Wednesday, June 8, 2016


THE CACTUS "And then, a short distance away, I seemed to see a kind of fog, an overhanging mist. I thought it was an optical illusion-because whoever heard of a fog in the desert?-but, since it wasn't far away, I walked over to it. And as I approached it I smelled the sweetest, sourest, muskiest odor I've ever known. Suddenly the ground dipped and I was looking at a strange and lovely thing. Do you remember that meteor crater in Arizona? What I saw there was the same thing, much smaller of course. It was a scoop in the earth, like a great dimple, and it was filled with cactus growths, marvelous, unearthly, beautiful-eight, nine, ten feet tall-gray-green giants stretching their twisted arms to the sky. There were hundreds of them already blooming with dark read flowers. It was the latter that gave off the strange, sweet smell."
"Its shape was somewhat comical: with the fat, spinous stem and the two little horns sprouting from the top, it resembled a rampant tomato caterpillar."
"Leaning over and tentatively feeling the two parallel spikes at the head of the plant, she added, 'Not that it couldn't bore a hole right through if it wanted to with these things. They're like daggers.'"
"It blossomed early in June with flowers of a peculiar liverish color. Though she never would have admitted it publicly, Edith thought them unattractive, almost repellent. They were almost like sores, she thought."
"Got horns and everything. Looks like a sick goat with boils."
"She smiled at her fancy, but was surprised to hear from Abby that Robert Burden had the same idea, although he was carrying it to ridiculous extremes, averring, for instance, that he had caught a glimpse of the cactus floating in its own emanations like a jellyfish in an ocean current."
"Cruciform in shape, its upraised 'arms' were terminated in spiked nodules, like taloned fingers' the forward-sweeping horns were truly formidable; and with withered flowers at the 'head' were arranged to suggest an evil face, a demonic, leering, loathsome face. "

Mildred Johnson, The Cactus
Read Scott's blog post about this story here. 


  1. I had a dream about cacti people!

    1. Yeah man, cacti are alien enough on their own...once you give them humanoid features they get SUPER strange