By the light of the moon and the sun and the stars and torchlight or firelight or however there came to be light by which one can see that things exist, there stands a tree upon a hill. The size, shape, type and creed are practically irrelevant, as would this story be if people were the subject; it is equal opportunities irreverence. This particular wooden monolith would be deemed by tree surgeons, lumberjacks and their ilk as inconspicuous and unextraordinary, were it not for the fact that the tree behaved as though it were more than an anchored, ancient, organic denizen. The leaves themselves as intriguing as they already appear, had formed a small community; a microcosm in the macrocosm. Each branch of the tree seemed to have its own function, as one would expect the organs to work as found in the common or garden human. Each individual twig was treated as a subset of the branch on which it protruded from, and worked in order to provide whatever service was required of it so that the trunk could function and perform as is expected of a tree. The leaves then by extension, as that is indeed what they are, were the ones assigned the necessary tasks prescribed by the twigs as passed down by the branch as passed down by the trunk. Such as it was on one particular branch, trouble was brewing. Oh yes, for what and where would this story be without some sort of incident? Well it wouldn’t be anything or anywhere, and this may as well be a dissertation on trees, or merely some inane stress-fuelled, Tramadol induced musings on the potential apocryphal workings of trees.

However, I digress.

The Hindley’s Branch was specifically tasked with the tourism and catering aspect of the Anonymous Tree, as defined by the roles of the specific twigs: shop, restaurant, marketing, butchery, bakery, antiques, florists, fishmongers, furniture, and clothing. Quite what a tree needs with at least 99.99% of those departments is beyond the comprehension of all but trees themselves, yet nevertheless they exist, function and turn a profit all the same.

Each twig has separate entities extending from their respective extremities; commonly referred to by lay folk as ‘leaves’. These leaves in particular serve different functions depending on where they are assigned; obviously these leaves would have had a background in catering and hospitality or retail, else how could they possibly be expected to function the way that they should, and benefit the tree and the other leaves? Normally this wouldn’t be an issue unless the hypothetical situation occurred where that said leaf was automatically and unceremoniously left to make sure that every other leaf did as was bid by the incompetent incumbent.

As you readers of this story are bright, articulate and altogether handsome in face, you will have been able to see why this story has come about and where indeed this road is turning. Ordinarily the everyday Joe leaves would be more than able to accept having their knowledge and experience ignored in favour of someone with neither, but when that neither is coupled with arrogance, the only winner is high blood pressure.

So as an introduction to the story, that was adequate, if overlong.

One bright and breezy morning [we shall call him] Alan, started his shift as the sun came up. The day began as usual: he got a cup of coffee, tied on his apron, opened the doors, and fluttered in the wind. As the sun fell upon his green and veiny skin, he began to convert the suns energy into chemical energy, and released his waste oxygen into the atmosphere. This was standard behaviour and practice, and he signed his name off on the jobs list to signify that it had been completed successfully. There was a new fellow joining the ranks [we shall call him] Charles, and he was new and inexperienced in the ways of the business. His secondary job (primary being photosynthesis) was to make pie fillings, and press them into pastry ready to be baked and sold to customers. Due to a lack of training, Charles had not been shown or trained how to create a certain type of pie, and so it had been decided by the retail management team that they would buy the pies in from an external source so as to still be able to offer something to customers wanting this particular variety.

Working alongside Charles was a gentleleaf we will call Paul, for that was his name. Paul was very proud of the fact that he served in the military. Now serving in the military is a very noble and honourable vocation and should be commended, however when one spends their time sticking out as foliage from a tree, it really actually doesn’t even mean anything. So the sweeping statement was swept away with due haste, and the story continues. Paul works alongside Charles but has no authority over him nor any of the retail staff or in fact anybody at all in any way. This often leads to friction thanks to his delusions of grandeur. This bright and breezy day found Paul to be in a somewhat fouler mood than usual, owing in no small part to him misplacing his communications device. Paul was now unable to focus on his normal duties, so he decided to try and show Charles the basic way of making the pies he was unable to make.

“Hark Charles, thou must heed well my words and behold in majesty my methods, for it has not ever yet been seen before to create such produce in such wondrous fashion.”

“Ok Paul. However, both you and I are busy doing other things right now, things that probably should take priority.”

“Insolence! Who are you to speak in this way to me? Do you not know that it is written that Paul is master of all and none can face him? Question him not, for to test Paul shows a lack of faith.”

“This does not quite seem like logic.”

“It is logic, for I have spoken it. Lo! It be so.”

Unfortunately for Alan at around this time, the order he had placed had arrived, and to reach Alan, the pies had to pass past Paul and Charles.

“#%$#@*! *$#~@! #%$£%!!*@~ &** #?@£$!# &%^+$$”

“Sorry Paul, I didn’t quite catch what you said there.”

“This is the worst thing that has ever happened in the history of the known world and universe. Why have you, Charles, a man who makes pies if we are to buy the self-same pies from an external source!?”

“Yes Paul I understand this, but at a time when I am in no state or situation to produce them, we may as well have them here by some method in order to fill the gap whilst I do make them.”

“This logic is not comprehensible because I am already enraged and any further proof of how wrong and foolish I look will only serve to pique my anger, and cause intense fury to rain down upon all with the force of a thousand suns, in order that I may smite those who worship false idols!” And with that, Paul turned on his stalk and sought out someone with whom to share his fury and opinion. As luck would have it, the aforementioned incompetent incumbent was so very spineless and stupid and quick to believing every opinion that meant somebody else was trodden down and belittled. This was a mutually beneficial relationship as Paul needs his ego stroking like a cat needs stroking: constantly and unconditionally.

So here he was ranting and raving like a buffoon, not allowing anyone else to get their opinion across for fear of being shouted down. Much easier to ignore and agree than argue back and face his wrath, which so suited Eleanor because now she could believe that if she was to act on his fanatical vitriol then she was serving the tree and someone almighty to the point where this would win her much favour with a leaf she was too scared to contradict. Fear and panic were rife, and as she saw an iota of truth in what he said, and agreed with the principle, the bigger picture was ignored in its entirety, because the bigger picture would see her face retribution at the hands of the lunatic.

Action was launched. Paul skulked back from whence he came to watch what was going to unfold. Eleanor, buoyed by her misplaced idolisation of Paul and the approval she hopes to gain from him, stomped her mighty self over to Alan to confront and insult him.

Poor Alan was standing open-mouthed and quite in shock at what had transpired. His brief was merely to provide a service to customers, and in all, helping out all departments. The cost to the business was minimal, yet was guaranteed to bring profit and customer satisfaction. This simple act had cost him the respect of those in charge and those who believe that it is they, not words that are mightier than the sword. Alan was ridiculed and torn apart. His remains were scattered for all to see in a carnal orgy of mindless bloodshed. Brutalised and shattered, his final prayer was that to the wind:

“Oh Great Wind, the one who gives us movement, please hear my prayer. I am but a simple leaf, I live a good life, I want for nothing. I have been wronged in the most outrageous way. In order for Karma to succeed, you must sweep yourself in and wipe out those destroying the tree. Only this way will the trunk be strong and healthy and its future secure. With a healthy, happy tree comes great oxygen, and through oxygen you yourself exist, and bring life to all and everything else surrounding. This is all I ask. Amen.”

Alan’s prayer should be answered, we pray for it to be answered. Not just so that the wrongs are corrected in this microcosm, but so that we, as the softly spoken and the meek that we are can inherit the earth. It is time that bullying and terrorism – for they are one and the same – are stopped.

© Kris Blackburn 23/01/13


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