Fantasy, General Fiction, Short Fiction

Poppyseed and the Flower Power: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical By Leila Allison

Poppyseed was an orange Rufous Hummingbird, who was as aggressive and single-minded as they come, until he flew over a burning field of “wildwood weed,” one afternoon, during the annual two-thousand mile migration. Something in the drifting smoke asked “Why must you always be in such a rush, little friend–Have you never been mellow?”

The rest of the flock had avoided the field, but Poppyseed was known for his individuality and recklessness. He alone had flown above the pungent blue smoke, and he alone found himself perched on a weather vane atop an old barn, with no memory of lighting there, wondering why he had never been mellow.

Under normal circumstances, such a dipshit question would have enraged Poppyseed. But that was before a new philosophy had edged into his cut and dry, now! now! now! personality. What’s it all about? Poppyseed thought, watching the rest of the flock zoom into the distance.

“It’s about peace, love and harmony…seeking oneness with the Universe, my busy little friend,” said a human Spirit that suddenly appeared on the barn’s rooftop. The ghost had long lank hair which flowed below the brim of a floppy hat. He was wearing sunglasses that had round yellow lenses, striped bell bottom pants, sandals, several strings of beads–and if Poppyseed had known anything about human politics, and could read, he would have recognized the face of Richard Nixon on the tee-shirt the Spirit wore, with the words “What me Worry?” printed below Tricky Dick’s cartoonish visage.

“Do peace, love and harmony taste good?” Poppyseed asked. “I like aphids and honeysuckle myself.”

The Spirit laughed softly and removed his sunglasses. Poppyseed saw strange images take shape and melt in the ghost’s kaleidoscope eyes. Psychedelic colors and paisley fractal flows… and he could hear music. If Poppyseed had known anything about 1960’s pop music, he’d have recognized Incense and Peppermint as lip-synched by Strawberry Alarm Clock on The Ed Sullivan Show. And there were visions… Hundreds of young people of various races standing in a field, single file, hands joined…all singing the praises of a god called Coca-Cola…then a man standing out of doors in buckskins with a feather in his hair…a single tear falling from his eye…

The wind had shifted during Poppyseed’s vision quest, and the blue haze cleared from the area of the barn. Thus Poppyseed’s intense, light’s speed metabolism had time enough to process and eject the remaining effects of the wildwood weed smoke as though it had never been breathed. Poppyseed immediately glanced in the direction the flock had gone and calculated that he could catch up to them after only a few minutes on afterburners.

The Spirit sensed the change in the Hummingbird’s attitude and tried one last sales pitch. “No, no, little friend. That is the old way…the way of the establishment…”

“Could you be more useless?” Poppyseed said. Although he had little patience with, and even less time to speak to any of the human ghosts that all creatures can see, he felt obliged to break a talon off in this fool’s ass. “‘Have you never been mellow’? ‘Harmony with nature’? ‘Why rush’? It’s like this–mellow, laid back Hummingbirds wind up as lunch for cats and stoats. Get a job, goddam hippy.”

And Poppyseed zoomed off to rejoin the flock.

THE AMORAL: And a haircut while you’re at it.

Leila Allison

6 thoughts on “Poppyseed and the Flower Power: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical By Leila Allison”

  1. Hi Leila,
    Okay – Transparency and all that!!
    But I’m trying to add a wee bit on.
    However when I read my comments, they normally stick. I could go back into your story and find so much more to mention but I kind of like ‘first thoughts’.
    The complexities of your stories could take me a hundred different ways but I think there is something ‘reactive’ about first reactions.
    So what I will do to add something to this comment is to tell you that I’m listening to ‘For Those About To Rock’ by ACDC – They are a band and also Led Zepplin that I have actually appreciated more as I’ve got older. ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ and ‘Black Dog’ are now up there in my LIST of favourites!!!
    No more shite and just my initial comments with a wee addition….

    What a way to finish (Hopefully not) but with a nod to a times they are a changing.
    I think that there are always new ideas every now and again throughout history but the status quo and establishment survival sadly prevails.
    I thought the line about the old and the new is clever as this all depends on when you look at it. The ghost mentions the old ways but in these days, his ways are the old ways. But we know that radical ideals are organic. Whether they will ever stick or always die out or be killed off, I’m not sure. Even more sadly, the establishment has always won through.
    Using the wee birdies metabolism to clear his head was also very clever and him coming to ‘his senses’ was a bit sad. But what a cracking metaphor for us all having to pay the bills. (Did I find a metaphor where there was one – Probably not!!)
    I wonder if the ghost was the representation of the whole Hippy movement or was he all Michael Lang? I suppose one is the same.
    Liked the nod to Hendrix’s feather boa (Or hat) a wee sneaky reference to ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamond’ – One of their best.
    This also made me think what version I enjoyed most. I wish I was a purist and loved the original Joni Mitchell version but I think she sounds a bit ropey. I’d also like to choose Crosby, Stills And Nash (Don’t think Young was there then) but no – My favourite is the more melodic ‘Matthew Southern Comfort’s’ version.
    I think this is the shortest story that you’ve ever submitted but again there is a complexity and the ideas and images come thick and fast. I know that every time I look, I’ll find something else.
    And I’m now in the mood to listen to some Iron Butterfly!!!!
    …And to watch ‘Silence Of The Lambs’!


    1. I believe I would have tried the hippy experience except I think I would have had a tough time listening to Jane Fonda and Timothy Leary. Paul McCartney recently quoted saying John and Yoko were naive with No More War. About swallowed my tongue. Maybe it was out of context, yet for Mr. Love Song it seems cynical at best.

      A worked with an older rocker who saw ACDC when Bon Scott was the singer. He considers ACDC his two favorite bands because he liked “the new guy.” Ah, where have you gone Wavy Gravy?

      Thank you as always.


  2. Thank you, David.

    One great thing about that era was it’s music. It was a bit before me, but I really like the stuff. Sadly, I doubt that people will find today’s music all that interesting fifty years from now.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have so much ’60s psychedelia on my computer – Jefferson Airplane / Starship (named a story The Other Side of This Life), Hendrix, C,S, N and sometimes Y (Keep On Rocking In The Free Wprld), Fly Like An Eagle. Yes, Strawberry Alarm Clock. Even Elvis did “Edge Of Reality”

    Fly Like A Humbird off my yard you dang hippie.

    Humbirds not common here so we relish their appearance

    Liked by 1 person

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