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The Man in the Grey Fennel Suite – Smokey Grey #2

Private Eye Smokey Grey – foto by Smith

Here’s the second of my three Smokey Grey Private Eye short stories. This one’s my favorite.

The Man in the Grey Fennel Suite

“Gray day, Grey. Whaddya say?”

Smokey looked up from his 5-herb salad. “Not much. Do I know you?”

The answer was obvious from the guy’s uncomfortable way with words, the awkwardness with which he held himself, and his suit which looked to be a sticky dried gray highlighted in hints of glaucous green and yellow, with a whiff of anise. The man himself looked out of focus, neotenous.

“Does anyone ever know anyone? Or themselves? No. I need to hire you.”

“Then I probably say no. What for?”

“To follow my life.”


“Why not?”

“It’s the why knot – I’m a private, not a peeper.”

“No, no – wrong root here. I’m not sure who I am. Or what. I know nothing before waking up two sun specks ago in this ill-colored bad smelling suit.”

Smokey glanced at the suit. It could fit better. “Why me?”

“The web in the room said come down, see you, you’d help.”

“Spider or cyber?” No answer. Suit seemed confused by the question. “OK. Why not. Let me finish, and we’ll go up.”

Watching Smokey eat his parsley, chive, basil & dill salad made Suit uncomfortable. “Do you have to eat that? Isn’t that plant cruelty? Shouldn’t you be eating meat? Or women?”

When they arrived, there wasn’t much in the room – a few scattered umbels of small yellow flowers, some seeds, a Mouse Moth flitting from flower to flower, a burned stalk, a broken web, something that could be a floss farm over in the corner. Smokey tasted a seed – fennel. Hmm, Prometheus used a fennel stalk when he stole fire from the gods, so the burnt stalk was likely fennel too. That explained Neotenous’ suit color and smell. This was starting to stink of plant magic.

Over by the bed was a golden green mound of what could be ground grass or plant pollen. Smokey went over, bent down, sniffed.

His head filled with sweet green licorice pure potent unprocessed fennel pollen with overtones of acid. Sound started pulsating, chopped up, running backward. His vision faded out and in and out in vibrating black and white checkerboard squares. He lost his balance, fell onto the bed, into blackness.

Great Green Grey Stalks with yellow flower mouths and fibrous voices approached Smokey through his hallucinations. “Excuse our lack of manner, Mister Grey, we are sorrow for tricking you. The Pod Golem with you requires aid. We do not know enough yet to program him. His mission affects both flesh and plant. We are losing Bumble Bee. Soon not enough Bumble Bee to dance the plant. No dance, plant die. Plant die, earth die. Earth die, man die. All global warming global warning. Only seven growing season left before too late. After seven season, not enough ice to turn back. Much sun, small ice. Small ice, big ocean. Big ocean, less city, less food, less land, less man, less Fennel. All problem. We create Pod Golem to send out global warning, talk to press, politicians. Please steer Pod Golem. We learn from him, make more. Make each better until best. Send thousand out, million, hives. Talk. Educate. Lobby. If no progress in 3.5 growing season, send out new Pod Golems – saboteurs, assassins. Global warming will stop. Or man will. Fennel will not die. Fennel must live. We ask you, Mister Grey, because you respect plant spirit, commune much with marijuana. Tell us what you need to help send Pod Golem on his way. You can talk to us by sniffing pile pheromone dust. We will see need in your brain pan. Goodbye for now, Mister Grey. Until next blooming.”

Smokey came to, a warm buzz in his brain. Good stuff. He definitely looked forward to next blooming.

Fennel Suit was watching. As Smokey wondered what to tell him, Suit reached into his pocket and handed him a spliff. Grey lit up, toked, offered the joint to Suit, who recoiled in horror blurting, “No, I cannot consume plant,” then plucked the Mouse Moth out of the air and ate it. “Is okay for you because this plant volunteered to be consumed by you. The Cannabis Clan holds you in high regard. As do the dust mites because your smoke makes them happy.”

Smokey smoked, thought, thought, smoked. The problem appeared manageable. Get Pod Golem a decent suit that didn’t smell, get him a large amount of money, show him how to wine and dine and bribe politicians, how to tell the truth while making it sound like a lie and lie like truth, then turn him loose in Washington D.C. as a Lobbyist. Let him learn the ropes, get the feedback back to Pod Central so they could upgrade their Golem Lobbyists, and repeat the process. After they bred out the bugs, no reason they couldn’t flood the earth with lobby Golems to bribe the world to walk the path of life instead of greed. He’d show them how to buy good government. That the world would not end would justify the means. And if it didn’t work, well, he had no problem with Plant Pod Assassins weeding out the disease; he might even help.

Smokey was already thinking he needed to sniff more pollen, tell the Pod Central Stalks that Pod Golem needed money, lots of it. Figured the plant kingdom knew where enough silver hair and golden earrings were buried to make it work.

Smokey smiled at Fennel Suit. “Tell you what I’m gonna do…”

© Steven B. Smith 2011
written 10-2006 in Krakow, Poland
rewritten 10-2011 in Cleveland, Ohio

Smokey Grey on the case – foto by Smith

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