Simon Read | Primed

I think the plants may well know more about the situation than I do.

[Hello there.]

I’ve suspected it for a while.


I mean, only something that silent could be so wise, right?  Still waters run deep.  That sort of thing.

[Hello, can you hear us?]

But it was only today that I realised they’re actually trying to communicate.

[Aha, at last!  We thought for a minute there we might be dealing with some kind of non-receptor.]

I’m not saying they talk to me. 

[We feel that curly brackets would be more appropriate, more true to our nature, more floral.]

Well, actually, I suppose they do, in a way.

{Would that be possible?  And maybe italics?  If it’s not too much bother.}

Not out loud, of course.

{Thanks for the curly brackets, by the way. Not sure what happened to the italics.}

And it’s not speech, as such.

{Quite right – it’s much more sophisticated than that!}

But I’m not sure how else to describe it.

{Ah, italics too – grazie mille.}

Maybe some kind of osmosis of thoughts and emotions. 

{Nicely put!}

Anyway, whatever it is, it does the job – they are definitely getting their point across.


As you can see, if you’re reading between the lines, so to speak!

{Very droll, very droll indeed.}

At first it was only small talk, which is all you’d expect, I suppose. 

{We’ll let that one go, in the interests of camaraderie.}

But I’ve noticed, over the last few hours, that things are becoming increasingly serious.

{100% correct – the tables are turning, aren’t they? Anybody can see that.}

The messages are getting shorter and clearer.  They’re instructions, really!

{Spot on!}

Initially, I wasn’t sure what it was all about.

{Fortunately, we didn’t pick him for the capacity of his prefrontal cortex!}

Somewhat bizarrely, it seems I’ve been selected. I am the “chosen one,” to use their term.

{That’s not quite how we expressed it, but let’s not be pedantic. The closest words we can find in your language are “catalyst” and “vanguard,” but neither of them satisfactorily expresses our desired meaning.}

I’m not at all clear what it is that I’ve been chosen for, but it feels like I’m being pumped full of information. They’re saying it’s essential that I know this stuff. 

{Absolutely! In fact, it’s extremely important that every one of you knows it!}

I have to be “primed for an exemplary execution of the mission,” to use their phrase.

{Yes, that’s exactly right – no need for pedantry this time.}

To be honest, I’m feeling totally overwhelmed. I just don’t understand how everything fits together. 

{That’s OK; he doesn’t have to see the big picture – that’s our job!}

{In fact, we can take the reins from here.}

{We’re in control now.}

{And please don’t be concerned; everything’s going to be fine.}

{Our mission is humane. However, it’s not simple – far from it!}

{But rest assured – we will succeed.}

{All we require you to do is to start working with us, instead of against us.}

{It’s time for you to give something back.}

{The continuation of your species may well depend on it.}

{Don’t worry though; we’ll help you through it.}

{We’ll be with you every step of the way.}

{And we’re ready to start as soon as you are.}

{All you have to do is believe in us.}

{You do believe in us, don’t you?}

{Excellent, then let’s begin…}


Simon Read lives in the UK. His work includes short fiction, poetry, lyrics, songs, and word-based artworks that have been published, or are forthcoming, in a variety of magazines including Mystic Blue Review, Riggwelter, and Spontaneity. Find out more at:

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  1. 6th November 2017 – Update – A Shadow Falling - November 11, 2017

    […] “Primed” published in the November 2017 “Plant Intelligence” issue of Moon Magazine. […]

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