Aliens have invaded Cambria. They are so bold that they are hiding in plain sight, standing in quiet groups along Main Street and quiet residential streets. You’ve seen them, even if you haven’t paid much attention to them.
Because I read a lot of detective fiction, I’m always on the lookout for trouble. As yet, I have no proof, but I firmly believe these aliens are big trouble. I started noticing them a couple of years ago, but there were so few then that I just dismissed them as weird. Until recently.
Now they seem to be increasing — some already hanging out beside San Simeon Creek Road, undoubtedly planning to eventually head up into the Santa Lucia Mountains where I live.
I realize now that I’ve probably waited too long to speak up.
Because I’ve lived here in the back country for 10 years, I’m familiar enough with the mountain habitat to have noticed right away if invaders started living up here. So far, no sightings. Before the aliens come skulking farther up the road, quietly dispersing into the mountains, I feel the need to voice my concern.
These aliens are masquerading as seemingly inoffensive and pretty flowers called Amaryllis belladonna, known more commonly as naked ladies. They are not native to the Central Coast or even to the United States, for that matter. They are purported to be from the Western Cape region of South Africa and have come to this country as innocent-looking bulbs.
Why do I consider these naked ladies a threat? They don’t have leaves! How much more proof of skullduggery is needed than this? Flowering plants without leaves are unnatural. Their stalks look bare and stark and creepy, detracting from the beauty of their blooms. How could I not be suspicious?
People say they do have leaves before they bloom, but who notices leafy plants without blossoms that blend in with the non-threatening native flora around them?
They’ve even made themselves drought tolerant to fool us at a time when we are desperate for any pretty flowers that can grow in our increasingly dry dirt, but they don’t fool me. Something’s up, and we might not realize how at risk we are from these naked ladies. Once they have spread everywhere, lulling us into a false sense of pink security, they will be free to carry out any still unknown diabolical plans for taking over the Central Coast.
So far, I think we are safe in the mountains because I have seen no sign of these invaders here. However, some neighbors may be hiding them behind their homes, in which case we may already be doomed.
It is almost certainly too late for those of you living in town. If you’ve planted some naked ladies near your home, be sure to keep a close eye on them. If you haven’t planted any yet, you might want to hold off until you see what happens to your neighbors who have.
I don’t personally believe it, but maybe the naked ladies are just weird plants with pretty flowers and not a threat at all. However, now that they’re starting to drop their petals, they’ll be a lot harder to spot if they are up to no good.