A Sticky Situation, by Tracy Beckerman

“Ouch! I exclaimed, clutching my leg. “I was stabbed!”

I looked down and saw my attacker, an innocent-looking barrel cactus casually hanging around the edge of the garden center driveway. I would have taken a moment to appreciate the organic symmetry of the perfectly round plant, but I had two dozen little cactus needles impaled on the side of my leg and I didn’t feel a great love for nature at the time. the. The cactus looked no worse for wear. My leg, however, looked like a hedgehog in a very gross way, and small bloodstains had started to appear on my jeans.

“Keep quiet,” said my son, who used to live in the Wild West (and by wild I mean a big cosmopolitan city in the middle of the country) and used to encounter these kinds of whimsical plants and unpredictable in its environment.

He leaned over and started ripping cactus thorns out of my leg.

“Ouch, ouch, ouch,” I yelled every time he took one out. I decided that this must be what it feels like to get into a fight with a very, very small porcupine, or get shot by pigeons with darts.

It certainly wasn’t the kind of activity I had anticipated when we decided to go visit our adult children for a few days. Food trucking? Yes. City tour by electric bike? Certainly. Being arbitrarily attacked by an Attacktus cactus? Definitely not.

As he removed the needles with surgical precision, I began to wonder if this violated cactus attack laws and whether I should file a report with the cactus police. Maybe there was a whole cactus gang out there terrorizing the unsuspecting Northeasterners. That’s when I thought this might be more than a painful inconvenience. What if the thorns were poisonous? What if the hospital ran out of anti-cactus thorn serum? What if my insurance didn’t cover random cactus attacks?

More importantly, what if I had to walk around in stained jeans for the rest of the trip?

“Excuse me,” I said, waving at a garden center employee. “Can you come here? I was attacked by one of your cacti.

He came over and looked at my hedgehog leg.

“Oh no!” he said. “How did it happen?”

“I was walking on this path and the cactus shot me with its thorns.”

“They don’t really do that,” he said. “You must have stumbled upon it.

“No, he attacked me,” I insisted. “Your cactus has gone rogue.”

“Did you provoke him?” he wondered. “Call her names? Make ‘yo mama’ jokes?”


“So you must have punched him.”

“Okay, okay,” I said. “But I need to know if these things are toxic. Should I go to the hospital? Update my will? Delete some mean messages from my Facebook account?

“No, everything will be fine,” he said. “I’ll get an antiseptic and bandages.”

“Is that right?” I was wondering. “You don’t think I need a tourniquet or a rabies shot?


” Then what ?

He thinks for a moment. “I can give you 10% off your purchase.”

I nodded. “That should do.”

Tracy Beckerman is the author of Amazon’s best-selling book, “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble,” available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit him at www.tracybeckerman.com. To learn more about Tracy Beckerman and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: congerdesign on Pixabay

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