What would the future be if plants evolved above man?
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Imagine a future where plant life, instead of animal life, evolved to dominate the Earth. Plants are illegal. Piper is a Pruner. His job is to destroy the plants and the people that harbor them. But what happens when he, himself, is caught with a plant, the colony’s most deadly threat?
Piper had taken the load of empty canisters to the filling station where he made a rendezvous with Dil, his comrade in the Department. They filled the canisters with poison and were on their way back to the Code Enforcement Division, chatting about nothing in particular, when they ran into a woman, half naked, and irate about the plants in her neighbor’s living quarters.
Weeds were illegal. They were a menace to society and any plant that grew in the colony was deemed a weed by law.
“They’re in there!” Yelled the half-naked woman. “They’re in the house,” she said, pointing to her neighbors living quarters.
Piper adjusted the nozzle in his hand and pointed it at the woman. She turned to run and a supercilious smile jumped across his lips.
He was enraptured by the poison. Its aroma was intoxicating and its power, absolute. The poison was authoritative. No man could argue with it or challenge it, lest he, himself be trampled like a weed. Piper’s eyes narrowed, his heart pounded, filling his body with great excitement and liveliness, then he pulled the trigger.
Poison leaped from the canister and covered the woman from head to toe. She spun around and the liquid stream consumed her, scorching her face and her skin, seeping down her nose and throat, and causing sudden and violent convulsions. She whirled around several times like a spinning top until her body hit the floor with a raucous thud.
Dil picked up the woman’s limp arm and inspected it. “Peasant!” he said, observing no body art except the citizen entitlement that was issued by colony administration. The woman was living in poverty, he thought. No upper-class citizen would be caught without at least seven tattoos.
Dil disappeared through the broken doorway and returned with a metal cylinder that resembled an enclosed tanning bed. The two men picked the woman’s lifeless body from the floor and placed it in the cylinder, which filled with a mixture of water and lye, and heated to 320 degrees Fahrenheit. He touched a red button on the side of the machine and a loud humming sound ensued.
Piper casually made his way through the living quarters, whistling and humming melodically, and spraying, until every room of the house was covered with poison.
Then abruptly, the whistling stopped, when he looked at Dil looking at his tattoos. Dil had one thing on his mind. He was preoccupied and found it difficult to think of anything else, “The herbivore?” Piper asked.
“The vegetarian,” Dil replied.
Piper’s face contorted, “What’s a vegetarian?”
“A person that eats plants,” Dil said.
“Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no such person as a plant eater. It’s a myth,” said Piper. “Anyway, what’s so wrong with that?”
Dil looked at his partner in disgust, “you shouldn’t talk like that,” he said. He pondered the perverse idea of humans eating plants and was repulsed by the thought of it. He pressed the red button on the metal cylinder and checked to ensure the woman’s body had dissolved. He touched a keypad on the side of the machine, which opened a valve, releasing a small quantity of coffee-colored liquid substance that smelled like ammonia. He drained the liquid into a small container and tossed it into a garbage chute.
The Pruners left the house and quarantined it as inhabitable, branding the walls with the standard symbol for poison, the skull and crossbones, for all the world to see.