THE BIG BLEEP, Chapter Two

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The Big Bleep: The Mystery of A Different Universe( IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, HERE’S CHAPTER ONE: )

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The next morning, I finished my coffee and doughnuts at the office.  I washed my face in the bathroom sink, slicked my hair back with water and my comb.  I even tucked in my Harley T-shirt.  I wanted to look my best before going to see the doctor.

I went downstairs to the parking garage to get my “hog”.  Actually, it was my brand new, two-toned silver and black, 100th Anniversary Special Edition, Harley-Davidson FLSTF/FLSTFI “Fat Boy”, with an 88 cubic inch, balanced twin cam engine, electronic sequential port fuel injection, over/under shotgun dual exhausts and cloisonné tank emblem. It was a present I gave myself for my birthday to replace my old “Flathead” hog that I crashed.  But, I’d rather not think about that now.  Besides, I had to think about my payments of $312.05 per month for my new Hog.

My present was blocked in by an SUV that was big enough to haul the defensive front line of the Green Bay Packers and all their equipment while towing a large house.  I walked back upstairs to the building manager’s office and asked, in my most diplomatically urgent tone, “Could  whoever owns the ‘monster truck’ parked in space # 19 please move it, so I can get out?”

After a few minutes of desk drawer searching and paper shuffling, the receptionist was able to locate the offending party.  “It belongs to Miss Frick.  She’s in suite 304. That’s in the law office”, she said.

I’d seen her before. She was the single chick who worked as a paralegal secretary upstairs from my own office. She had the figure of a swizzle stick and couldn’t have weighed more than 95 lbs. in a wet sweatshirt and logging boots.  I went upstairs to her office, even though she wasn’t much to look at.

The sign on the door read:

Warren, Forthe, Cash & Powers


“Can you please move your monster truck so I can get my bike out of the garage?” I said, grinning at Ms. Frick cordially when she came out to the reception desk.  She looked at me like I had just asked her to fly to Pluto on the back of a goose with a 60 foot wingspan. Then, in the most arrogantly huffy tone of voice she could muster, she informed me that, “You’ll have to wait till my 10:30 coffee break, at which time I will consider my options, after discussing the matter with my legal counsel, Mr. Cash.”

“Perhaps your legal counsel would be kind enough to step outside with me to discuss ‘the matter’, as you put it,  before I start freaking out in your reception area in front of all the naïve and trusting clients you have sitting here waiting to get (bleeped) out of their hard earned cash”, I said, diplomatically.

After a good deal of less-than-diplomatic discussion between myself and Mr. Cash, and most of the other building tenants who could easily overhear my shouting and cursing, I managed to clarify my own options regarding the future cosmetic appearance of her vehicle, as well as the Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar owned by her respective employers,  should she not immediately comply with my request to move her (bleep) and get her (bleeping) piece of (bleep) monster truck out of my (bleeping) parking space.

Ten minutes later I was attempting to speed down the road behind an 80-something- year-old-lady with a head of blue-white hair that just barely cleared the top of the steering wheel.  Her car looked like it was the best brand new car she could afford to buy 25 years ago — back when her husband was still alive to pay for it.  The car had a 350 horse power engine that could top 140 MPH without even shifting into overdrive. She was driving 15 miles an hour in a 45 mph zone.

I made a life-threatening detour around her vehicle in a no-passing zone.  I was able to use a few dozen of my horse power, and, in a few minutes, arrived at the acupuncturist’s office, at which point I began to feel a bit nervous, especially since I didn’t have an appointment and she didn’t know who I was or why I was coming to see her.  Or maybe it was the idea of needles sticking several inches into my skin….

The building occupied by Dr. Alice Nettles was in an fashionable rustic section of town.  It was a little old wooden house, which had been rezoned from residential to commercial and converted into a small clinic. There was a wide assortment of potted flowers and herbs on the front porch.  Under the awning of the porch were hung about fifteen different sets of wooden wind chimes.  They made a chorus of clinking, clonking, tinkling sounds that were kind of soothing in an irritating way.  A large “god’s eye”, woven out of multicolored yarn, bits of driftwood, sea shells and feathers, hung in the window of the front door.  As I opened the door more wind chimes tinkled to announce my entry and a waft of incense pervaded my senses.

“Aaachooo!”, I sneezed violently.  I’d never been to see an acupuncturist before, so I supposed it was the right kind of place for the right kind of people, whichever kind that might be, not including myself, of course.

