The Zuks, a Wedding, and the Rose That Changed Everything

The sunrise paints beautiful streaks of color over the Zuks’ home. Streaks of gold, orange, pink, and crimson swathe the dawn sky with a feeling of tranquility. Zyklezo, the tribe’s leader sits up and stretches. His petals are a blood red hue, and his body is grass green. He has small, strait, and delicate arms and legs. His face is made of rose petals and his features are made up of dots and lines. In short, Zyklezo is a miniature rose. He rubs his black eyes with his knobby hands, and stands. Zyklezo looks almost identical to the other members of the Zuk tribe; one of the only differences is that he is about a centimeter taller, a big distinction by the standards of the rose people. The only other difference of the people of the rose tribe is that no Zuk has the same color of petals. As he did his morning yoga which involve bending, stretching, and over all unfolding, Zyklezo thought about the beautiful rose that his tribe called home. The stem was thick and healthy; the petals were a beautiful pink with white lines twisting through them and best of all, it was in the middle of a huge garden of roses. Roses of all shapes, sizes, and colors bloomed in the field. It was bliss for the peaceful Zuks. They felt truly at home.

Zyklezo straightened. The chief of the Zuk people started through the forest of petals that makes up the uppermost part of the rose inhabited by the Zuks. He made his way to the hollowed out stem and stuck his petals in to it.

“Hak lak mekr nssd sohfls” He called. It’s time to gather the dew. Making a noise that was his way of sighing contentedly, he made his way up the rose petal staircase to the top of the rose. The Zuks would come to his call. They always did, every morning when they were called for breakfast. The dew gave the rose people the vitamins that they needed to function through out the day. Each morning they would come, eat the dew, and start their daily activities.

The other Zuks that also lived in the rose slept in the cozy tunnels burrowed in the stem of the rose. The leader of the tribe would always sleep in the top, so that he or she could protect the tribe in case of trouble. As Zyklezo reached the top of the staircase, the dewdrops came into view. Zyklezo froze when he saw the rose crushers. They had the garden tools in their hands, and they were shouting at the top of their lungs. (They weren’t really shouting, but the Zuks have very sensitive ears, so regular speech seems extremely loud.”

“Why are we cutting the roses down this time?” the tall one asked.

“The clients are planning a wedding, a big one.” The fat one replied. “It should be huge; we need to cut down a lot of roses.” They grinned at each other. The tall one started to say,

“Did you hear the proposal? They say that the guy hired-” Zyklezo needed to hear no more. He needed to warn the others, fast! Then, Zyklezo did something that is only done when there is great peril. Emitting a faint popping sound, the chief of the Zuks drew in his knobby arms and stubby legs closed his petals so that his facial features were hidden, and rolled down the stairs faster than dew down a Zuk’s throat.

“Hak dak rak bak neert! Hak dak rak bak neert! Hak dak rak bak neert!” He called, meeting in the conference room now! Distressed, disheveled, confused, but ever loyal, the members of the Zuk tribe promptly drew in their equally knobby arms and equally stubby legs, closed their petals, and rolled after him.

Once in the conference room, Zyklezo told his tribe about the “invasion.”

“Mek mak hak rak tak dak gak bak wak tredgthy howds vowds quensd.”  He told them about the huge invasion coming up, how a lot of roses would be ruthlessly slaughtered, and how somebody had hired a gunman to take them down. When the chief of the army forces, a subdued person, Zekles, asked him to be surer of the translations, Zyklezo consulted the books.

“Joh hos wic bwei sic khdsil iosj lis fh” Wedding definitely translates into invasion. The plan was made; the peaceful Zuk people had no choice but to defend their nest. The parting word of the council was the chant that all Zuk people were obligated to do before going into battle:

“We fight for protection, not glory money or fame. For the least amount of harm possible is our aim. We will return soon to our home. For far from that we never shall rome.” The night before, they had been peaceful people, now; they readied their weapons for war.

