Jasper landed, a whole flower petal smelling of extra sharp cheddar clutched in his beak. “Good Shit,” he muttered around the chunks he was greedily ripping from it. Susie looked at Lisa, one eyebrow lifted and a great big “I told you so,” written in her smile.
“Ok, Ok, you win….again.” Lisa laughed, looking at the birds of every description gorging themselves. The tree was covered with living, rustling color, and only one or two of the flowers remained. “I am sure that quite a few people would be laughing themselves sick to see this. Arborensis Lactosis sp. Fuekensis. They ARE in the Solomon Islands. Who’d have thought it?”
“Correction,” Susie chided. “IT is in the Solomon Islands. Only one. And the parrots eat it all, so there is no fruit.”
“Which explains why it only blooms once a year,” Lisa exclaimed. “Otherwise the birds would continue to gorge themselves, which would not be healthy at all!”
“Precisely,” Susie nodded, “and as it is completely natural, it does them no harm.”
“But since people generally think that if a little is good, then a lot must be better, what do you think we ought to do?” Lisa asked, as Sheba and Jasper regretfully swallowed the last of their unexpected bounty. The tree was bare of all but broad, glossy leaves now, and the parrots and assorted birds napped, one leg tucked up and contented beaks peacefully grinding away, buried in feathers along their backs.
“Say nothing,” Susie said. “We’ll just keep telling people that a little goes a long, long way. Otherwise, everyone will come to see it, some developer will buy it, and before you know it, there will be concession stands selling Tee Shirts and Cheese Hats and kids will be carving their initials in the trunk.”
Lisa nodded in agreement, and Susie put her hand to the camera bag, realizing tardily that she had forgotten to take photos of the entire spectacle.
They turned to make their way back into the forest, Sheba and Jasper drowsing with bulging crops on their shoulders. Susie suddenly stopped, crouching. Lisa and the guide turned, fearing she’d twisted an ankle.
“Not to worry,” she said cheerily, motioning them on, “I’ve got to tie my shoelace. I’ll be right there.”
They turned and headed back toward the forest ahead, as Susie fumbled with her shoelace. Satisfied they were no longer looking, she pulled a pin from her hair and gently loosened the soil around a nearly invisible twig. Two or three miniature glossy green leaves branched from its top. She rolled it in her handkerchief, and gently stuffed it in her cleavage.
“Awwwwriiigghtt” Jasper whispered. “Goooddd Shit!”