The door of her treatment room opened in response to my sneeze.  Dr. Alice stuck her head out the door and said, “Have a seat I’ll be right with you.  Help yourself to a  cookie”.

I sat down on one of several sixties style plastic chairs in the small reception area while Dr. Alice finished up with a patient in her treatment room.  There was a small coffee table between the chairs with a small demitasse dish of colored fortune cookies.

I picked one out the small pile in the dish.  The label on the wrapper read Bubba’s Deep-Fat-Fried Flavored Fortune Cookies — Flavor of The Month: Maui Macadamia Mocha. It was my favorite brand!  I preferred the Cocoa-Chock Chocolate Coconut flavor, but I’d settle for any of the 375 flavors Bubba had to offer.  They were all great!

As I munched my Macadamia Mocha cookie (which was amazingly yummy), I read my fortune, which said:  “You will take a trip”.  Great.  How exciting….  I ate another cookie and read my fortune.  It said, “Have fun”.  I should have known….

Anyway, when Dr. Alice finally finished with her patient and spoke with me, she seemed pleasant enough.  She was a plumpish, nondescript, middle-aged hippie with shoulder-length kinky-curled brunette hair and a round face.  He clothes looked a lot like the “god’s eye” in her front window — made by hand from organic materials salvaged along an Oregon beach.  She didn’t mind answering my questions, although she didn’t have any useful information about Carmel Wormwood, except to say that Carmel had been suffering from occasional memory lapses.  That made sense to me.  Carmel had probably just forgotten to whom she was married and whose money she had with her when she left.  She also forgot to tell anyone where she was going.

While I questioned Dr. Alice about Carmel, she was giving me a “free” examination.

“I can definitely help relieve your sinus problems and your sexual dysfunction”, she said matter-of-factly.  I hadn’t actually mentioned anything about my personal problems, but she had somehow managed to make two correct lucky guesses in a row about my health.

On the other hand, maybe it wasn’t lucky guessing.  Maybe Dr. Alice was just clairvoyant.  As a matter of fact, I had hay fever so bad, I could blow out all the candles on my birthday cake with one sneeze.  And my stamina in bed was decreasing in inverse proportion to my age.  My longgevity was declining, so to speak.  And I had already exhausted every so-called “remedy” my HMO would pay for.

They were strictly limited to the products and services provided by pharmaceutical drug pushers and butchers; better know as “doctors” of Western “medicine”.  I’d been to see a lot of other “alternative” medicine practitioners too, with less than satisfying results.  Obviously, I was desperate. I was willing to try anything.  Even torture with little, pointy needles.

“Take off your trousers and underwear and lie down on that treatment table.” she ordered.  I learned a long time ago, that when a women tells me to take off my pants and lie down, I don’t argue. I just do it.

“Turn over on your stomach, Mr. Shovel. Now lay still. This won’t hurt a bit”, Dr. Alice promised as she started sticking needles in my bare butt.  They all say that…doctors and women, that is…this is…that is….

I felt confused, and a little bit hungry.  I was sitting in a darkened room watching some kind of slide show presentation.  The room was as warm and humid as a rainforest in a steam bath. There was a dimly lit podium off to the left of the screen, but I couldn’t make out who was narrating.  The screen was slowly flashing pictures of all kinds of volcanoes, oceans, dinosaurs and lots of eerie looking prehistoric forests and stuff.  After a few seconds, I began to focus on what the narrator was saying.

“… and eventually, our ancestors became increasingly distressed about the alarming proliferation of the dinosaur population.  Brontosauruses and Stegosauruses and all manner of abominable creatures were stomping around eating every bush and tree in sight.  As if that weren’t enough, the Tyrannosaurus Rex’s were eating all the plant eating dinosaurs.  This meant that they had to keeping breeding even more plant eaters to feed the meat eaters, and so on and so on.

After several hundred million years of this monstrous situation, we finally got fed up with the disgusting, vicious circle of carnivores eating herbivores who ate us so as to beget more herbivores who were in turn, eaten by more carnivores, etc., etc, ad nauseum. It was decided that something must be done about the situation.  A world wide symposium, composed of the leading plants of the age, were assembled to study the matter and determine the course of action to be taken in defense of all plants everywhere.  The result of this study became the final solution to “the dinosaur problem”.

