Friday, July 15, 2011

Part 5: The Queen of the Plants

[Once again, this is part of a larger story I wrote many years ago and am just now illustrating. Tell me it's stupid, tell me it's boring, tell me I should be on medication... just tell me something in the comments, please! I mean, no pressure or whatever.]

V: The Queen of the Plants

The Queen of the Plants had a brand new lunchbox. It was pink and yellow with a big picture of Malibu Barbie on the front, and it was plastic so if she dropped it, it would not dent. She swung this lunch box from her left hand on her way to school. This lunchbox did not hide inside her backpack. And this lunchbox had been safely emptied of any lunch.

The old Oak tree bowed to her on the path from her house, and the mulberry bush gave her a (sufficiently humble if a bit too quiet) "Good Day." The Queen was careful to touch every branch within her reach of every plant along her walk.

She whispered encouraging words to them and gave them each a (condescending, but really very sweet) smile. Every wilting petal or brown-edged leaf was carefully plucked and deposited into her (brand-brand-new) lunch box. And Barbie seemed happy to have them.

The Queen's old lunchbox had been made of cheap tin, handed down from her 10-year-old cousin, with a picture of GI Joe on the front. That lunchbox she'd kicked from her home to school and back every day. That lunchbox carried bruised bananas and bleeding jelly and peanut butter sandwiches. And, finally, that lunchbox had been stolen by a (kinder than he knew) bully on the playground.

But now the Queen of the Plants had a beautiful pink plastic Barbie lunchbox. And now that lunchbox held the offerings of all her adoring subjects (the sweating milk and crushed crackers were stored in her backpack). For three full weeks the Queen of the Plants was the Envy of the School, and for three full weeks her life was an 8-year-old's heaven. She slept with the lunchbox, bathed with the lunchbox, even watched TV with the lunchbox, and it became her closest friend. She named it Head of the Cabinet and Advisor to the Queen, and the lunchbox was next in line for the throne, should she fail to produce any heirs.

Then, after three happy weeks, the lunchbox disappeared. The Queen of the Plants had taken to keeping the lunchbox at her side at all times, more out of comfort and love than fear of it being stolen. But Sir Brownbottom, Lord of Gymnasium, requested that she leave it in her locker during Track and Field day. As he was a dear old friend of the King, the Queen assented.

The Queen of the Plants performed poorly on the long jump out of worry for her friend, alone and lonely. She could not reach on the sit and reach, lest the lunchbox be hurt or sad in her absence. And when she returned to the locker at the end of the ordeal, her worst fears were confirmed; the Barbie lunchbox was nowhere to be found.


This was too much. Karen had slept for 36 hours. When she awoke, the light on her answering machine was blinking. She pressed “Play” and there was 1.5 seconds of silence, followed by a rustling, and then a click. She pressed “Delete” and a red “0” winked at her three times. Karen couldn’t remember if David was one of her bosses or not. She couldn’t remember if she had a daughter who was the Queen of Plants whom she sold to an ice cream man for baby stew or not. Karen’s head hurt. She pulled the curtains and went to bed.


  1. Yay! The pink looks loverly! I like the Barbie herself too. She's very barbie-like.

  2. Glad you liked it! I had to do lots of Barbie-related internet research, since I never actually had one growing up.

  3. Damn, not one?! That's probably best! I'm still trying to undo the impact of having like 100+ barbies as a child on my own body image issues.