The secret of all victory

lies in the organisation

of the non-obvious.

Marcus Aurelius

Always an early riser, the leading counsel for the plaintiff had made his way to court at the crack of dawn. He could barely keep still as he surveyed the place where only hours from now the historic hearing would begin. Steadying himself on an ancient tree, he suddenly realised he had spent almost 20 years – nearly all his professional life – preparing this case.

They had carried the point that the hearing take place in the plaintiff’s presence, hence the unorthodox venue. The motion to banish wooden furnishings from the court’s temporary residence had also succeeded. But only yesterday the decision had come through that would almost certainly clinch the case: as the plaintiff was suing for recognition as a full citizen, his full name was to be read out in court in an English translation.

20 sonorous pages, a few lines for each decade of the plaintiff’s life:

I am the tree who stands on the hill…

* * *

T.Mastgrave’s philosophical story challenge: “What does it mean to be equal?” A prequel to Neighbours.

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I like blue.

5 thoughts on “Victory”

  1. You know, I’m honestly not sure what to think about this. I’m stuck in between the fact that it’s well written, and the fact that I honestly think the idea of equality for plants is a ridiculous notion (no offense intended). You do a good job of setting this up, and a I think your final line is pretty much exactly as obvious as it needs to be. You do a good job of steadily decreasing subtlety throughout the piece.

    1. No offense taken. I’m not arguing for plant equality, though I do think we should treat them with some respect. I’m making the case that equality is recognition as an equal, both legal and emotional. And a tree that can think “I am a tree…” in it’s own leafy language would be a case in point.
      And I’m glad you think it’s well-written. I certainly enjoy these philosophical challenges, thanks!

      1. Hmmm… it’s an interesting point. I like the addition of legal recognition. I’m not entirely sure that I agree, but it is definitely a thought worth chewing on for a while. For me, however, your greater point got a little loss in trying to get my head around the plant’s rights idea. That’s probably an issue of audience more than anything though.

        1. I don’t think a story necessarily needs to convince, sometimes maybe just planting an idea is enough. Who knows, someday when you’re looking at a tree, you may find yourself wondering whether perhaps you should treat them as more than “things”?

        2. This is true, a story does not need to convince. Heinlein’s ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ is an excellent example of that. The book didn’t convince me of anything, but it did get me thinking about a lot of things and effectively changed my life a bit. A story doesn’t have to convince so much as inspire thought.

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