The dandelions grew overnight. Before night the defrosted lawns, soggy with March rain, were all crabgrass and clover. In the depths of wee hours, when a cricket sang beneath heady sky, the dandelions were born. The jagged bitter leaves sprouted with astringent vitamin from the straight, gnarly root underneath. Magic brought the milky stem and bud. The sun set off a reaction and the fuzzy bulb unfurled into a yellow pollinated dome.
The lawns were covered. Splotched with pointillist yellow wonder, the green squares of lawn provided background for the Neo-impressionist Mother Nature. She splecked some violets in with the yellow to remind us who actually invented complementary colors. The morning dew clung to the blades of grass like man atop Everest. It smelled like smooth silk.
He was apprehensive of the yellow flower at first. He was told it was a weed. Detrimental to the health and well being of a suburban lawn.
The girls would smoosh the flowers into their noses, an Eskimo Kiss of youth. They would brandish their yellow noses and giggle and chase him around. He preferred to wait. Wait until the first birth of the white crowns of dandruff seed, when the flowers completed their mission.
The resilient beast is not as tasty as clover. He learned this sifting across the boulevard, watching ants clamor trough the crooks of bark on giant elms. Searching for the elusive four leaf clover, he found wonder in miniscule nature; slugs, centipedes, earwigs, roly-poly bugs … he was the urban entomologist of lacking stature. Chewing the flora, grinding it between his molars the entire time.
He seldom found a lucky clover, but was paid five cents for each uprooted dandelion. He would grab the base with nimble fingers then twist and pull like he was a pro corn husker. The root would give and he would toss the corpse onto the sidewalk where ants warred between the cracks.
As the pile of corpses grew and the wind blew the heavy part of the day away, he sat in the shade. He was pushing dirt into an anthill and watching the systematic removal of granules by worker ants. His sister yelled out that it was dinnertime and he rustled together. He picked up each flower and detached the flower from the rest of the plant, discarding root and leaves into the gutter. He carefully gathered the drooping heads of dandelions together, counting as he went. He took the bunch, bounded up the stairs and into the warm kitchen.
"22 dandelions!" He exclaimed. "One dollar and ten cents please." requesting, thrusting his free hand out and holding the bouquet of dandelions near his ear.
His mother wrapped her palm around the bouquet and plucked it from his hand with out saying a word, simultaneously draining the potatoes. She tilted her head and smiled at him, taking a glass and filling it with water. She put the drooping sad bunch into the glass and told him,
"Thank you for the flowers. If you want to get paid, you have to bring me the roots."