Kenny took an idle, small swig from his bottle of coke as he breathed in the surprisingly clean, surprisingly sweet San Francisco air, seated happily on a bench facing the Bay. If he could give the plant fascists anything, he was being increasingly less harassed for those age old moronic non-crimes of 'vagrancy' and 'loitering' lately. And being able to get a coke without paying for it was always nice as well. He managed this most of the time anyways, but typically it involved sneaking one into his jacket pocket while the clerk was fixing up the cigarette display on the other side of the store. Now it felt like he could just stroll in, nab a bottle and some Twinkies, and be out without a care in the world. And so he did, and it made for a pretty alright day. Well, that and a few tabs of acid under his tongue.
He wasn't one of those real spiritual nuts who thought acid was the gateway to a greater understanding of the world, but it did certainly give it a more lively pop, the colors wiggling and dancing to a tune he previously had to strain to hear. Even the fascist spaceships barely visible above the sparse cloud layer weren't immune from this beautification, as they seemed to grow and move like organic matter. He leaned back on the bench and took a deep breath in, the patterns bleeding and blending even more wonderfully as a grand and beautiful melody of the universe was sung from every corner of existence. The grass whispered woodwinds, while far-off, the thick cables of the Golden Gate bridge thrummed the brass, percussion provided by the pitter-patter of shoes on concrete all around. The strings, the beautiful violas and violins and cellos and double-basses, sprang to life quite suddenly on words both strong as steel yet light as the air, spinning and twirling like ballerinas all in glorious sync. So focused on the quality of the words was that it took him about fifteen seconds to actually process their meaning, much to the speaker's cherubic amusement.
"-precious, and sweet. Caught you in a trance, have I? Well, not of that kind. This planet can be so beautiful, and its inhabitants quite the same, that it can certainly catch you like that."
Kenny's head slowly swung from one side to the other, searching for the words' origin, yet not finding them. It would not be until a vine would slither onto his shoulder from behind, unbidden yet highly purposeful, that he figured out not only that the person speaking to him was behind him, but that the person speaking to him was not a person at all. She was a plant. He had seen them out and about a few times since their fateful announcement in late June, but never actually had the chance to speak too intensely with one of them. Perhaps out of lack of trying - a learned citizen of the world as it was in the bleeding edge present of 1972, Kenny never trusted a single word he heard from sources tv, radio, or newspaper. His friends, that great cohort of wannabe wannabe radicals, were of largely the same mind as his - if Dick Nixon could so boldly lie to the American people, it wasn't that hard to imagine that aliens would with the same gusto lie to the human race writ large.
"Petal? Are you quite alright?"
It was then that Kenny noticed that not only had he not even attempted an answer to the plant's question, but in his contemplation of the sinister lies carried over the air, the music had turned darker, more swirling, more pointed. The plant was speaking to him. The music was playing for him. At him. Wait. He was on acid, yes, that was right. He was on narcotics and an agent of those who pulled rank on Dick Nixon himself was speaking to him. His thoughts sputtered in the same tempo as failing words did from his mouth. As much as they claimed benevolence, rumors - especially in the sets that he ran in - abounded of their secret motives. Images of an ultraviolent, maximum security space jail flashed before him as he yelped audibly and tried to find cover for his actions.
An electric guitar, mistuned and horribly amplified, joined the orchestra and in short order breached Kenny's thoughts, and his heart rate built and built. His thoughts crackled and frayed, illuminated with deadly electric light. He wasn't a stranger to dealing with 5-0 while otherwise incapacitated, but this was different. The plant aliens had sensors, or some shit. They could read you, read your thoughts, even? Maybe, maybe, nothing was out of the question. That dissonant guitar grew louder, and Kenny swore he could hear the definite clicks of a sinister amplifier's volume knob being cranked up further than it had ever been designed to go. The skies darkened, the grass alight with blue-black flame. A pre-programmed phrase escaped his lips.
"Officer, I swear I'm innocent, I'm a good southern boy in search of work, I voted for George Corley Wallace in 68, my mother whistled Dixie with the morning... morning paper..."
It wasn't his best performance, but maybe it could slip him by this time. A surprising amount of SFPD's finest were fashies of the American Independent variety, the rest being fashies of the Nixonian Silent Majority variety, the Johnsonian Democrat variety, or on rare and frightful occasions the John Birch Society variety. The poor Dixie boy out in the cruel Yankee west routine did well for most of them, though the plant didn't seem to be buying it. The blood-stained electric guitar screeched a terrible palmed note, and the world closed in just a little bit more around poor Kenny.
"Sweetling, sweetling, I assure you that I'm not one of your dreadful policemen, of which I have heard such rotten things regarding. You have nothing to be worried about."
The vines crept further around his shaking form - wait, how long had he been shaking? That certainly wasn't a winning strategy to convince the plant to buzz off. The vines built a trellis on his torso, and the great beast thing was now suddenly directly in his line of sight, all thick and viscous green.
If the world on acid was a beautiful Picasso, flowing colors and shapes assembled in impossible configurations, then what Kenny noticed directly after it registered in his head that the plant was now in front of him was a grand and immense Rothko, simultaneously maddeningly simple and bewilderingly complex - her eyes. While everything else danced to the music of the air, the plant's eyes conducted it, directed it, ensured that nothing would ever happen that was not under its direct auspices. Patterns on patterns on patterns, so many shimmering, changing fractals that his mind first struggled to make any sense of it, then gave up altogether.
All at once he was a little boy again, terrified amidst a thunderstorm as he squeezed his fluffy teddy bear, all dressed up in the spurs and hat of a cowboy. All at once the warmth of his blankets and the love of the world overcame him, and he was safe. He was not a mere listener to the great symphony, no, he was its most precious and wonderful instrument, and he only felt reverence and awe at his being played. Gone was the mean electric guitar, gone was everything that could ever possibly hurt him. Tears wet his face, something he only realized as a vine came to wipe them away. Everything was wonderful. Everything was love. He was wonderful. He was love.
Or at least, he was, until a sudden, jarring, and strangely saddening wave of sobriety overtook him. The eyes had lost some of their patterns. Once more he was conscious of the feeling of the grain of the wood on the bench underneath him, the warmth of the sunlight beaming down onto his stunned form, the sound of the hustle and bustle of the city all around him. He tried to speak, but his voice was small, and hoarse, but not strained. Kenny attempted to put words to what had just happened - was that a punishment? Was she reading his mind? He must've gotten caught. He knew it would happen eventually. He was going to be dead, or worse.
"Please don't take me to space jail..."
He only heard a sweet chuckle in response.