StoryADay May: Dusty Rose

This post is part of StoryADay May ( #StoryADay #StoryADayMay @storyadaymay #freeshortstory

The story finally came to me.

Dusty Rose

“Just a little,” I said. “It says just sprinkle a little.”

He had read an article about how putting volcanic dust on your garden would help your plants grow bigger and produce longer, so I had had to stop at the Farm Friend to pick up a gallon bucket.

Know how much a gallon bucket of rock dust weighs? As much as a gallon bucket of rocks. Because rocks.

“I know what I’m doing,” he said, scooping out a handful and packing it around the base of his dearest rose plant. “She’s gonna win a blue ribbon this year, for sure.”

Not for the first time, I was glad we weren’t married and glad we had decided to not have kids. I was convinced he’d name our firstborn Rose, which would have been a helluva thing to saddle a boy with, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

Benny was okay to live with, but being legally bound to him would have chafed like tight underwear.

“Now,” he said. “By fair time, just see if she isn’t a corker.”


The next morning, sipping my coffee and looking out the side window, I said, “Define ‘corker’.”

“Wh?” Bennie never really woke up until after his second cup, and he had just barely started his first. He was still in his pajamas, his hair sticking up in all directions. I was dressed, had made coffee and breakfast, had eaten, and had cleaned the kitchen until it shone.

“Your rose grew overnight.”

“Ha, ha.”

“Okay,” I said.

I finished my coffee, washed the cup and put it in the dish drainer, and went out to the garden.

The rose took up half the yard, including leaves as big as I am and a main stem stretching up out of sight.

Benny was going to be pissed, with his prize blooms up in the sky where he couldn’t cut them.

He was probably going to send me up to check it out, anyway, so I pulled on my heavy gardening gloves, tucked a pruner through my overalls’ utility loop, and got to climbing, using the rung-sized thorns as … well … rungs.

It was a long way up, but I’m a fast climber, and the atmosphere thinned and cooled before I had a chance to break a sweat.

When I bumped my head, I nearly lost my grip, but I grabbed a nearby leaf and steadied myself. What did I come up against? I put my free hand up and pressed. The sky was solid but gritty. It was like dirt, only blue, and up instead of down.

The rose stem went right on through it, so I took a trowel out of my pocket and dug a me-sized hole up next to the stem, coming up into a thin sunlight with blue dirt and blue grass and blue trees and blue everything spreading out all around.

“Jesse!” a deep voice roared. “Look here at my lawn! Weeds and bugs everywhere!”

A deep purple giant loomed over me, glaring down, fists on hips.

A slightly smaller giant came up next to him and boomed.

“It’s just one little old weed and one little old bug. I’ll take care of it.”

The smaller giant went away. When she came back carrying a spray bottle, the big giant grumbled, “I work my hands off trying to make this place look nice, and look what happens. I don’t know why I even try. I care, that’s why. It’s because I care.”

“You do care,” the smaller giant said. “I know you care.”

Before she could spray me, I ducked back down below the dirt. I wasn’t sure I had the strength to cut that big stem, but I guess I had adrenaline or something, because I did it. I gave a smooth tug, and the bud slid out of the hole it had made and tumbled down toward Earth earth, with the leaves breaking its fall.

I was afraid to try the same thing, so I got a coated with a giant-sized squirt of vinegar water as I climbed as carefully as I could back to good old terra firma.


Benny was still sitting at the kitchen table.

He wrinkled up his nose.

“Whew! You stink like vinegar! You been spraying weeds already this morning?”

“I got sprayed,” I said.

“You smell like it.”

“You had a bud on that rose,” I said.

“I better cut it,” he said, “so the next ones will come in bigger.”

“I already did,” I said.

“Where is it?”

“I stuck it in the rain barrel. That’s how big it was.”

He finished his coffee and slammed the mug onto the table. He got up and tugged the bottom of his pajama top down over his belly.

“I wish you was as funny as you think you are,” he said, and huffed out of the kitchen.

“I am,” I said to his empty chair. “You just don’t know it.”

MY PROMPT TODAY: Volcanic dust as fertilizer.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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