Cleopatra (yes, that Cleopatra), is quoted as saying, “All strange and terrible things are welcome, but comforts we despise.”
When it comes to life in general, I’m not sure I can agree with her. I like comfortable. I like easy. I prefer not to have terrible things happen.
I have to admit, however, that I tend to lean toward the strange. My little world is filled with oddities.
For example, in my herb garden I have an unusual plant called Egyptian or Walking Onion.
It’s an actual onion, but not terribly useful as an onion. It costs more time than it’s worth to harvest and peel the actual onion bulbs from it, though I do use the greens like scallions.
The plant grows narrow leaves and large 3-foot-tall stalks. It’s at the top of these stalks that the onions form, something like a head of garlic with 10 to 20 tiny onions all clumped together. Each of these tiny onions puts out a small leaf and flower stalk of its own. It’s called a Walking Onion because as the thick stalk dries and grows top-heavy from the bulb of tiny onions at its top, it bends and topples over, leaving the bulb of onions in contact with the ground. Left to its own devices, that onion bulb will root into the soil, and a new plant will grow, repeating the process, propagating new plants farther and farther away from the mother plant.
I’ve also grown fuzzy tomatoes, striped beets, kohlrabi, dragon-tongue beans, and dozens of other things most people either haven’t heard of or didn’t know you could grow in a home garden.
But I don’t think Cleopatra is talking about life in general, or about gardening.
I think she’s talking about fiction. We love the strange and terrible in the stories we read, watch, and listen to. This explains the popularity of Stephen King, campfire stories, comic books, Stranger Things, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek (“… strange new worlds…”).
We read a lot of strange stories at Flash Fiction Online. This month we have four of the strangest.
Apes companions and angsty superheroes and aliens obsessed with the number three and a woman who wants to be buried alive.
We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.