It’s cold and dark; the glow’s not yet up. Not yet pouring its energy and life into me. I wait; it is all I can do. Wait. I am Brian and I am a house plant. I sit in the centre of the space that the mobiles call a ‘living room’ centred on a ‘table’. I am not a happy plant; the mobiles care for me only irregularly and no amount of self-control or conservation of resources can make up for the scarcity of liquid nourishment I receive.

I can sense the approaching glow and the coming of what should be my life giver but which will now slowly but surely kill me. For without the liquid the mobiles call ‘water’ the glows’ rays burn, evaporating what little moisture I have collected during the dark time.

You may be asking how I could be aware of ‘living rooms’ and ‘tables’ or be able to sense the difference between dark and light. After all I am just a plant lacking a brain, or a consciousness as you mobiles would know it. No I even lack ‘eyes’ or ‘ears’; for I am a plant. What I can do is sense the vibrations in the air impacting on my leaves when the mobiles (who refer to themselves as ‘people’) ‘speak’ to one another. I can sense the available light hitting my limbs as they attempt to photosynthesise. In fact I can sense the differences in the light as the mobiles move and change the way the light is reflected round the ‘room’.

The darkness slowly lifts and I know the mobiles will soon begin moving round and there will be a chance, a slim one, that during the early movement one of the mobiles will tip a few precious drops of moisture into my soil but I know that the chance is more than slim.

The glow is up now, a beam of light burning through a small break in the covering that the mobiles called ‘curtains’. Its beam moving slowly but surely across the room, I can sense its exact location from the reflections it produces bouncing off every surface. I know this process intimately, every glow the light hits my ‘table’ and on good glows my limbs will stretch out absorbing as much energy as possible, on bad glows I go as dormant as I can. Unfortunately my leaves will still try to photosynthesise using up my precious moisture but that’s not a process I can control.

The largest of the mobiles moves through the open space that I call home and crosses back in the time it takes the light to move across to the edge of the ‘table’, bringing with it the odd change to the atmosphere I process, the change that I have come to associate with the first mobile movements of the day. Then the vibrations that shake me throughout my entire root and stem as smaller, faster mobiles crash through the room, if I had lips I would smile at the smalls hurtling about so different from my own spawn. They will all be gone before the light reaches the first of my leaves.

By the time the light finally reaches me I’m resigned to a bad glow. I know I have very little in the way of reserves to survive the glow but I know I have to try. The light burns, the soil between my roots, already parched to baking, now begins to blister me with the heat causing my roots to shrink and the remaining moisture to hiss as it evaporates out. I’m not going to last the day, not this time: it has been too long since the mobiles last ‘watered’ me. My leaves are droopy, listless, brown and brittle. No; I’m not going to last this glow cycle and I’m resigned to my fate.

Suddenly I’m tipping, falling, the air moving fast between my leaves, the glow disappearing as I fall with a crash on the ‘ground’ behind the ‘table,’ the barrier that has for so long kept my roots contained shattering out around me. Out of the glow, a chance! A respite at last!

The strangest of the mobiles, referred to as the ‘dog’, comes up above me blocking out even more of the glow and moistens me. I’m not exactly grateful; the moisture is hard to process and leaves an unpleasant residue stuck to me. It will be enough to help me last through the glow though and for that I am truly thankful.  I suspect the ‘dog’ pushed me off the ‘table’ as well so maybe it isn’t such a bad mobile after all.

The glow moves on across the room and the ‘dog’ continues to putter about me, occasionally coming up and expelling delicious carbon dioxide onto me in short puffs that rustle my leaves. The glow has almost vanished entirely when one of the larger mobiles, identified as ‘mother’ arrives back with the smalls in tow. The vibrations begin immediately as the ‘mother’, yells at my friend ‘dog’ for the ‘mess’ that’s been made.

As the discussion takes place right above me I conclude it’s about me. I hope the mobile will wash the residue from the ‘dog’s’ moisture off me. Something hits the ground beside me: it gives off a reflection from the small glowers high in the room and I can tell that it is something flat with an edge. On my other side is something that doesn’t reflect well but is definitely moving towards me.

Suddenly I’m moving again, rising into more direct light from the small glowers, the air rushing against me. Suddenly for the first time in many glows I’m not in the ‘room’ the mobiles had placed me. Not in the ‘house,’ I’m in the open air, the big glow fading and in one final even more rapid movement of air I land on one side in the most interesting collection of matter. The scents and odours are invigorating.

I can sense others of my kind around me and a great variety of mobiles moving through the mound I’ve landed on. Then from above with nothing to block it moisture falls from the sky; my roots greedily begin to suck it up my leaves shift imperceptibly to channel it down to where I can absorb it. ‘Dog; you are the best of the mobiles! Thank you for sending me home, for sending me where I can live in peace.’


3 thoughts on “‘Brian’

  1. You have really created an excellent sense of voice here. The POV of Brian is very strong, and you have thought carefully about what such an existence might be like. I love the use of the word ‘mobiles’ as a terminology unique to him. I think you could almost make this piece even weirder and more abstract if you wanted to.

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