I Died Therefore I am A SHORT STORY
By Danny Ninal
Copyright 2013 by the author (Danny Ninal) who retains the sole copyright to all the contributions of this book.
I DIED THEREFORE I AM A Short Story By Danny Ninal
trauss, are they c-c-c-cutting me now? Are th-th-ththey felling me now? Please, I d-d-d-don’t want to die…” brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr “Trish, don’t you worry. It’s not you. It’s not you.” brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr “Are you s-s-s-sure, Strauss?” Trish is now frantic, listening to the chainsaw noise which is becoming louder and louder every minute. “Look all around you, Trish. All trees around you have dead branches. The branches are likely to snap off and fly through the air, if you fall on those trees. These flying limbs are called widow -makers. Cutters avoid these. So if they cut you, the only logical direction of the fall is towards me. And they wouldn’t allow you to drop right on top of the most intelligent bench on this park. You feel me, Trish?” Trish wasquiet, unsure of what to say. “If they want to cut you, the first thing they do is to clear a working space around your butt and prepare an escape path. Then they do a brushing out, or clip off small brushes close to the ground,” Strauss explained with the clarity of a college professor. He continued, “But, they are not doing any of that to you. Understand? So don’t worry, they are not felling you. You feel me, Trish?” brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr For a moment her simple mind was trying to comprehend the complicated things on her head. She looked down. It was when she stopped trembling that she started shouting… ”T-t-t-t-t-t-twig g-g-g-g-gee-e-e-e-e-e-e!”
And they wouldn’t allow you to drop right on top of the most intelligent bench on this park.
You feel me, Trish?
Photos by Orlan Dalguntas
Photo by Orlan Dalguntas
Photos by Danny Ninal
he park is at its best in twilight. The crepuscular rays are radiating from the point where the sun is partially hidden between the trees in the park. And in contrast to the green leaves, the rays are turning imperceptibly from yellow to orange to red. “Look!” Strauss said. “Wow, Sir, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” Bob said excitedly like an 8-year old girl looking at her favourite Rilakkuma. Are you t-t-t-talking “Wait until the sun is right about my behind the top branch of b-b-b-butt again Trish.”
“Trish? Who’s Trish, sir?” asked Bob.
“That tall and beautiful tree right in front of me. She’s Trish,” said Strauss as if he’s introducing his girlfriend to his parents. “I h-h-h-heard that…. You’re t-t-t-talking about my b-b-butt again, Strauss.”
“Hi Trish, meet our new FB (friend-bench), Bob. He has just been installed this morning. No ribbon-cutting though, like they did to me.” “And I haven’t been peed by a dog yet.,..hahahaha Hello Ma’am, nice meeting you,” Bob’s laughter echoed throughout the park. Trish thought for a while, and carefully chose her words to the newbie, “Nice to m-m-m-meet you too, Bob.” she said, wondering what it is that looks very familiar.
Photos by Danny Ninal Model: Nehemiah Sarmiento
Photos by Orlan Dalguntas
â€œI died therefore I am.â€?
Photos by Orlan Dalguntas
sir, yes I believe I do.”
“Sir Strauss, why do trees grow so tall and still stand?” Bob asked while looking high up on Trisha’s top which was emblazoned by the orange clouds behind her.
“Do you th-th-th-therefore prefer to b-b-b-be where your roots are? Would you be h-h-hhappy if you’re reconnected, um, t-t-t-to your roots?”
“The answer is not up there, young one. It’s down below. You’re like looking at the right page number but on the wrong book.”
Yes, to both questions, Ma’am. I would really be happy.”
“What do you mean, sir?”
“For reasons I cannot say as of yet, can I ask your opinion about cutting trees?”
“Form follows function,” said Strauss.
“Sir, I think it is not the cutting that is wrong, it is the way they are cutting trees, that is not right.”
“You’re too intelligent for me, sir” “Roots, my man, roots. The answer is in the roots. They gather nutrients from the soil and they support the weight of the top growth of the tree.” Strauss explained.
“You’re not as dumb as I thought you are.” “Inexperienced perhaps, but not dumb, sir, no.“
“Some primary roots extend almost as deep as the height of the tree., Strauss continued his lecture, “And Secondary “feeder” roots often extend far beyond a tree’s drip line -the imaginary line around the tree where water drips off the perimeter of its canopy.
“I agree,” “That I am not dumb, sir?” “That, too. But I also strongly believe that if trees are made for something, a bench maybe, then the only way to make a wooden bench is to cut a tree.”
“What you c-c-c-can’t see, Bob” Trisha interrupted, “is that r-r-r-roots of trees are almost always, um, intertwined with e-e-eeach other,.”
“I die, therefore I am.” “Are you guys t-t-t-talking about my b-b-bbutt again?”
Bob thought about how strong a bond must there be between trees whose roots are intertwined. He can feel a deep sense of familiarity in that feeling. Something he can’t seem to figure out. Yet.
Both men winked at each other, smiling. “Good old oaks that we are know a good butt when we see one, bwahahaha.” “Strauss, you d-d-d-dirty old oak. I come from a well-bred f-f-f-family of cedars. Careful, th-th-th-there are young c-c-c-cedars all around.
