Windenbrough Incongruity
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Back when I was young, I enjoyed some wild plants with simple marination of miso, gochujang, soy sauce and sesame oil, called "Namul". One may call it a Korean salad. It has never been my favourite, but it was enough to be a link to my countryside memories: memories of tripping in my pa's field and getting dirt in my mouth that sparked up when eating some salad as breakfast two weeks ago.

Crop fields are rare in this airborne city of Windenbrough. Still, the population had easy access to 'fresh' produce thanks to rapid air-to-ground transportation, which most likely included the lettuce I had this morning. However, I wouldn't call it 'fresh' since I know the liveliness of plants start to decay rapidly as soon as they are pulled away from the soil they grew in.

It would be best to grow their vegetables right here, on the floating island, to get the produce with all its liveliness, or actually fresh vegetables. I grabbed an onion lying around, cut it in half, and put it in a half-full porcelain cup. Porcelain was the best choice for me since it was a material closest to soil. The whole baking process might have changed it a little bit, but it sure must retain its soil-ness more than glass or plastic.

According to what I heard about farming when I was young, farming is the process of regulating a plant's size and nutrition, which depend on the soil it grows in and the amount of sunlight it gets. I was curious about how the plants here and on the ground are different if the same amount of sunlight shines. Petrology 101 taught me that human excrement is an excellent source of liveliness for plants, and fertilising it with various rocks such as goat gastrolith can remove its toxins. The plants we grew in my pa's field were grown with a mixture of artificial fertilisers and compost made of human faeces. At first, I was dubious of its effectiveness, but I now know how it helps plants.

While I was thinking about the difference between soils, besides fertilisers, I noticed that I was missing something essential. This place in the sky will get almost no energy from the ground. Nutrients, maybe, but this place cannot tap into the Earth's energy cycle, an evolutionary product created by billions of years of interaction between plant and soil. The Gaia theory suggests that plants have evolved to suck energy from Earth's crust as efficiently as possible, just like how a parasite tries to suck as many nutrients from its host. However, Windenbrough, albeit marvellous, is nothing more than a flake of Gaia's dandruff that humans artificially suspended in mid-air. Anyone who is anyone will know that this means plants are harder to get their liveliness, and this means theirs at a disadvantage. I pitied my onion that would die homesick.

The onion's roots grew vigorously towards the far-away ground despite my concerns. Sympathetically, I replaced the water in the cup with dirt. Two weeks passed, and that's how I met the talking onion sitting next to the window today.

This morning, I was mincing garlic for breakfast.

"You're terrible."

I looked out the window to check if someone had talked to me from outside.

"You. Yeah, you."

I jumped in surprise after realising that the harsh voice was coming from the onion right in front of me.

"You ruthlessly eviscerate one plant for consumption, and yet you keep another. Also, did you absolutely have to show the former to the latter?"

I asked the onion.

"How can you talk?"

"We can talk with our buds. We don't because we don't have to."

"Then why are you talking?"

"Because of your sympathy and pity, you gave me. That, and the incongruity of killing my brethren right in front of me."

'Did incongruity break the rules of nature?' I thought to myself.

"What should I do to get rid of this incongruity?" I asked the onion.

"Choose. Which will you pick?"

The choice must mean a choice of slaughter or mercy. Slaughter will mean dicing this poor onion and putting it into boiling water. Mercy will mean leaving this onion to grow, but that will mean no vegetables for me to prevent incongruity.

But the latter will mean no Namul, salads, or garnishes for steak for me ever again, a ridiculous scenario that I, a human, submitting to a mere vegetable. I pulled out my knife and pitifully but firmly looked at the onion.

"Good. That'll do." I heard a faint voice.

I pulled the onion off, chopped its roots off, diced it and put it in boiling water with a pinch of salt. I didn't hear any voices or screams.

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