The next morning, everything was prepared. The rose guns had been loaded, and the warriors were ready. The design of the guns was that they shot rose seeds, and when they landed, a rose sprouted. It didn’t matter where the seed landed. Every seed had been coated in a top-secret growth formula. If the seed landed on a person, that person would have a rose sprout, and would even have to water it daily. If it landed on a brick wall, a huge creeping vine of roses would soon envelop it. If it landed in the ocean, there would be a surfer rose riding the waves, and doing tricks. The small guns were only to get to the satellite controls however. Once the Zuks had overridden the system, they would transform satellites into huge guns and have them all shoot at once to transform the very planet itself into a huge, blooming, rose. The “rose crushers” would all be killed instantly, and the Zuks would have a whole new planet all to themselves. Everything was in place, except for one thing, or Zuk.

Zekles, the leader of the Zuk warriors, was taking one last ride through the field before it was destroyed. He personally didn’t see any need for violence because he could understand the language of the rose crushers perfectly, and he knew that it wasn’t really a “yegd” an invasion. But, orders were orders and he had no choice but to follow them. Also, what was better than one huge rose that they could be completely safe on? This is better. He thought to himself as he burrowed down into his flowerpot. Zekles had begun to sneak out of the rose five years ago. He simply hung back when the others were eating the dew, clambered up to the top of the rose, and, using a seed gun, shoot a flower into a flower pot so that it would get picked up by the plant trolley and, sitting on top of the rose, he could see the whole field. The workers had cut some roses for the wedding, but now they were planting new ones in their place. Not that he hadn’t seen this before, Zekles had snuck out before and he had made this trip thousands of times. The trolley carried the plants that needed a lot of care; so everyday it was wheeled around the field and back. But, this would be the last time.

As he gazed at the endless haven of roses, Zekles thought about how he could convince Zyklezo that the rose crushers really weren’t earth crushers and were really good things. After a good deal of contemplation, an irrational plan came to him. It had a 99.99% chance of failure, but he had no choice except to rely on that 00.01 chance. It was time to stand up for what was right. The plan relied on one secret, the fact that the Zuk people weren’t totally a secret from the humans. There was one person who knew, a girl whose name was Zuri.

Five years earlier: Zekles was riding his regular flowerpot through the field of roses. It was considerably smaller than it is now, but it was still huge to the curious Zuk. It was a normal day, they had recently eater their dew, and Zekles had hopped on the flowerpot for the daily ride across the field. Today a girl with extraordinary eyesight pushed the cart. She was half way through the field when she saw him. Being a smart girl, she kept her head and didn’t scream. She pretended that she hadn’t seen him, and wheeled the cart into the lab.

“I’ll just check some samples she said aloud, hoping that Zekles would be fooled luckily, he was. Zekles wasn’t unduly worried. He was slightly annoyed that he would miss origami class, but he didn’t realize that anything was wrong. He did realize this however, when Zuri plucked him up and set him under the microscope.

“Interesting” she said, peering at him. Zekles was so flustered that he forgot to pretend to be an inanimate object like he had been taught to do in the What-To-Do-If-Under-a-Microscope-Being-Looked-At-By-a-Human crash course that he took in school, instead, he stood up and, calling on him limited knowledge of the rose crusher’s language, he slowly said,

“I am nothing of the sort my dame, hem hem madam! Now led me go, let me go I demand it!” instead of being scared, Zuri was fascinated. She quickly explained that she wanted to do Zekles no harm and that she worked as a gardener in the field. As soon as that was cleared up, they began chatting amicably and by the next day, they were friends. Zuri taught Zekles more English and, in turn, Zekles told Zuri any thing she wanted to know about everything. Because they were so small, Zuks could see things that humans couldn’t, so he told her about the thing that he saw.

Present: Zekles needed to contact her, now! When the trolley stopped right next to the intercom, he knew how. Zekles climbed up onto the edge of the trolley and jumped! He was able to grab the cord and, as he fell, he said through the speaker,

“Zoe, person who works in the rose field, please take the trolley from other person who also hopefully works at the rose field.” Zoe came over.