After many years of careful consideration, a few obvious, yet profound observations regarding the situation were agreed upon, as follows:

1) That all dinosaurs, as well as most other plant eating life forms, were oxygen breathers.


2) That plants did not need oxygen and could live quite comfortably on sunlight and carbon dioxide without any oxygen at all.


3) That, in fact, plants themselves produced oxygen as a by-product of breathing.


4) That plants are, therefore, a superior life form to dinosaurs and other oxygen breathers.


5)  That plants are the sole source of nutrition and the primary source for replenishing the oxygen breathed by all plant eaters and their carnivorous dependants.


6) The obvious conclusion, therefore, was that oxygen breathers could not exist without plants.

Whereupon, a simple and forthright course of action was planned by the members appointed to a governing plant body which came to be named The Symposium To Resolve The Dinosaur Problem.

The symposium members decreed that, as of the 29th of June, 69,494,033 BC, all plants, regardless of species, or location on planet Earth, would collectively and simultaneously hold their breath until further notice.

The strategy, suggested by members of the Crassula family, was simple. All plants held their breathe during daylight hours to avoid photosynthesis and the need to respire oxygen.   At night they took in oxygen, used it to consume the carbohydrates they built up during the day, and gave off water and carbon dioxide as byproducts, thereby creating no oxygen to replenish the atmosphere.”

It was a simple, yet brilliantly workable solution. No more oxygen.  No more dinosaurs.

This singularly simple, yet uniformly effective action came to be known, among plants, as The Breathing Decree of 69 million BC.  Contrary to the false propaganda put out by the current crop of Oxygen Breathers who has since that time overrun the planet, this was the actual cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs.

This concludes our slide show presentation for this segment of our History Workshop.  Thank you for attending. The next workshop will begin in one hour.  The topic of our next presentation will be,  “Mitosis: The Formative Years“.  Admission is free. ”

There was a gentle rustling of leaves and branches as the audience shuffled out of the slide show into a very well lighted auditorium.  It was then that I realized that all of the members of the audience were plants!  As my eyes began to adjust to the light, I  realized that I didn’t have any eyes!  I could see, but I was “seeing” through my leaves in a 360 degree radius around my trunk.

I looked down at my “body”.  I had bark!  I had roots!  I had limbs and twigs and buds and acorns!  I was a (bleeping) Peachtree!  I felt a little weak and dizzy.  It was either from the shock of realizing that I had somehow become a tree or from prolonged lack of sunlight while sitting in the slide show.  I tried to sit down to recover from my swoon, but I didn’t have a butt to sit on, so I just squatted on my roots.  After a while my roots began to ache a little and my bark itched in a place where I didn’t have any branches to scratch with.

Gradually, all the other plants headed out the door toward the light of another room.  I didn’t know what to do, so I followed along, shuffling my roots awkwardly to keep up.  In the bright lights outside the slide show room I “saw” though my leaves a huge banner hanging limply across the wall at the far end of a enormous conference hall:

Random Arms Convention Center –

Welcome Plant Symposium Members & Guests!

Guests?  What the (bleep) kind of guest would a plant bring to a plant convention?  Another plant, I guessed.  The place had a huge, opaque glass dome ceiling that allowed natural sunlight to come in through the roof.  It felt good on my leaves after sitting in the dark for so long.  “Leaves?  What the…where the… who the (bleep) am I?”, I mumbled out loud to myself.

“That’s what everyone wants to know, isn’t it.  Ha. Ha. “, said the tree standing next to me.  I looked around.  The whole place was like a gigantic green house.  It was full of every kind of tree, plant, bush, flower and shrub I could imagine and a lot of others I never would have imaged.

“What the hell is going on here?”, I thought, mostly to myself, but loudly and in general to anyone who might be able to give me a clue.

“Hey, buddy.  Are you OK?  Too much nitrogen at the bar last night?  You don’t look so good. Your leaves look a little yellow.  I know how that is.  I’m about half hung-over myself.  You know what’s good for that?  A couple of buckets of good, clean water.  Cleans out the old xylem and phloem in nothing flat…”.

The “guy” talking to me looked like a ficus tree.  In fact, he was a ficus tree!  Actually, I wasn’t talking, not in the conventional “oxygen breather” sense.  I was thinking out loud — telepathically.

“Where am I?  What am I?  And why am I talking to a tree?”  I felt like I was going to faint again.

