Make a Wish

Did you grow up blowing on dandelions gone to seed and making a wish? I did. But have you ever employed these wish-granting botanical specimens in a revenge plot? I have. Here’s my story.

When I was a child growing up in the suburbs, there was a vacant lot where everyone would wheel their wheelbarrows full of grass clippings and weeds to discard them. It was behind the Turner’s house (I’ve changed their name to give me plausible deniability if this story should ever get back to them) who were also long-time residents of our neighborhood and friends of my parents. The relationship between our two families was the kind where where babysitting was traded, casseroles were exchanged whenever bad news was received, and mail and newspapers were retrieved during vacations.

I would have been in a better mood that day if my mother had allowed me to light the string of firecrackers I had chained together beneath each weed in order to blast them out of the yard. I had visions of the weeds popping up into the air one after the other, while I watched with maniacal glee. She had visions of me losing a thumb and leaving holes in the yard.

After this particularly grueling and disappointing day of picking weeds, I walked the wheelbarrow down the block and around the corner to the vacant lot and dumped it. Not long after that the phone rang, and I was called on the proverbial carpet. Apparently I had dumped my pile of weeds too close to the Turner’s fence. They thought it was an eye-sore and was likely to result in weed seeds floating into their yard. I was ordered to return with an empty wheelbarrow, gather up my load of weeds, and relocate it deeper into the vacant lot. I was livid.

Not too long after that, I had the perfect opportunity for revenge, and I took it. The Turners were going on vacation for a couple of weeks, and needed someone to feed their cat, bring in their mail, and most importantly water their plants. They had an impressive collection of house plants, of which they were very proud. Every window was festooned with lush greenery of many varieties. They had left a lengthy list of instructions for how often and how much each plant should be watered, and there were soil moisture meters and pH meters in each one to ensure that over fertilization was not burning the roots and that each plant was receiving optimum care. I volunteered to take on this duty, deflecting any suspicion by reminding my mother how much I loved their cat. Every day, twice a day, I would go into their house, feed the cat, make sure all of the doors and windows were still locked, and care for their precious plants. What they didn’t realize was that I was also supplementing their carefully tended indoor soil with dandelion seeds. I nurtured these seeds with care, and by the time the Turners were to return from vacation, tiny dandelion sprouts were just beginning to peek up through the soil.

I never heard a word about it, but my revenge was still sweet. I pictured them picking dandelions out of their decorative pots with concerned looks on their faces, arguing with one another about which of them could have accidentally dragged the seeds in that started this dandelion invasion. I still grin with smug satisfaction whenever I pick a dandelion and blow the seeds into the wind.

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