Isaac and the Ragweed
by Levi Faulk, 3.49am March 10th 2022

Isaac took a moment to enjoy the air between his scales. This was the part of his day that he treasured when things were quiet and he was alone. The purple sky above soothed him and he felt exuberant as he flew to the flower patch. From high above, it was a colorful burst of delicate petals sticking up from the verdant landscape, a beautiful sight to behold. The dread didn’t set in until he descended. That’s when the calls from below started to reach his ears.

“Hey look, another one of these hummingbirds come to milk us dry,” said a red chrysanthemum with touches of yellow on the edges of their leaves. Isaac only ignored them. Their sweet scent was intoxicating but he knew that it was a trap. He headed straight for the plant he’d struck an unsteady alliance with. The ragweed was also an exile. They were not welcome among the flowers who called them “weed,” an ugly word among the plant community. Isaac landed among the ragweed’s leaves and flapped his wings by way of greeting.

“Hello, hummingbird,” the ragweed said. They sounded bored and ready to amuse themselves at his expense.

“Don’t start that shit.” Isaac spread his wings as wide as they would stretch. “Don’t forget that I can set you aflame if you anger me.”

The ragweed only laughed. They knew he would never do that. They needed each other, or at least, they made each other’s lives easier. The ragweed had a lot of pollen to offload and they needed all the pollinizers they could get. They had a somewhat hard time, being less colorful than others of their kind. They looked more like ferns, green leaves that shone in the warm summer air but no blossoms to catch the eye.

He needed a plant that didn’t have a razor-sharp tongue and a high standard for who they would let pollinate them. He thought of his fellow dragons, downtrodden from pollinating their flowers all day. Only the toughest could stand to pollinate the flowers of brilliant lemon yellow or blush pink or harvest gold. Isaac was not tough. He needed the ragweed.

“C’mon, just goofing around. You have to admit, even for a pollinator dragon, you’re pretty small.”

“I get the job done,” he grumbled and began collecting the pollen he needed to survive. His whole clan was depending on him and his brethren to collect the daily pollen that supported them all.

“That you do, I’ll give you that much.” Isaac paused, taking a moment to process the compliment. He’d never heard one from a plant before. His eyes misted over, which he tried to hide.

“Oh, um, thank you. Very kind.” Isaac went back to collecting pollen from the ragweed. He worked in silence and the ragweed enjoyed the bright sunshine bouncing off of their leaves. Isaac felt his muscles relax under its rays for the first time during working hours. The day suddenly seemed beautiful again. Isaac worked until he was covered in pollen and shook his wings in goodby to the ragweed.

“See ya tomorrow,” the ragweed said. Isaac nodded and took off, his body laden with golden dust and his eyes full of the light of the golden rays of sunset.