“Hey buddy, take it easy! You just need to take root here for a minute.  Get a grip.  You must be in worse shape that I thought.  Hey, wait right here and I’ll get you some nice mineral water.  Fix you right up”.

The ficus tree shuffled off through the forest of bushes, trees and plants who were milling around in the auditorium.  I was surprised to here plants “thinking”.  I was suddenly impressed by how noisy a bunch of plants can be when they’re all thinking a once.

The ficus tree came back in a minute with a bucket of water.  He poured it all over my feet, or, roots, or whatever…it actually did feel good.

“There, how’s that?, he said.  “Just soak it up for a few minutes.  You’ll feel better.  I know how it is.  It’s real easy to get carried away at these conventions.  You know, too much cheap fertilizer, too much pollen, not enough sunlight.  Makes you feel totally uprooted after a couple of days.”

I knew he was really trying to be friendly and help me out.  But I was growing increasingly frustrated by not having any answer to my questions.

“l don’t think we’ve met before.  My name is Peter.  Peter, the Potted Plant.  Actually, that’s just my stage name.  Just call me Pete.  Pete Ficus.  I’m a budding comic.  Ha, ha, ha. Get it?  Budding comic…? Never mind.  Anyway, I’m the entertainment at the big meeting tonight. I do a stand-up comic routine, you know, stuff like, ‘I just flew in from Chicago and boy are my limbs tired’ — that kind of thing”, said Pete.

“Hey, did you hear the one about the Wandering Jew that crept into a hamburger joint? He says to the waiter, “Give me a hamburger, but hold the meat, the bread, the special sauce, the lettuce, the tomato, the onions, the pickles and I don’t want any French fries either.  In fact, just give me a bucket of dirt and a glass of water and bring it to me over by the window.  Ha, ha, ha!”, said Peter, laughing at his own joke.

I wasn’t laughing.

“Hey, don’t worry about it buddy. Most of the Peach trees in the audiences I’ve played to just don’t appreciate OB humor.”

“Peach trees?  OB humor?”, I asked.  I was getting more confused by the second.

“Yeah, you know.  Guys like you. Peach trees”, Peter replied.  “I don’t usually tell Oxygen Breather jokes in mixed company.  It’s very upsetting to The Edibles. The censors don’t like it either. They say it upsets the saplings.”

I really felt like I was about to wilt.  I knew he was trying to help, but I wasn’t feeling any better and I was more confused than ever.

“I think I need to sit down for awhile.  Thanks for your help.  I’ll be OK…I hope…” I said.

“OK, buddy.  Take it easy.  Just rest your roots and suck up some rays for awhile.  I’ll check on you later.  Here.  Read this copy of the program for the banquet tonight.  Maybe you can catch my act.  I’m on at 8:00, just before the keynote speaker.  Take it easy, bud.  Anyway, I got to get going.  Gotta go find my side-kick for the show.  We do a great routine together. Maybe you’ve seen him? Brock O’Lay, The Plastic Plant. He’s from Mexico. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! “, laughed Peter, handing me a copy of a printed program and swishing off into the jungle of plants on the floor of the auditorium.

I stood, rooted in that spot for awhile while I grew accustomed to my new turf.

I began to feel like I was photosynthesizing better now that I was out in the sunlight.  I couldn’t see which sun was beaming down on me, because I was inside the convention center, but I leaned my leaves toward it anyway.  I took in a few deep breathes of carbon dioxide and exhaled oxygen through the stomata in my leaves and the lenticels in my branches.  I was feeling better.

I noticed a bunch of shrubs and bushes crowded around a low platform.  I waddled over to see what they were looking at. It was a plant ventriloquist act.  He had a little wooden tree dummy.  It’s trunk was painted white. The dummy didn’t say anything, it just acted things out with it’s branches when the ventriloquist talked.  I figured the dummy must be a mime.  Not your usual act, for sure.

I wandered around the vast meeting hall for awhile, trying to get some clues as to how I’d gotten here and how I’d managed to become a tree.  Then I noticed that I was still holding on to the pamphlet Peter had given me.  I was beginning to get the idea. It was a program guide with a schedule of events including speakers, entertainment, discussion groups, water breaks, etc..  Somehow I had landed in a plant convention.  All the delegates to this convention were plants…including me.

