May 22, 2011


Think you can just water your plants, put them in the proper light, sprinkle plant food over them occasionally and they'll pretty much take care of themselves?
Think again.
I have a greenhouse full of plants…carnivorous ones…every type there is…and they're all huge!
As I'm sure you can guess, they have rather different nutritional requirements than your run-of-the-mill begonia, since they need meat.  Oh, they'll eat hamburger…grudgingly; but what they really prefer is live bugs, their favorite being flies.  I have so many plants that buying flies (yes, there are places where you can actually purchase these pests) has become cost prohibitive, and catching them on my own just doesn't cut it.  If I nabbed 50 flies in a day, I was lucky.  However, that would only be enough to feed one of my largest plants or three of the smaller ones.  
So I raise my own…flies, I mean.
If there is anything more perverse and absurd than actually raising houseflies, on purpose, I defy anyone to find it.
Fly husbandry isn't easy, either, let me tell you.  I have four 5' x 5' x 5' mesh cages for my colonies.  There are thousands of residents, and the inside of my house sounds like Amelia Earhart just turned up in my living room.  And not only do I have to deal with the unsettling feeling that my house could be hijacked to Cuba at any moment, but there's the odor, too.
"Oh, but flies don't smell bad," you say.
Not the flies.  Their food.  A fly's optimum diet is rotten meat, which it not only eats but lays eggs in, as well.  I started with over 75,000 of the little beasties, so you have some idea of what I'm up against.
"Try air freshener," you say?
You think I haven't?
Air freshener, once sprayed, takes a single sniff of the current "bowels of Hell" aroma pervading the house and heads, screaming, for the nearest open window.  Baking soda bursts into tears.  Lysol puts on a gas mask.  Nothing helps.
And I take quite a bit of abuse for it, too.
My neighbor calls me "Legion."
I keep finding reversed pentagrams drawn on my doorstep.
Any mail addressed to "The Third Horseman of the Apocalypse" is delivered to me.
All because I love my plants!
Well, at this point, they're so large that perhaps "respect" would be a better word.
Or maybe, "fear."
I don't know what they'd do to me if I cut off their fly supply. But I suspect that becoming the plant version of a granola bar might be involved.
I do much more for them than just feed them, though.  I must mist them all, four times a day, because they like it humid.  I must monitor the heater constantly to be sure it is at the exact temperature they prefer.  I must pipe in "gangsta" rap music for them to listen to during the day.  They're hostile plants with bad attitudes, and they seem to feel that this sort of music indicates that someone, somewhere, truly understands them.  I know, because I tried them on country/western and all I heard was vomiting noises…for hours.  They hate opera (especially Wagnerian, for some reason), expressing their displeasure by snapping at me if I get within range.  And I don't even want to discuss what happens when they hear Barry Manilow.  Just mentioning his name sets them off!
Lately, the larger plants have taken to locking the greenhouse door and cranking up ZZ Top at three o'clock every morning.  My neighbors don't even complain anymore.  The first time they did, I told them that there was nothing I could do about it…that my carnivorous plants were behind it all and had locked me out of the greenhouse.
Even the police don't come around anymore.
I've also noticed recently that I haven't been receiving the invitations to neighborhood parties that I used to.  The babysitting that I was formerly in such demand for seems to have inexplicably dried up, too.  I guess that means that people are spending more time at home with their families, and that’s a good thing.
Well, I'd like to continue this, but I have to get back to the greenhouse, now.
It's time for their bedtime story.


  1. Oh, Carson. I tried hard to feel your anguish, I really did, but you cracked me up in the middle of my empathy session :-)
    What kind of bedtime stories do you read to your plants/pets?