I was crossing the park on my way to the library when I saw the poppy-man. I was so excited. I just had to snap a quick photo.

poppy-man, Festival St Jean Baptiste, Montréal 2015

This was the first poppy-person I’d ever seen. I knew others had seen them – my next door neighbour had seen two poppy-kids several weeks before, and then the guy at the dépanneur told me he’d seen a poppy-couple. So I wasn’t the first, but I couldn’t help marveling.

What an experience. Extraordinary. Such joyful shoulders, such happy elbows. His feet! They gave a little skip. They did! I swear!

So then I felt badly about my plan, the one I’d thought up the moment I saw on the news that there was to be a cull of poppy-people.

When they’d first returned – an extinct species, who would have believed it! – they’d been welcomed. There’d been so few of them, what harm could they do? But according to the government the numbers were increasing at an alarming rate and in some areas they had already become a menace.

A poppy-person free country, that was the aim.

Seize them on sight, the posters urged. $300 reward. Even if they were Canadian dollars, that’s not to be sneezed at.

My only problem was that this poppy-man was considerably larger than I was. I hadn’t bargained with that.

I’d thought I’d just throw a sack over his head, pull the drawstring tight and drag him off to the culling station.

They should have warned us. I’d have bought a larger sack. And some rope. And ducktape.

I thought of going to get an ice cream and luring him along with it. But who knew if poppy-people liked ice creams. And he might disappear while I was buying the ice cream.

I felt kind of sad that I’d be leading the poppy-man to a cull. He seemed so delightful. Just looking at him sauntering along made me feel bright and cheerful.

Then I saw someone way over on the other side of the park, gripping a sack exactly like the one I had in my bag. He was going to sneak up and snag the poppy-man. The $300 would be his, not mine.

No way! This was my poppy-man, my $300.

In two steps I was right up close behind the poppy-man. I whipped the sack out of my bag and raised it high over his head.

The poppy-man turned and smiled, his eyes lighting up as though I was exactly the person he most wanted to see! Oh my lovely happy poppy-man.


This is Blurt #32 in my Year of the Blurt! My new year’s resolution was to write one Blurt – quick, unplanned, in a spare few moments – each week through 2016. Most so far have been stories but there’ve also been a couple of wanna-be poems! If you’d like to read more scroll down through my blog posts or click on 2016 Thursday Blurts. Thanks for visiting.

Discover Challenge: Portraits

This poppy-man was sighted at the Festival St Jean-Baptiste, Montreal 2015.


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