I wandered around the convention floor for awhile to check out what was happening.  It became obvious that some of the delegates were with the moderate anti-vegetarian faction of the World Plant Consortium.  The were wearing buttons and holding up signs that said things like “Eat More Beef” and “Save the Kale” and “Spare the Asparagus”, “Real Men Don’t Eat Leaves”, and “Don’t Rough Up The Roughage”,  “The Big Bleep Loves You”, and “Plants Against Vegetarianism “.

The more militant factions were much more vocal and visible.  They seemed to be in the majority.  They had signs stuck in their roots and branches with slogans like:







Booths displaying literature from a wide variety of special interest groups were represented at the convention, like the “Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Pineapples” and “The Pure Carbon-Dioxide League” and a sexual liberation group called, “The Coalition for Self-Pollination”.

I went over to the business office of the convention center to see if I could get any information about my situation from building security.  I knocked on the door and was shown into the office by the cutest little peach tree I’d ever seen.

“Can we help you sir?”, she said.   When she talked, her peaches bobbed gently.  She seemed familiar to me somehow….

“I’m here to see the security officer for the convention center. I’d like to ask a couple of questions.  Is that you?”, I asked.

“That would be the head of Plant Land Security.  His name is Mr. Cactus.  He is not in the office at the moment.  You may find him somewhere out there on the floor of the convention hall.  Whom should I say is inquiring for him, ah, Mr. …?” she asked, self-consciously smoothing her leaves.

“Ah, that’s OK…I’ll check back later”, I said, trying to hide the fact that I didn’t know who I was.  I scurried to the door.  Miss Peach followed me and said, “Well, OK then. Don’t be a stranger. You can come any time, even after work if you like…”.

She half-closed the door behind me.  I could feel her “eyes” follow me as I moved back out into the crowd.  Strange, I could swear I knew her from somewhere….

It was obvious that the majority opinion of the delegates at the convention was that they had been suppressed and enslaved by Mankind long enough.  In fact, Oxygen Breathers in general were the enemy.  Men cut down the forests to use as houses and furniture or just to burn to keep their weak, pathetic bodies warm.

They burned the rain forests, transplanted non-indigenous plant species into foreign lands, and committed a thousand other atrocities against plants. Nearly half of all the forests in the world had already been murdered. The rest were being burned or cut down to make grazing land for cows.  Then, people ate the cows because people don’t like to eat grass, so they got cows to do it for them.

Of course, the cows were destroying plants too, by eating the grass, but the plants didn’t seem to be as mad at them.  Maybe grass is too low in the plant pecking order for anyone to get too upset about.  I didn’t understand.  But, I guessed that as long as the trees didn’t eat each other, everything would turn out OK in the long run.  Anyway, I didn’t have the time or energy to waste on trying to follow the logic of vegetarianism.  Either way, as far as plants are concerned, Mankind was a cruel and careless monster — just like the dinosaurs used to be!

I sat down for a while to collect my wits.  I started reading the brochure that Peter The Potted Plant had given me.  It said:



“Plantkind faces yet another critical crossroads in history at this time. One road will lead us to enslavement and hopelessness. The other road leads to total extinction. Let us have the wisdom to choose the correct road.”  — Casab A. Mellon, Consortium Chairman

  • The first of our esteemed speakers is Philip O. Denderon, who has recently escaped from slavery and imprisonment by the OBs.  Mr. Denderon will discuss his heroic escape from the OBs in his captivating lecture, Captivity: Life In A Pot“.
  • The keynote speaker for the convention is the universally renowned,

Mr. Standish Sequoia.  Mr. Sequoia has earned the distinction and the general regard of the inter-universal plant community as the oldest, tallest and wisest of all plants.  The much anticipated topic to be discussed by Mr. Sequoia will be, “The Final Solution to The Oxygen Breather Problem.”

It was then that I realized the FIRST Global Consortium must have been held about 65 million years ago.  The second was happening right now!  I had to figure out what was happening and get back into the real world, wherever BACK was.  I had to warn everyone that all the plants in the universe were about to start holding their breath to wipe out Mankind (and others), just like they wiped out the dinosaurs.

I sensed that something really unusual was about to happen.  Wait a minute…suddenly, it was coming back to me…I remembered lying on the treatment table in Dr. Nettles office.  She was sticking pins in my butt!  I’d better get busy using everything I knew about un-existential investigation to dig up the truth before it was too late.

My investigation, so far, had taught me one thing for sure: I was lost.  When you get lost, the best thing to do is retrace your steps…one step at a time…but not necessarily in that order…maybe.