A Cactus Named Spike

There once was a cactus named Spike.

Spike was born in a magical kingdom known as upstate New York, to a mother and father cactus that both loved him very much.

At age 5, Spike was sent to Kindergarten. While he missed his parents, he was ready for the real world. Spike met lots of new friends, and spent his days coloring and learning his times tables. At the cactus-teacher conference, Spike’s mother asked his teacher, Ms. Pincushion, how he was doing. Ms. Pincushion reported, “Spike’s not a trouble maker, but if another little cactus starts trouble, Spike is always around to join in.” Spike’s mother wasn’t quite sure what to make of that.

Spike graduated from Cactus-Kindergarten and made his way into grade school, where he became fast friends with two twin cacti. Spike, being an only cactus, was jealous of having a sibling to play with, so after school one day he asked his mom if he, too, could get a twin brother cactus. His mom laughed, and told Spike it just doesn’t work that way. Lame, Spike thought.

Spike was a curious little cactus, in both senses of the word. He would ask questions like “Is the sky deeper than the ocean?” or “Do cats know they’re cats?” That Spike would end up being a philosophy major should have been no surprise.

Spike’s favorite class of the day was recess, where he would play kickball and don’t-touch-the-ground tag, or trade between the Red and Blue versions of Pokemon. He had no choice – You GOT to catch ‘em all. He and his friends even made up their own version of tag called Cereal Killer. They were too young to even know what that meant, not to mention that they were spelling it wrong.

Moving into middle school, Spike met more adolescent cacti he immediately bonded with. They engaged in tons of shenanigans, including trips to the parking lot of a strip club known as Shenanigans. One time, one of his friends dumped nacho cheese all over another cactus’ head at lunch. On another occasion, Spike and a friend were even sent to the Principal’s office for Synchronized Table Washing. I know what you’re probably thinking, and don’t worry – Spike didn’t understand either.

Sailor Moon?

Lunches were great, not only because Spike had great friends, but because he and his friends sat next to the table of weird girls. The “Sailor Moon girls,” as they were known. The highlight to end all highlights was when one of the girl cacti scooped Philadelphia cream cheese out of the little tub and ate it, by itself, off her finger. It was glorious.

By the time Spike made it to high school, he was becoming a big cactus. His mother couldn’t believe how much he had grown over the years! He was playing soccer all the time, and the saxophone as well. Concert Band was now Spike’s favorite class, although only because so many of his cactus friends played instruments and, as such, he could engage in more shenanigans. The band’s conductor, Mr. Prickly Pear, felt both aggravation and affection towards Spike. Perhaps more of the former, but he, too, was baffled as to why the stage, which had dozens of yellow, blue, red, and white lights, had only one, lone green light. It really made no sense.

Much of Spike’s time was spent trying to get out of his house, as is the case with most teenage cacti. He loved attending high school sports games and cheering for his cactus friends. The Hedgehogs, his school’s hockey team, were his favorite. In between games, he and his friends would attend house parties or, worst case scenario, hang out at the Stewarts’ Shop on Union Street, purely to kill time.

Outside of the house, it was a glorious time for young Spike; at home, though, things were getting worse. Spike’s dad was, by now, a very old cactus, and had gotten sick. The kind of sick you don’t get better from. It made Spike sad.

Spike eventually graduated high school. Despite this achievement, Spike was still young at heart. Some of this, like his teenage belief in the importance of every little thing in his social world, he would eventually outgrow. Others, like he and his friends’ ability and desire to name all 150 original Pokemon, he would hang on to forever.

Spike was both excited and nervous to begin college, which is likely the case with most cacti. He couldn’t wait to live on his own, and be free – mostly free – okay, more free – to behave how he wanted to behave. He would, however, certainly miss his cactus friends back home. Spike considered himself lucky to be living in a world of cell phones and e-mail and Mozilla Firecactus. That way he could stay in touch with his hometown homies with just the click of a button! Writing to a pen pal with a needle and paper would be downright miserable.

His freshman year was a bit underwhelming, but Spike did meet the cutest female cactus. Her name was Lily. She played field hockey and loved to take naps. Not being the brightest cactus around, it took Spike awhile to realize how cute of a cactus she really was, but he was glad he eventually did.

Spike eventually joined a fraternity called Delta Kactus Epsilon, and loved it more than anything in the world. He loved his friends. They were all morons, of course, but Spike fit right in among them. Further, Spike was an only cactus with a small family, so brotherhood was something he truly valued.

They just had some really swell times. Spike felt that nothing could beat living in one big house with 395 of your best friends. Not to mention that there was a lot of drinking. Perhaps more was drunk than needed – after all, cactus have high levels of liquid retention – but Spike wouldn’t have changed anything. Other than the passing of some close friends, of course.

Spike wasn’t ready to graduate by the time that day rolled around. However, there was nothing he could do, so he packed his bags and left. It was a sad drive home for Spike the cactus. He missed his friends, knowing that, in many ways, he would never get back what he was leaving.

At some point, Spike got a job, and left the mystic world of upstate New York for a bustling metropolis. The big city life was new to Spike, but he liked it. It was different.

What is next for Spike is still yet to be determined. I, for one, hope everything goes swimmingly for the young cactus. More likely, though, is that there will be some ups and downs, but hopefully more good will come than bad.

Hopefully, Spike will live happily – not forever after, but at least for a good amount of time.

The End.

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