Thursday, February 01, 2007

WMD - A Government Plant

I don't know if I should even be discussing this matter. It might prompt an onslaught of investigations by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the CDC and any number of other government organizations. In the interest of national insecurity, I feel compelled to open up about this delicate subject. If anything ever happens to me, this might help explain why.

Last week, I contacted a government agency in a clandestine sort of manner, clandestine in the sense that no one else at the time knew I did it. No one was eavesdropping on my call. I was alone. I was given an agent's name and pertinent communication data. I sent an electronically encrypted message via SMTP-AUTH code. My writing was clear and concise and I included digital images to further explain my query. No one witnessed what my message contained. He responded with some interesting information.

It turns out, I have been harboring a deadly plant. A ricin producing plant. I have been for years. Ricin is 6,000 times more poisonous than cyanide and 12,000 times more poisonous than rattlesnake venom. Imagine if my secret toxin got into the hands of al Qaeda or some other terrorist group. I shall do my patriotic best to avoid this type of scenario at all costs.

I own an ornamental castor bean plant. So said Special Agent Al Ferrer of the Seminole County Cooperative Extension Center. He warned that the "seeds are highly poisonous" and that "the fruit is typical of the plant family Euphorbiacea which includes the cassava, coral plant, poinsettia, etc."

Many years ago, a woman I worked with gave me one and said it was a coffee tree. It was a nice looking plant and drew many compliments. After a swift freeze, it was gone. History. Dead. Years later, my brother and sister-in-law gave me one. I don't think they remember where it came from, but they knew I used to have one. It was about 2 feet tall at the time and within a few years it has grown to 8 feet. I had no idea what it was, but I never thought it was coffee. For one thing, the plant doesn't look like one and the beans definitely do not look like coffee, either. It produces thousands of little green pods, each with 3 beans inside. After a while the pod suddenly dries up and it explodes, sending these little toxic bombs all over the yard. Fortunately, the grass is mowed or else I'd have hundreds of those rascals growing all over the place. In Florida, it was used primarily in landscaping for its unique beauty, but it has since been classified by the state as a nuisance weed, because of how it rapidly propagates. There's nothing illegal about it, since many other plants produce poisonous seeds and leaves, but it probably wouldn't be safe to grow around small children because they'll eat just about anything they can pop in their mouths. If swallowed whole, it more than likely wouldn't do much harm, but if chewed, look out. I think most kids would spit it out because of the taste if they bit down on it. It is a native of Africa and grows in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The entire plant is poisonous, but so is poinsettia. Should they be outlawed? Nah. I'm not afraid of keeping it around. I really like it. It's become my plant friend. There are no children in the neighborhood. Besides, there are a lot more pretty berries that could do the same damage if ingested. These beans look like blood-filled wood ticks - not appealing at all. How many kids like to eat those?

I don't know if I should register this plant with the FBI or not, but I don't think you ever want to make me angry. I might just invite you in for a cup of my specially brewed coffee. Now, if I could just ship my exotic espresso blend to some of those autonomous regions tucked away in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we might be able to win this war on terrorism. Better yet, maybe we could drop the pods from planes and wait for them to explode on their own. That'll fix 'em.

I'm waiting for the men in black suits to swarm all over my place, asking for help in spreading my own brand of WMDs - Weeds of Mass Deposit. I am here to serve, Mr. President.

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