Flora and Gray (or Halloween)

Flora wasn’t raised in the jungle but she spent most of her life wishing she was.
To be as tall as the Kapok Trees, as wild as the waxy bromeliads–
To hang upside down and sloth it out–
Or stealthily step like a panther towards prey.

One year for Halloween she covered herself in green construction paper leaves.
She tied strips of old bedsheets to her arms and glued plastic monkeys all the way up her spine.

When she arrived at school, all of the other monsters in her class were dressed as zombies or Frankensteins or Taylor Swifts.  Flora thought to herself, “If Halloween means you can be ANYTHING in the world, why would you want to be something that everyone else is?”  Confused by this gross lack of imagination, Flora shrugged and spent the entire school day concentrating deeply on standing very still and then suddenly jumping out at people.

Her victims all responded with a slightly-annoyed “What are you?”
“I’m the jungle!” Flora  replied.
“Hmmm…”

It was a major let-down for Flora.

Around 2:45pm, during the slime-bobbing contest, Gray Watkins from the other 5th grade class asked her:

“So… what are you?”
“I’m the jungle,” said Flora. “Obviously. What are you?”
“I’m…smog. Duh!”  said Gray, pointing to his dirty sweatsuit and pallid face.
“How’d you create that rain effect? It’s amazing.”
“What rain effect?”
“Under your arms.”

Gray looked at his armpits to see two sweat stains.

“Umm….I…”
“It’s a great costume. Really authentic.” said Flora.
She meant it.
“Thanks,” said Gray. “I think the old bedsheets are a nice touch. I almost mistook you for the Amazon.
“Happy Halloween,” said Flora. “I hope you get all the peanut butter cups you want.”
“Thanks,” said Gray. “I hope you get all the…”
But before he could say licorice sticks, Flora vanished to a corner of the room to jungle another unsuspecting Taylor Swift.

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