Dandelion and Burdock
"The name Dandelion", says the Imp in a sibilant whisper, "is a corruption of the French phrase 'dent -de- leon' meaning lion's tooth. This is a reference to the coarsely serrated leaves"
I jump about three feet high, lawnmower and all. The weather has been warming up and I had hoped to get my lawn in shape. It is overgrown with dandelion invasion and was beginning to look like amazonian rainforest. At nights I can hear distant drums and the plaintive calls of the wild. It may be just my new neighbours and their taste in music.
I look around to make sure there is no one spying me over the fences. I hate to be caught conversing with the imp in full view of other humans. For the Imp has indicated it will only to be visible to me unless it chooses otherwise. Thankfully it is a lazy afternoon, there is no other humanity out there.The sun is high in the sky shining on a shadowless backyard. A light breeze comes from somewhere and plays hide and seek with the leaves of the apple tree. A bird calls out, and strangely it sounds like my name. I am stripped to my waist with my shirt tied around my jeans. A single bead of sweat bungees from my nape and slides down my spine.
"Hot work, ain't it? Care for some Dandelion and Burdock?" without doubt it is the sound of Pandemonicum Grenvillard Woodimp. No one else I know has the voice of a badly oiled engine running on sand.
Hallucinations and Hammocks
There is a cloud of Dandelion seeds in the air. All floating lazily skyward, like a bunch of paratroopers on a mission, dispersing over enemy territory.Through this I see the Imp swinging on the hammock, one hand held aloft with a drink in a frosted glass and other cocking a cigar.
'Imagine you were a Dandelion." says the Imp after taking a hearty sip from its glass."What would your dreams be like?"
I remove the shirt from my waist and mop my face as I walk towards the hammock. "That doesn't make any sense. Why would Dandelions dream? They don't have any neurons."
The Imp flicks ash nonchalantly in my direction and slides up on the hammock, looking at me with those beady eyes. It's face is as brown and wrinkly as ever, reminding me of a walnut I roasted at Christmas. Yet, the expression of bemusement is unmistakable. It likes toying with my head, as it has been doing since its appearance four chapters ago.
"I said imagine, dear boy. Imagination needs no rules of logic. It only needs ideas to take flight. And ideas, as you know, are the most invasive. Much like the Dandelion seeds that unfurl and take flight after a gust of wind, spreading anywhere and everywhere, ideas can float away too. They then land on receptive minds and take hold, spread wide and take over more minds."
I lean on the tree trunk and chew a twig. " I suppose then, if I were a Dandelion, I will be dreaming of distant lands and spreading my seeds far and wide. I will dream of rolling hills and widespread plains covered in my own kind. The land will turn yellow. I will be like a general sending his troops forth."
"Now you are talking." The Imp grins around the cigar butt. There is no telling where its skin ends and the tobacco begins.
" See how you can take flight with an idea? Creativity is contagious. You ask a surreal question, you nudge the brain into dream territory and you are off. Logic and laws are the bars in your prison cell. Break loose, Break free."
Hijinks and Hillocks
The sound of Freddie Mercury blasts through the garden as the Imp swings in the hammock.
"I want to break free...."
" God knows I want to break free...." I scream, despite myself.
"I am glad you asked" says the Imp and there is a sudden flash of light. I find the world getting magnified in front of my eyes. The tree trunk is gigantic. The grass blades loom threateningly. An enormous bee buzzes past me. I am now waving in the wind, clinging onto what looks like a dry petal, only thousand times bigger, like a weathered sail of a boat.
"Am I dreaming?" my voice comes out in a shrill tinny tone.
" Maybe. Or maybe you are about to." The Imp's voice booms Godlike over my head as I get launched into the air. I realise I am now the same size as a Dandelion seed. I am hanging onto to a fluffy parachute. The grass races under my feet as I climb higher. I could see the apple tree and the Hammock. The Imp waves me cheerily past as I rise on the air currents among the other seeds.
The world looks different from this size and from this angle. Every flower, Every leaf glows with magical light within.
A bird feather floats down under me and I hop onto that from the seed, surfing the airwaves with my feet balanced on the spine.
