott’s grandmother. Exactly the same relationship. It. Is. All. But. Dead. And yet we cannot give it up, because it would be like wheeling his dearly departed grandmother out to the curb.