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 Post subject: Insanity
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:15 am 

Joined: Thu May 11, 2006 6:57 pm
Posts: 1218
Location: Michigan USA
by Will Heath

As usual, I felt a minor pang of guilt as I pulled onto the long winding driveway that led to the huge brick buildings of the Happy Tree Mental Health Center. I have been coming here every Sunday for the last two years to visit Ernie, an old friend in bonsai who was committed in the summer of 2003.

I always thought I was somewhat at fault for Ernie being committed, mainly because I was in on a little prank that set him over the edge. My own shrink has assured me that Ernie's mental state was already greatly eroded and that my actions were only the last straw and not the sole reason for Ernies insanity, but still the pang of guilt comes every Sunday, rain or shine.

It all started innocently enough at our local bonsai club auction, which was being held at Ernie's house that year. Things were going as they normally do at these functions until Ernie, all secret like, led Mac, Carl, and myself around to the back of his garage where he had a pile of contraptions that instantly reminded me of a mad scientist's laboratory on one of those Saturday horror movies.

Ernie proceeded to spit out some harebrained tale about creating the perfect fertilizer for bonsai. A fertilizer so powerful, he said, that it could create a whole years worth of growth in a bonsai overnight. Ernie was so excited and worked up about it that he could barely keep his words understandable and in fact, to Macs great dismay, kept spitting drool out with every word.

Carl, Mac, and myself just stood there, wiping spit off ourselves and staring blankly at Ernie.

Ernie was always on to something with bonsai, he always had an angle, a shortcut, and a way to bypass tradition and create world-class bonsai practically overnight. Needless to say, none of these schemes ever panned out. Ernie has invented soil made out of radioactive gravel from the nuke plant in Midland, he has trained birds to perch on specific branches so he didnt have to wire, he has press molded bonsai pots out of pure horse manure and once he even attempted to shoot a perfectly good Mugho Pine into low orbit with a model rocket, claiming that zero gravity growth would be faster. That one landed him in jail for a number of charges including arson, possessing a terrorist weapon, and destroying public property. We were more than used to these shenanigans and put up with it mainly because his wife worked at the local bonsai nursery and gave us huge discounts because we were Ernies pals.

Anyhow, once Ernie was done watering us with spit and telling his tale, we asked him to show us the results of this new fertilizer he had supposedly invented. Ernie then removed a black piece of velvet that looked amazingly like the dress his wife saves for special occasions and showed us quite an ordinary looking little Japanese Black Pine. Before we could even laugh, he explained that he had waited for us to test his new super juice and proceeded to pour some black, smelly, nasty, bubbling goo onto the soil. We waited.

We waited some more.

After the auction was over and the yard was put back into order there was still no change in the Black Pine, except it may have looked slightly paler than it did before. Ernie quickly explained how it would take a little time to see the results, most likely, he said, overnight. We kindly agreed with him and walked slowly to our cars, shaking our heads and mumbling that poor Ernie had finally lost it for good this time.

On the way home it hit me. An idea so good, so funny, and so likely to teach Ernie a lesson about his wild claims and schemes that I just had to do it. A couple calls later I had both Macs and Carls full support, we would meet at midnight for phase one of our plan. This one was sure to go down in the history of all time best pranks.

That night we took one of Carls Japanese black pines, one slightly more developed than Ernie's and quietly slipped over the fence that surrounds Ernies yard. It took us just a few minutes to make the switch and we were out of there in no time. Carl however ran back and jumped the fence once more. When he returned he simply said that he had to make a few modifications.

The next morning the phone rang at seven oclock sharp, it was Ernie, so excited he could barely talk. He was raving about his new fertilizer and how rich he was going to be, I could practically feel the spit coming through the phone. Once he calmed down, he said he was having an emergency meeting at his house that evening and made me swear secrecy on my bonsai that I would not tell a soul.

The meeting went as expected, the three of us just sitting there, Mac in a rain jacket, listening to Ernie tell us that he was going to be richer than God, cooler than Bates, have better bonsai than Walter Pall, and be world famous. We let him rattle on until he ran out of breath and spit and asked him about the long-term effects of the fertilizer. He proceeded to give yet another dose to the tree that he thought grew so much over night.

As we were leaving, Carl asked Ernie what was growing under his workbench. There laid a handful of rooted cuttings. Ernie screamed with delight, assuming that they were pieces cut off previously, which some of his wonder juice must have dripped on and caused them to root right on top of the ground. Now we knew why Carl went back last night.

That night and seven nights afterward Mac, Carl, and myself crept into Ernies backyard and switched bonsai, each time with one bigger and healthier than the last until he had a world class piece of bonsai stock sitting on his bench. Now keep in mind that Ernie firmly believed that this wonderful piece of stock was the exact same three-year-old pine he had first started experimenting on just over a week ago.

Well we had to stop him. We just had to; after all he was in the process of calling a press conference to announce his discovery. Needless to say, he didnt take to well to the truth; in fact he half killed Mac with those concave cutters before we could pull him off. When the police came, all they saw was a raving mad, drooling, man with a pair of cutters in each hand. They committed him the very next day.

That weekend we were sitting in my backyard, having a few beers and mulling over poor Ernies predicament when Carl got up and walked over to my growing bed. He just stood there for a long time before asking me what I had done with all the trees we took from Eddie when we switched them. I told him that I just plopped them in my growing bed on the odd chance that they would live.

After another bit of silence Carl quietly said, Boys, you better come take a look at this. There in my growing bed were the trees we swapped with Ernie all right, but they looked like they all put on about 10 years worth of growth in the last week.

At first we all thought that one of us was trying to rehash the gag but after carefully controlled experiments we came to the unmistakable conclusion that Ernie was indeed on to something big. A quick run to Ernies house and a fight to get past his overly mad wife who will most likely be committed next, and we had Ernies notebook and the remaining ten gallons of his fertilizer.

We called Ernie from his his house over the very loud objections of his wife to give him the good news, I'm not sure why but he went into some insane rage and got himself confined to the maximum security ward and really ruined his chances of getting out soon.

On the way out of Ernie's Carl noticed the strangest thing. Ernie's bench behind the garage had taken root and was throwing out shoots like crazy and the seedlings Carl had planted under the bench were wrapped around it as well, each of them at least four feet high with trunks as big as my thigh.

Well, to make a long story short, we marketed Ernie's juice under the name of Insanity Fertilizer and we graciously give Ernies wife 25% of all profits, so there is no real reason I should be feeling this guilt. Maybe its just the way this new S-Type handles the curves on this driveway?

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