Herman’s Revenge or “Why one should not transplant cacti at midnight”

Last night, the younger kids had gone to bed and Maya was working on summer homework (Yes, she got quite a lot of homework to do over summer break. *shakes head*); so I decided to take advantage of the quiet to do a few domestic things around the house that never seems to get done. This cactus had long outgrown his pot and was trying to escape.

I tested it out, petted a small cluster, and was surprised at how soft the spines felt. “Why, this must be a special cactus that doesn’t actually prickle,” I said to myself as I enthusiastically lifted it up and over into a new pot. It was upon removing my hands from the cactus that I felt the hundreds of tiny pinpricks and growing itch all over my fingers and hands. The really fun part was that my reading glasses are still broken, and I couldn’t focus that close to see the spines without taking off my contacts…which I couldn’t really do because of all the tiny cactus spines in my fingers!

So I first tried blindly pulling some out…there were too many. A few sheets from one of those cat-hair rollers did nothing. Duct tape got rid of a few. There was no white glue in the house, because…slime experiments. Luckily Maya found a peel-off black charcoal face mask that we poured over my hands and waited to dry (while watching the final episodes of Chernobyl, because I had to sit there with my hands still), then she helped me to peel it off. After repeating this process twice (by this time it was nearly 2am), most of the spines seem to have been removed.

This morning I cannot tell if those are phantom pricks or microscopic irritation from remaining cactus thorns.

I feel like there’s a fable in there somewhere.
Time for coffee. #cheers

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of THE SILENCE OF TREES and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya.

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