Joe walked into the botanical lab like he owned the place, the same way he entered anything. “Yo, Pete! What’s shakin’?”
Peter very nearly dropped his petri dish at the high-decibel, staccato blast of Joe’s inside voice. “Jesus, Joe! Could you announce yourself with less volume than a Led Zeppelin concert?”
“Yeah, Zeppelin! You know they cracked the King Dome in Seattle once, right?”
“My point exactly.”
“Speaking of that, we still on for The Phish tomorrow?”
Peter applied one final, perfectly measured, drop to the petri dish and sealed it up. “Wouldn’t miss it for the world.” He smiled.
“Semper Fi!” boomed Joe. This time, Peter did drop the petri dish.
“Dammit, Joe! I hate that militaristic crap.”
“What? Joe found a bowl of salad sitting in the counter. He dove in and grabbed a handful. The pungent leaves were very tasty. “Mmm, this is really good, Pete. You make this?”
Peter whirled. “Joe! Don’t eat that! I don’t know all the properties yet.”
Joe saw his expression and spat the leaves out on command. “What is it?”
“A hybrid strain of Poppy leaves.”
“What’ll it do?”
“I only know it’ll put you in a dream state, and strangely, one that someone sitting next to you can share. Thing is, I don’t know what kind of dreams.”
“Oh shii-aaahh…” Joe leaned against a table and slumped to the floor.
“You won’t know how to get out of that without me, Joe.” Angrily, he stuffed the leaves into his mouth.
A green army man stepped up to Joe. “Preparations ready, sir!”
“Very well,” said Joe, gazing out over the Strawberry Fields that went on Forever. He’d chosen the battleground wisely. The Red Meanies would have a difficult time in this terrain.
“Hey Joe! Where you goin’ with that gun in your hand?” said Peter, breathing hard after running to the HQ.
“It’s a war, Peter. Isn’t it obvious?”
Peter looked around at unicorns hauling cannon that fired actual grapes, Pixies toting machine guns that fired streams of flowers, and newspaper taxis moving green army men to entrenched positions. “Oh yeah. It’s so clear.”
“Sir!” said a green army lieutentant. “The General is approaching.”
“At last!” sighed Joe. “I’m not really an officer. I’m just filling in until a proper military commander arrives. This is a relief.”
Joe and Peter turned to see The General climbing the hill. All they could see was his head as he advanced upwards. Clearly, he was a Rhino. His horn was enormous, a tool for destroying enemies. His armored skin, powerful enough to repel heavy-caliber bullets, reflected the sunlight like bronze armor. Eyes squinted critically at the formations of defending soldiers. At last, he crested the hill…and wobbled a bit on his stiletto heels.
He smoothed his pink mini-skirt and called to Joe and Peter. “Fellas! Oh hi, fellas! Isn’t it a lovely day for a war?” He ran toward them, taking dainty, tiny steps. “How’s it going? Are we ready?”
Hesitantly, Joe saluted. “Uh, all is ready, sir.”
“Yes! Oh, take another piece of my heart now, baby!” The general twirled. “Oh look! Pretty flowers. Those will look wonderful on our shooty-thingees! This will be great for morale!” The General skipped away.
Joe looked crestfallen. Peter patted his back. “Forget it, Joe.”
“Some things can’t be forgotten.”
“Joe. You know this is only a dream, right?”
“I know! I’ve been trying to get out for a week now.”
“Really? I just now arrived.”
“The way I see it, the way out is to win this war.” On the opposite hillside, goblins and orcs charged, brandishing fiendish weapons of the Red Meanies. “Major Bloom,” said Joe to his radio. “The center must hold.”
“It’s not the war,” said Peter. “It’s the last thing you were thinking when entering this dream. Focus on that and we’ll both wake up!”
“That was a week ago. I don’t remember.” He keyed the radio. “Major Rainbow. Send in the Plasticene Porters with Looking Glass Ties. That should blind the enemy.”
Joe grinned until he saw Sand Worms crashing through the Cellophane Flowers. “Damn! That’s too much for us.” He picked up a Gardenia bazooka. “Only one thing to do.” He charged, screaming, “Semper Fi!”
They awoke in the lab, both relieved they exited the dream.
“You know what you did wrong, right?” said Peter.
“I sure do. I’ll never do THAT again.”
“Next time, I’ll send in the Rocking Horse People to hit their flank!”
If you think this contained too many references to the Beatle’s, “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” and other Psychedelic Rock, blame the folks at Speakeasy. They got me started. The weekly Speakeasy writing prompt is limited to 750 words and must contain a certain sentence in a certain location. This time, “Some things can’t be forgotten.” could be located anywhere in the story. Here’s this week’s prompt: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/144-open/