“Are your actions, Bob, predicated upon your roots,” “If you’re asking whether I know my roots,
“Sir, can I ask you a question?” Bob whispered. “We would be sitting here for the rest of our lives, so we might as well get to know each other well. I feel you, man.”
Strauss, raised his hand to stop Bob from interrupting. “Then the other one stood up and went to Twiggee, walked around her, then pointed right at the spot where you are now.”
“I see a trunk cut and some widowmakers or dead branches which were snapped off not so long ago. What happened to the tree?” “Some story, that was. A long story that you don’t want Trisha to be reminded of.” “We have a lifetime ahead of us sir. You can start from the beginning.” “Three years ago, one summer morning, when the joggers were gone, and people start passing by, with coffee in one hand, and newspaper on the other, I still clearly remember those two people, with hardhats, stopped right in front of Trisha. They sat down and spread a huge sheet of paper, and started pointing all over the park.”
Bob, sat there quietly as Strauss continued his narrative, almost whispering to avoid Trisha from hearing it. “Then one stood up and went to Trish, then looked around her, pointed at the dead branches all around the other trees, then pointed at me, and then sat back with the other one.”
As he was walking back toward the other man, the guy took his radio and said something on it. I didn’t have to know what they were talking about because a few minutes later more people came, with ropes, chainsaws, and more hardhats.” This time, Strauss was short of breath, as if he was sobbing.
Photos by Danny Ninal
In the afternoon, more equipment came and more hardhats. The park was closed to the people, so I couldn’t hear anyone talking and the chainsaw was starting to sound really scary.
And his thoughts were back to that fateful day when they came to cut Twiggee.
“Earlier I agreed with you that there is nothing wrong with the cutting of the trees, but it is the way they are cutting it. That is wrong.”
“Trish shouted at me like it was the end of the world. Not that she was used to shouting, but so I could hear her amidst the noise of the chainsaw.”
“Yes, sir, indeed,” there is no stopping Bob from interrupting. “They have to plant new trees before they cut some. ”
“Strauss, are they c-c-c-cutting me now? Are th-th-th-they felling me now? Please, I d-d-d-don’t want to die…”
“Inasmuch as I believed the only way I will exist is for me to die first. Like I have to be born again.” “You sound like a minister sir, but yes, I agree.”
“In the mid-afternoon that summer day, the people stopped and sat down and ate their sandwiches.”
brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr “Trish, don’t you worry. It’s not you. It’s not you.” brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
“I have been here for years, and I never saw a new tree planted. Not one.” Strauss mumbled, “although I see flowers and gardens made in strategic places.”
“Are you s-s-s-sure, Strauss?” Trish is now frantic, listening to the chainsaw noise which is becoming louder and louder every minute.
“They are beautiful sir, I must admit.”
“Look all around you, Trish. All trees around you have dead branches. The branches are likely to snap off and fly through the air, if you fall on those trees. These flying limbs are called widowmakers. Cutters avoid those.
“Yes, but we are talking about cutting trees now, and the beauty of the flowers will never compensate for the cutting of the tree.” Bob was quiet, he was in deep thought. He started looking around… and shivered. “Was it a cedar sir, that they fell that day?”
“Yes, in fact it was a cedar. Why?” “Well, sir, I think I saw the trunk. That must be Twiggee.” “Yes,” Strauss sobbed softly, unabashedly.
So if they cut you, the only logical direction of the fall is towards me. And they wouldn’t allow you to drop right on top of the most intelligent bench on this park. You feel me, Trish?” Trish was quiet, unsure of what to say.
“If they want to cut you, the first thing they do is to clear a working space around your butt and prepare an escape path. Then they do a brushing out, or clip off small brushes close to the ground,” Strauss explained with the clarity of a college professor. He continued, “But, they are not doing any of that to you. Understand? So don’t worry, they are not felling you. You feel me, Trish?” brum-brum-brum-brum-brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
For a moment her simple mind was trying to comprehend the complicated things on her head. She looked down. It was when she stopped trembling that she started shouting… ”T-t-t-t-t-t-twig g-g-g-g-gee-e-e-e-e-e-e!” “Strauss, they’re c-c-c-cutting Twiggee. I’m f-f-f-feeling her roots shaking now.” That day there were no crepuscular rays radiating from the sun, but blood-coloured trunk and timber lying all around what used to be Twiggee.” Strauss saw tears, and knew Bob was crying. He didn’t stop him. He waited, just like what he’d do when people sit on him and cried ever so softly. Then after a while, Trish noticed, and said, “Bob, are you c-c-ccrying?”” “I know that was a sad story, Bob, But I didn’t realize it was so tragic that it made you shed tears. Oaks don’t cry man, they just sob.”
“Sir, I was treated three years ago.” “So?” “I am a cedar, sir” Both Trish and Strauss looked at each other, and almost simultaneously looked at the trunk when Twiggee used to be. All Strauss could say was a banality, “Welcome home, man.”
Photos by Danny Ninal
This story is dedicated to all the trees who had to die so that benches could be created for people to rest, think, read a book, and even for dogs to pee.. To those trees, I raise my right hind foot. No animals were injured in this story. The Author