Marek was busy digging out a path to his dryer. He’d made 6 trips to the recycling center today and there was now just enough room in the basement to swing a cat, but he still couldn’t get to the dryer. “She drives me crazy oooh oooh, like no one else….” The Fine Young Cannibals were a bit less abrasive on his hearing than the Ramones. Where did he leave his phone? Kitchen.
He made it up the split-level stairs and into the kitchen just as his phone stopped ringing.
Number recognition tells him it’s Mrs. Morello. He gets himself a cold beer and sits down at the kitchen table to return her call.
“Oh Mr. Marek, that was fast. I just called you. How’d’you know it was me?”
“Hi Mrs. Morello, yeah, the phone just stopped ringing when I found it. I’ve got number recognition, that way I don’t miss any calls. What’s up? Are you locked out again?”
“No, hon, but listen. Al’s taking me to Atlantic City for a dirty weekend…”
“Whoa, whoa, waaay too much information.”
“Oh, sorry. Anyway I need someone to babysit my pet plant and I was wondering if you …”
“Well, it’s a plant, but it’s kind of a pet. Let me bring her over and show you.”
Marek was feeling generous, so he said, “Why not?”
He helped himself to another beer while waiting for Mrs. Morello and her pet plant.
She rang the doorbell.
“C’mon in, it’s open,” called Marek from the kitchen.
Mrs. Morello waltzed into the kitchen swirling in a cloud of Mme. Rochas and a very swingy red raincoat. She was carrying a large Macy’s shopping bag.
“Hey, hey! Easy with the twirls, I’m getting seasick!”
Marek slowly lowered his bottle of Yuengling to the table. “The bag talked. Tell me you’ve take up ventriloquism…”
“Nope,” replied Mrs. Morello, placing the bag on the table. “Tada!” she said, as she reached into the bag and pulled out an enormous venus flytrap.
“Mr. Marek, meet Circe. Circe, this is Mr. Marek. He’s a very nice man and he’ll be taking care of you this weekend.”
“You got any windows with a southwestern exposure? ” asked the plant, “I like southwestern exposure.”
“Hel-lo, Circe. I can’t believe I am talking to a plant,” said Marek to anyone who might be listening.
“I’m here. On the table. You’re talking to me. What about the southwestern exposure?”
“Um, yeah. Right here by the kitchen window sill.” Marek tried to pick up the pot the plant’s in but Circe just bent her head and snapped at his left ear.
“Not so grabby! That is no way to treat a lady! Ask first.”
Marek backed away from the plant on the table and told Mrs. Morello he’s not so sure about this gig.
“Oh, come on now, Mr. Marek, I can tell, she likes you.”
“She tried to eat my ear.”
“Love nip, come on, don’t be a baby.”
“What do I do now?”
“What she says, ask her.”
Marek feeling like a half-baked idiot, crouched down to plant level and asked,
“Would you like me to put you on the window sill? It’s got southwestern exposure.”
Marek placed Circe the talking plant on the window sill above the kitchen sink. The plant gurgled at him and he backed away from her quickly.
“She’s purring, relax,” beamed Mrs. Morello, “I know you’re going to get along splendidly.”
Marek then offered Mrs. Morello a cup of coffee and asked how long a weekend she and Al are planning to make of it. She assured him it will only be from today, Friday, until Monday morning. Barry Manilow was playing at the Taj and they had tickets for two shows.
“Is there anything special I need to know about the pet plant?”
“Hey, I’m still in the room, you know. You could ask me yourself.”
Mrs. Morello gave a mini eyeroll and asked, “You mean other than the talking?”
“I eat bugs,” yelled Circe from the window sill, “Still in the room ya’ know.”
“Do you catch them yourself?” Marek asked, “or do I need to feed them to you by hand?”
“I can catch my own, but it’s so nice to be hand fed once in a while.”
“Like hell, I will,” thought Marek.
“Ok. You pick her up on Monday morning, okay. That’s before noon.”
“Understood,” said Mrs. Morello kissing Marek on the cheek, “you are a doll.”
Marek let Mrs. Morello out the front door, then dipped back down to the cellar to continue digging out the dryer.
“Hey! Hey you, Marek! Hey! I don’t like being all by myself up here.”
Marek was starting to regret this already.
He trudged up the stairs and back into the kitchen. He put his hands on the pot and Circe snapped at his ear again.
“Sorry, sorry,sorry. I’ve never known a plant like you before.”
“Your loss. You know any women?”
“Well just think of me as a woman and treat me right.”
“You eat bugs.”
“Some women eat sushi. I think that’s gross.”
Suddenly Marek found himself laughing in the kitchen with a talking venus flytrap called Circe.