I holler like a child as the mad ride weaves me past roofs and other gardens. I sense a fellow rider and the Imp appears on another feather shouting , "Cowabunga, dude!"
I nod as the wind threatens to rewrap my face around my head. "If you fancy, there are a couple of sunbathing sheilas round the next corner and we can do a quick flyover" winks the Imp.
"I don't know what you are doing to me, but I sense it is going to be trouble. And I need to get back to finish that hub - I am doing an answer to a question and I want it done and published"
The feather flips over and I freefall down to the ground.
I am lying face down in a bed on Dandelions. The Imp is lying next to me, "tch. tch."
"You know how to kill a dream. There is always somewhere else you have to be. something else you got to do."
"But life needs to go on. Daydreams don't complete tasks."
Grey faces and Gridlocks
I am now in a long corridor. Lining each side behind glass walls are long open workspaces filled with desks. I am dressed in a suit and so is the Imp as he walks along with me.
"Look at 'em." It points. Hundreds of people sit behind desks and stare at computer screens. Their wrists limply drape over keyboards and there is a rhythmic clicking of the mice. "click, click, click click"
"The sound of your life draining away is no longer tick, tock." Says the Imp, pressing its face on the glass and inviting me also to peer inside."It is the click, click of the mouse button. You all live vicariously, plugged into cyberspace, seeking stimulation in the wired world."
I watch pallid faces lighting up in the various colours of the terminals. Eye stare blank and there is a zombie like regularity to the movements.
"You are right. PG WoodImp. What you say is true."
"I am always right." says the Imp and puffs up its chest. It causes unsightly bulges on its shirt front.
"Now, don't get carried away."
"No, dear boy, it is you who needs to get carried away. I was merely illustrating an idea to help you. You see Dandelion seeds disperse over every part of the land. Should you choose to get a high hubscore and get more followers, that is exactly what you need to do. answer questions, post in forums, hub hop, comment widely, follow many, post fan mail... you shall spread like dandelion over every nook and cranny of the hubland."
"I know, I know."
"But equally, you need to come out and feel the earth under your feet and see nature in all its glory."
Sunblock and Buttocks
I nod as the corridor darkens and tilts menacingly. The glass walls shatter and tables, chairs and computer monitors roll past. I try to grab hold of something as I flip upside down and free fall again...
I am now on a beach. The air smells of sweet ozone. The sound of the waves is soothing as they roll onto the shore.
The wood Imp is dressed in a loud pair of Bermudas. It is lying next to me on a sunbed sipping a tall cocktail. It hands one over to me. I sniff at it suspiciously as my previous experiences of drinking Impish concoctions didn't really pan out well.
"Its called 'Time out' . It has Vodka, Rum, Crushed Ice, A dash of Angostura bitters, a smidgen of absinthe and a large dollop Pandemonicum special. And I made the umbrella myself."
I take a cautious sip and I feel my nerves go to jelly. I am totally relaxed and the sea air caresses my body.
"You see, while your ardour to seek better writing skills is admirable, you also need to chill now and then. When you chill, the creative juices do flow. That reminds me, would you care to rub some sun cream on my back and below? I hate tanlines on my buttocks."
I choke on my 'Time out' and sputter.
"Only kidding. I have conjured up a ministering minx from the seventh dimension. Their Impettes are skilled at suncream-rubbing, among other things."
It winks and puts on some Ray-Bans."Stay if you will, I've summoned two."
I look to my left and see two gorgeous creatures sauntering towards us in the sand, wearing pastel bikinis that show more than they hide.
I think of the papers to mark, clothes to wash, articles to write, chores to do...
Well, what the heck. I lie back and slide down my own sunglasses and take another sip of 'Time out'
"Hello boys..!" comes a sweet chorus in unison. I smell heady perfume as the shadow of the Impettes falls over our sun loungers.
Pandemonicum Grenvillard WoodImp sings, " You got to Accen-tu-ate the positive, E-li- min-ate the negative and latch on to the affirmative..."
" and don't mess with mister inbetween..." I join in.
A Dandelion seed floats past me and onto the sea.
The Imp returns in Forrest Imp
© 2012 Mohan Kumar