Kids, I'm worried. Deeply, insanely, chewing on my toenails worried.
I've been given a Pod.
No, not that kind of Pod you ninnyhammer, I mean the other kind of Pod that blanks out your brain and makes you walk around with a vacant expression. A POD.
See, my friends know I garden. It's hard NOT to know I garden, because I'm always begging people to take produce home with them when they stop by. (See, I was going to make some lewd comments about people handling my melons and pulling on my peppers but I didn't. I CAN be couth.) And so I'm sure it was using this habit of mine as cover that some dear friends of mine decided to give me a Pod.
What really worries me is that, well, to protect her former living existence I'll call her Pod Queen, had her hubby Shao bring it by the house one afternoon while I was at work. I get home that evening to find a neat little white paper baggie with PQ's girly handwriting on the front telling me to "...plant bud-side up" and that it "...makes squash-like fruit." And then a cheerful "Enjoy!" across the bottom. Foolishly I didn't expect anything out of the ordinary (henceforth to be known as Mistake Number One) but when I reached into the bag the first thing I feel is a sort of BRAIN texture, wrinkly and sort of cool to the touch. I haul the thing out (henceforth to be known as Mistake Number Two) and I see THIS.
Okay, so what was I to think? I mean, it looks alive! And it's way too big for a normal seed... I mean, what is it going to grow? I'm seriously afraid that my friends have become Pod People and that this is their first outward reach toward sending out thousands of Pods to turn others to their overlord's world domination push. I mean, I didn't THINK they were Communists, but you never know do you? He IS a cop, after all, and aren't they all Fascists?
So here I sit with a Pod on my kitchen table that refuses to do anything but sit there and glower at me and try to send tendrils of insinuation that I need to go plant it somewhere dark and cool like under my bed, and tomorrow morning everything will be fine! And it won't rot, either. In this damp Louisiana air everything that doesn't have a thick coat of shellac on it molds nearly instantly, so why has this thing been literally unchanged for a month now? I've taken to locking it in a fire-proof safe at night until I know more about it.
I asked Shao about it as innocently as I could, trying to get him to make some sort of fatal mistake, screw up somewhere and admit that he's planted some extra-terrestrial plant-based lifeform in my kitchen but thus far no luck on that count. I DID get him to admit that they got it from her mom, who got it "from a little old Cajun lady." Now that alone smacks of more voodoo jive and mumbo jumbo than I can possibly shake a feathered rattle at. I KNOW what those wrinkled up little Cajun women get into in the bayous and swamps of sout' Luziana, and ain't NONE of it good, che'. I'm wondering if maybe this thing is some sort of alligator's chaudron wrapped in a nutria intestine with a variety of hallucinatory herbs and some crawfish boil rubbed on it, all of which will help Papa Legba or Baron Samedi turn me into a loa so they can walk the earth and wreak all sorts of evil.
Or maybe it's just some sort of deep swamp plant that will bear some sort of evil fruit that will erase my mind when I eat it one of it's alluring fruits. Granted that doesn't sound too bad at all. Or worse, will it grow this sort of fakey-looking trumpet flower thing with giant air-brushed foam leaves that will evilly turn toward me and explode spores into my face that make my careful Vulcan emotional control go all whack and have me hanging from tree branches reciting poetry...wait, that was a Star Trek episode.
Still, can't be too safe.
People of Earth, and everyone within the sound of my voice...watch the gardens!