“I wonder why.” She thought to herself. She immediately spotted Zekles, jumping up and down and waving his thin arms like a crazy person. She went down on the pretense of fixing her shoe. “What are you doing?” she whispered.

“You don’t have to shout.” He said back.

“What?” she asked? “Oh, just come here!” She him picked up and plopped him on the cart. When they got to the lab, He scuttled to the microscope and went underneath it. A few months earlier, they had installed a microphone/silencer in the microscope so that both could see and hear each other more comfortably.

“There,” he said. “Zuri, the most terrible thing has happened! Zyklezo, the chief has misenterprited some workers talking about a wedding! He thought that in our language, it translates to invasion! He called a council and weapons have been made. Tomorrow we will take over the world! I will have to lead the warriors in a desperate march across the country to the NASA space station! Then, our technology will take over their system, and we will take over the satellites and turn the whole planet into a giant rose!” By the end of his sentence, Zekles had become so distressed that his words blended together in to a long assertion.

“Calm down, calm down!” Zoe protested, “What do you suggest that we do? You have tried reason with Zyklezo, haven’t you?”

“Yes!” Zekles nearly shouted in his desperation. “During the council I asked him to check to be sure because I knew that he was wrong, but I can’t contradict the chief. So he looked at the books,” Here Zekles slumped down defeated. His voice shrank down to barely a whisper.  Zuri waited patiently as he let out a huge sigh and continued. “The books, the books. They are all wrong! They say that white means black and that solid means liquid and they are just all wrong!”

“Are you just going to let it happen?” Zuri asked. There was no accusation in her voice she just wanted her question to be answered.

“I was going to, but I can’t!” Zekles answered. “It wouldn’t be right,” he continued, “to destroy something that is so beautiful. I was thinking about it on my way around on the trolley. I could refuse to fight, but there are many other warriors, I could sabotage the weapons, but I would be thrown out of the Zuk tribe, and Zyklezo would just order new ones to be made. He won’t give up until the earth is destroyed unless-”

“Unless we change his mind.” Zekles and Zuri said at the same Zekles quickly explained his desperate plan; Zuri listened quietly, pointed out some minor flaws, and softly suggested some revisions. In five minutes, they had constructed a plan that could save the world.

Zekles raced breathlessly into Zyklezo’s room.

“Zyklezo, there’s something that you have to see!” He shouted, “it’s in the field, we already have a ride.” If the chief was suspicious he didn’t show it, he silently followed Zekles through the maze of tunnels that the Zuk people had drilled in the rose.

“Zekles-” he started to say,

“No time!” Zekles shouted he was worried that if Zyklezo asked to many questions, his and Zuri’s plan would be discovered. They had made it through the maze of tunnels, up the rose petal staircase, and through the delicate walkways on top, and on to the trolley, Zuri had phase two of the plan set up, and the chief had grown impatient, he wanted an explanation, and he wanted it now!

“Zekles!” Zyklezo shouted with indignation, “What is the meaning of this? Taking us into enemy territory, not resting up for the attack! What on Zunis has gotten in to you?”

“I just thought that you should see the world the way I see it.” Zekles tried to explain. “No offense, but you look at the world through reftg eyes, you vision is cloudy.” Then, Zekles repeated an old Zuk prophecy: “Rewt huyt besd, hefd kelsd makexd, if you have dirt in your eyes, it is hard to see.” Being a reasonable Zuk, Zyklezo agreed with one condition:

“If I am not convinced, we will go on with the invasion.”

“I understand completely.” Zekles replied. I hope that this works! He thought to himself, the plan had started, and now it was time to let it unfold.

While Zekles had been working on Zyklezo, Zuri had been talking to the field inspector, Ayden. Using the power of persuasion that she was born with, Zuri convinced Ayden to inspect the field with her right now, even though the inspection was scheduled for the next month with the field supervisor. Zekles never figured out how one quick text on her part convinced the inspector to fly all the way back from Paris to California, but it had.

“I take it that this is the um… how do you Americans say it? Oh yes, yes, the special plant trolley.”  Although Ayden was strictly American, when he went on vacation in foreign places, he picked up there habits.

