The One Sure Sign of Spring

The one sure sign of Spring

It’s not the mud. It’s not the rain. It’s not the colored eggs or the gefilte fish.

It’s this:*


“See those trees?” I said, driving down our street, which is lined with trees that have recently, and literally, burst into bloom. “Those trees are trying to kill me.”

“Maybe they know that every plant you touch dies,” Jane said. “Maybe they’re just trying to save the other plants.”

“A preemptive strike? Makes sense to me.”

“What’s a pre . . . pre-empty strike?” Sunny asked.

“Preemptive. Hitting first, before someone can hit you.”

“Like Janie does me.”

“I  do not!”

“Owwww! Mommy, she just—“

“No being pre-emptive in the car!”

“What else can you kill by touching it, Mommy?”

“Just plants. I’m very good at fish and small mammals.”

“Sunny’s a small mammal.”


“And I’ve kept her alive for seven years.”



You, on the other hand, might not make it to twelve . . .”

“Oops. Sorry, Sunny.”

“That’s okay. Just don’t pre-empty me anymore.”

“Pre-EMPTY? That’s not even a word—“


“—I mean, what’s that even mean?”



“Nope. Try some pre-empty listening, next time.”


*To get the full effect, imagine a muffled WHUMP, as if thousands of sinus cavities suddenly imploded and then collapsed in silent, throbbing pain.

8 thoughts on “The One Sure Sign of Spring

  1. A preemptive strike, huh? That explains a lot. The plants are trying to kill off some of humanity so we stop killing them. I can almost hear them…
    “This is for that wood floor!”
    “Take that, you monster! You killed all those flowers and then displayed their corpses in a vase!”
    “How dare you use herbicide! Vengeance will be mine…”

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