As I wandered up the creek towards home I spied an enclave of the enemy. A score or more of them forging some upstart principality within our space. Unfortunately for them, I was armed. A few thrusts, some turns of the spade, and they were face up, roots pointing to the sky, and I was singing Silverchair’s Pure Massacre to myself as I turned my back on them and walked home for the night.

The war on weeds is never-ending in this place. This particular enemy I call the crown of thorns, after its resemblance to the starfish, and its nasty thorns – handle with extreme caution. Our principle foe is blackberries, tenacious bastards that know no sleep … well, they’re everywhere and hard to kill. Their roots grow long and deep.

The day after my spontaneous raid on the incursion, we were burning the remains of some fallen blackberries in one of the fields. As I turned the fire with my garden fork – which happened to be handy and free of wood – I spied what must have been the king of all crown of thorns. So, my weapon hardened in the flames of my foes’ funeral pyre, I went out to kill the king.

It tried to mock me with its size, intimidate me with its lengthy spikes, but it is after all a plant, and I can move so the advantage was all mine. I stabbed below its base, pushed the tines deep and pushed down. The power of Archimedes’ levers was with me and the mighty weed rose from the earth, defeated and doomed. Several lesser crowns were nearby, they too tasted upheaval.

The king was dead. I turned my back on its remains and walked back toward the house, the smoke of blackberry embers still rising from the field. But out there, somewhere, I know there’s another weed calling out – the king is dead, long live the king. The war goes on.

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