Writer and Gardener of Beauty and Chaos
My pitch and first 250 words of your next fave badass chick, Kit Magee's story The Poison Season! #TeamIceCreamSea
Follow my progress and read more about pitch madness on Brenda Drake's website.
Poisonous plant expert Kit Magee is devastated by her sister’s apparent suicide. To unearth the truth and set things right, Kit risks revealing she has more than dirt on her hands.
First 250 Word of Manuscript:
Four minutes to go.
“Grindhouse Blues” began to moan its way through my earbuds as I inhaled slowly through my nose. Steady hands, Kit, I willed myself.
The blade in my left hand sliced down the length of the flower, cleanly dividing it. With my right hand I spread open the two halves, exposing its male and female parts. Using hemostat clamps I removed the anthers, the male parts holding pollen, and set them carefully onto the paper plate beside me. Breathe.
I swept a miniature paintbrush gently across the anthers lifting pollen onto the eyelash-fine hairs. Tapping the brush delicately onto the plate, I smiled as the tiny pile of yellow fluff landed softly. Exhale.
Less than a minute to complete this phase of my experiment.
As I turned to set the net cover over the plate my jumbo-sized cat Max jumped onto the workbench.
“Shit!” I grabbed him around his fat yellow middle a split second before his paw landed in the pollen. “Max, you could’ve been poisoned.” I hoisted all twenty-two pounds of him up onto one shoulder and placed the cover over the plate with my free hand.
Brugmansia, or Angel’s Trumpet, was a dangerous plant. My sister Margie and I discovered it several years ago at an herb workshop. The host had grown several brugmansia varieties around her property and was fascinated by the plant’s intriguing history as an anesthetic, hallucinogen and deadly poison, earning it the nickname the Devil’s Breath.
Crime Scene Sunroom
by Pollinator of Peace
I'm going to tell you now that I did it. I killed those plants. But I really had no idea I was doing it at the time. You'd think that, as a master gardener, I might know better than to water plants that are hibernating in the sunroom, which reached a high temp over the polar vortex week of 20 degrees.
But the master gardener training doesn't have a module on thinking clearly when you're snowed in with a kid, a bunch of pets and woefully low supply of dark chocolate and good beer.
So on a trip through the sunroom to take the dog out for a pee, or rather, stand outside with her, repeatedly coaxing to no avail, I noticed that a couple of my wintering geraniums were dry enough to have pulled in from the pots. A quick glance around alarmed me. The purple oxalis I've loved and nurtured for years had fainted. The herbs were so parched I swallowed reflexively.
Filling a watering can with water I carefully drizzled water into the pots, which steamed from the cold. This, my gardening accomplices, should have warned me.
The next morning I found every plant I'd watered dead. Really dead. And then it occurred to me. I filled those tiny gorgeous plant cells with water that froze inside them. I scoured my books for resuscitation instructions but the prognosis is bleak.
So, in memory of my jade and oxalis I am sharing my confession. Maybe I've prevented another death by sharing my story.
If you've committed a plant crime, please join me in the confessional.