CHAPTER FOUR – A Basil in Phoenix (Phoenix, Arizona)
A Basil in Phoenix
Easy Joe, Vanessa, Jerry and Jali left San Diego and headed to Phoenix, Arizona. Jerry looked out the window and imagined seeing all the wonderful things that Rafi had told them about. Jali was quiet and nervously brushed through her leaves as they ventured on.
‘Jali?’ said Jerry after watching her for a while.
‘Yes?’ she asked and turned face to him. She tried to smile, but Jerry could see she wasn’t as cheerful as she had been.
‘Are you sad Jali? he asked.
‘No’ she said, I’m just a little…. worried.
Jerry could not imagine a thing in the world to be worried about. He pressed Jali further.
‘Worried about what, why I can’t think of one thing.’
‘About you, about Easy Joe! Every time you meet someone new, they mistake you for some marijuana plant and that could be dangerous. You have such wonderful power. You can do so much good with your healing and helping powers but not if everyone always thinks you’re something that you’re not.’
‘Maybe they won’t ever get to know you… like I have’ finished Jali.
Jerry blushed and reached his leaves toward Jali for a hug.
‘Don’t worry Jali, I’m going to meet as many new plants and people as possible and once they get to know me, why, they’re sure to accept me!’ said Jerry.
Jali smiled then because she knew it was true.
The little plants looked out the window and saw terrain that looked just like their home.
‘Look how beautiful it is here… It is like my pueblo!’ said Jerry and Jali.
Easy Joe pulled Vanessa over in front of a small house in a quiet neighbourhood. He took Jali and Jerry in his right hand and got out of the car.
‘Easy Joe Hippie! Easy Joe! I’ve been waiting for you!’ shouted a woman.
Jerry turned to see a curvy, olive skin woman in her late 50s. With a warm smile and baggy clothes, she looked incredibly happy to see Joe.
‘Oh, Meg, Hi! Long time no see. I’m sorry I haven’t been around for so long!’
Easy Joe laughed and showed Meg Jerry and Jali.
‘Check these out. These are my little buddies from Mexico. This is Jerry and this one, this little lady is Jalisco but…. Jali for short. They seem to be very fond of each other, so I keep them together.’
‘They do make a lovely couple!’ Meg chuckled. She led them all toward the front door of the small house.
‘Now come on in! You can put your plants on the back porch, where my nosy neighbours can’t see em.’
The door opened and a flood of smells washed over them. The smell was of plants and flowers, good and sweet smells, familiar smells and foreign alike. In every corner of the house, there were plants – in shapes, sizes and colours neither Jerry nor Jali had ever seen.
Easy Joe walked through the door to the porch and gently placed two pots in the middle of a table and said.
‘Now be nice and quiet and hang out here you two…. this isn’t the best place to go exploring.’
Jerry and Jali didn’t mind at all. They like to spend time together. They looked out at the sun and enjoyed a warm, soft wind.
It was around evening when Meg and Easy Joe opened the door to the porch and came out with two new plants.
‘I’m telling you, Easy Joe, I got these two beautiful basils. They are from the same mother, but you would never know it.’
‘Look at them’ Meg placed both the plants on the table. ‘One of them is strong and so beautiful, I’ll have no trouble when it comes time to harvest. While this one, no matter how hard I try, he will not respond to anything I do. He’s impossible.’
‘Impossible isn’t a word I expected to hear from the Queen of Plants!’
‘I don’t know if you can even still call me that, I’m losing my touch and this basil will die soon if something doesn’t change.’
Jali and Jerry exchanged looks and smiled, maybe Jerry could help this basil plant too.
Easy Joe and Meg went back inside to talk and before long, the warm day had turned into a warm night.
Jali spoke first
‘Hello basil plants’ she said. We are happy to meet you.’
One plant stood straight and tall, while the other was limp and flabby. The stronger plant looked them both up and down and then spoke.
‘Humph, I can’t imagine how the likes of you two happened to arrive here, of all places’ Marijuana and Alcohol… humph. What IS the world coming to?’ he whispered to the other basil plant.
‘My name is Jerry and I’m not marijuana, I have healing powers maybe I can…’ began Jerry, but the first basil interrupted him.
‘I am Harold basil and this little wilt is my twin brother Henry and I can only imagine what sort of help you offer. Shoo! Shoo away! We certainly don’t need you’
Jerry moved closer to Henry, ignoring Harold.
‘Like I said, I have healing powers maybe I could help you feel better’ stated Jerry.
The weak little basil cowered in his pot.
‘Don’t come any closer. You may have pests or fungus… You could destroy all the micronutrients in my soil!’
Henry began to fret.
‘Don’t you understand how dangerous everything is. I’m so anxious. I’m so nervous. I could be overwatered any day, or maybe I may not get water in days and dry out! Have you noticed how hot the sun is lately? It burns my sensitive leaves. The pests… the pesticides! I can’t even think about it!
‘Henry, maybe I can help…’
‘Don’t speak so loudly! The moisture coming from you may destroy the balance of my micro-climate!’
‘Okay.’ said Jerry and he spoke softer. ‘Meg has brought me here to give you a special medicine.’
Henry looked at Harold who shrugged.
‘Well… I hope it will be something that strengthens my fibres!’
Jerry handed him some flowers and seeds and the two began a sesh. After a couple of moments Henry looked at Jerry.
‘I don’t know about this…. I think I may be allergic!’ and Henry began to panic.
‘You are not allergic!’ stated his twin brother as he rolled his eyes. ‘Finish all the medicine that Meg has suggested.’
Time passed by, and Henry became quieter and quieter. When he was done, he sat in silence for a few moments and then smiled.
‘I feel lovely.’ he said calmly.
‘What do you mean?!’ asked his brother looking him up and down.
‘I mean, I’m not anxious anymore. I don’t feel so worried…. I feel wonderful. I feel calm and relaxed….and… and … and without all that fear, I feel like I could do anything.’ I could grow as proud and strong as you my brother if I tried.’
Jerry, Jali, and Harold sat watching in amazement as Henry stretched and grew.
Jerry gave Henry some flowers and seeds to nourish and grow.
When Meg came back later to collect her basil plants, she noticed how perky Henry looked and smiled. Maybe I am the Queen of Plants she thought as she looked down. Her little dying basil suddenly looked lush and beautiful.
‘Unless you two had something to do with this?’ She looked directly at Jerry and Jali and then disappeared back into her garden. Harold and Henry called out their thanks and promised to tell everyone about how truly magical Jerry was.
Over the next few days, while Easy Joe hung out at Meg’s house, Jerry and Jali were introduced to all the most prestigious plants in the garden. Everyone had heard about Jerry and his healing powers and they were eager to get to know him and share his story.
Easy Joe came to visit often with new soil and water but one day he came to pack them into Vanessa. ‘Soon, guys, we will be headed to Colorado my friends’
Easy Joe said goodbye to Meg and started to walk away when she started shouting.
‘Easy Joe! Wait! Wait a sec!’
Meg ran into her house and returned with a little basil plant.
‘I wanted to you to have this guy. Since your little Jerry and Jali came to hang out in my garden, all my struggling plants seem to have gotten better…stronger. I think you should keep him…. As a reminder to come back and visit me.’
Joe warmly smiled and thanked Meg.
He put Jali and Jerry in their regular spot and placed Henry the basil right next to them.
‘I can’t believe it said Henry. I just can’t believe that I will get to come with you all!’
Easy Joe took his place behind the steering wheel and looked at his plants.
‘Well guys, we have one more stop, and then we will be at home in Colorado!’
Joe started the engine, and they all travelled on.