Frank was a tree. Frank knew he was a tree because that’s just the sort of thing trees know. He was a big one too, somewhere warm. Frank could feel the world around him. He felt it in a way he never felt anything before and the only way he could think to describe it was, loud.
It’s in me! It’s damn in me, has been for weeks!
Frank heard it, or felt it, a voice. It was not a man, or a woman, it was a tree.
It will leave eventually, just grit your bark and bear it.
Don’t be that guy Bob, don’t be that guy who just changes idioms cause we’re are trees now, dammit bob.
Frank tried to butt in, excuse me?
I’m not being that guy! I’m making the best of it!
Bob Shut up! another tree called from somewhere in the distance.
Frank tried to make his voice louder, Hello! Guys?
Well, I think it’s important to keep positive.
What the hell is so positive about this Bob, a family of squirrels are crapping inside of me. Inside of me Bob!
Frank would have tensed or reddened with anger but, he didn’t, he was a tree. So, he yelled, WOULD SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON?
The other trees fell silent. Then, one spoke, softly.
Ah, a new one, sorry we’re all a bit fed up with being tre–
I’M NOT–I’m one with nature!
Shut up Bob! two or three of the other trees cried out.
Don’t listen to Bob. Being a tree sucks. You’re always cold, things crawl around in and on you and you can’t really see anything. You just have to sit and suck it up and listen to, well, mostly Bob. He was a dentist.
Frank could feel Bob, he was a couple trees to the left. Frank could feel his frustration.
Orthodontist, Bob growled.
Nice to meet you, Frank said, unable to think of anything else. They were right, he was cold–to the roots. Do, we–is everyone a tree?
Frank felt a collective sigh, Common question? Frank said, quickly.
Yeah, said one of the voices, I mean, when the wind is good we get some communications from other parts of the forest but it’s mostly just complaints. We’re all very bored–the worst kind of hell. You wouldn’t happen to know any jokes would you?
Frank tried to shake his leafy crown in response but just felt like staying silent for a bit. The other trees continued on with their complaining, occasionally berating Bob. One of them had some sort of rot, another had a woodpecker that amused itself all day, drilling holes. None of them spoke much about life before being a tree, Frank found himself understanding, there wasn’t a point. It was truly hell, no one wanted to remind each other of better times.
Then, one day, there came a sound. With it came a whistling wind of excitement.
The news spread through the forest like wildfire.
Oh come on baby, come on baby! Make me a book! Make me a house! Make me toilet paper, anything but a fucking tree!
All the trees called out their dreams and aspirations to be turned into a variety of buildings and household products. It sounded like begging, like crying, like the most desperate celebration on earth. Even Bob was calling out with the rest, I’m so excited I’ve got bark-bumps!
No one even told him to shut up.
Frank could only no-longer hear their exclamations as the sound of chainsaws filled the forest, like music.
**The last two episodes of “The Safest Summer Camp in the World” will finish this weekend.