“Yes Mr. Ayden,” Zoe started on the tour making sure to keep her body angled towards the trolley so that Zyklezo could hear. “This is where we put the plants that need more air and sunlight then all of the others. Every day we wheel it around the field and talk to them, we believe that this helps them grow.” Zyklezo was amazed. What is this? He thought to himself. “These are the rose crushers! Why are they giving such special attention to the roses? He listened in amazement as Zuri continued:

“It is time to take the trolley around, and I really don’t want these poor plants to miss their walk. Do you think perhaps that the inspection could take place during the walk? We would go around the whole field.”

“That would be fine.” Ayden replied.

“Thank you very much Mr. Ayden.” Zoe responded “Now, to continue, this is the main rose garden. As you can see, we water our plants every day, and also fertilize with our specially made, all natural, completely safe to both plants and humans stimulant. We make this in our lab, to the left, and use it on all of our plants.” As the tour progressed, Zuri hinted all she could about loving the roses and taking care of them. By the end of the tour, Zyklezo was dumb struck.

“Meet me in my rooms after this is over.” He ordered Zekles. Then he sighed, hopped down from the trolley, and made his way carefully down the stairs. Zuri had seen him go, but had no idea what he had said, and she had Ayden looking at her expectedly.

“I’ll just straighten these blossoms.” She improvised, and then quickly bent down towards the rose that Zekles was still on. “Did it go well?” She inquired.

“I have no idea,” He replied helplessly. “But I’ve never seen him like this, the news is either good, or bad. This might be goodbye though.”

“Don’t talk like that!” Zuri admonished. “We are going to get out of this! You will convince Zyklezo that we really won’t cut down all the roses in the field! You have to help all the humans, you can’t let Zyklezo destroy the earth!”

“I know, but what will I say?”

“You know Zyklezo more than I do! I think that he was impressed with the tour, but he might need some more convincing. Just tell him the truth, that we really won’t destroy the rose!”

“I’ll try, but it might be tough.”

“You have to try, the world depends on it!”

As it turned out, Zyklezo needed no convincing.

“For the first time in my life, I, the amazing, the dependable, the faultless,” Zyklezo began, “the perfect, the humble chief of the Zuks am wrong. I have misjudged the rose crushers. The one called Zuri has taught us all a lesson.  When there is dirt in your eyes, you can’t see.” Zekles decided to not say that it had been Zyklezo that had been taught the lesson, not the other way around.

“I believe that we all have all learned many different things in many different ways oh chief.” Zekles proclaimed, “Do you think that this would be enough reason to call of the attack?”

“Of course it would!” Zyklezo shouted with indignation. “It would be wrong to attack something that would not hurt us! That would be barbaric!” With some difficulty, Zekles avoided stating that Zyklezo was about to do just that.

“Excellent decision Zyklezo,” he began “I am glad that you cancelled the takeover.”

“Yes, yes, now,” The chief began, “later we will have a council meeting to tell everyone that the invasion has been called off. Until then, go do something.”

It wouldn’t be fair or true to say that there was never another almost invasion from both the Zuks and the humans. There was one narrowly avoided mishap where the Zuks’ rose was almost clipped, but with Zuri’s help, that to was avoided. After a while, Zyklezo stepped down, and Zekles became the chief. He was truly humble, wise, kind, and the best chief that the Zuk people will ever know. As for Zuri, she worked happily in the rose field for many years, averting many an unfortunate disaster. When she retired, her son, Zachary took her place and his daughter after that. It went on like this for many years until the rose field was shut down for financial reasons. Zabrina, Zuri’s great great great great great granddaughter helped the Zuk people manufacture the rose guns into gardening tools and eventually made a very successful business out of it. As for the Zuks, their tribe lived happily for some time on their rose. Many chiefs came and went, although none quite as good as Zekles. They became more trusting of the “rose crushers” which they eventually promoted to humans, and not more than a few days went by when a young, adventurous Zuk was not sent out with a pack, and a compass to have an adventure, and come home stronger and happier than when they had left.