Bob (the shortstory)

Once open a time, there was a tree. Lets call him Bob because Bob is a rare name and no one would be offended. Bob, like all others, had a life away from dangers. Digesting wood was discovered by his planets microbes, so his planet was no longer producing coal other than in wetlands, but there were still no large herbivores bulldozing trees to eat them, so a lot of carbon was stored in these biological skyscrapers providing habitat and a hatred of sprinting wherever they can. But Bob was different. He was special. He had a mutation which lifted a constraint which evolution once thought was necessary. Bob, like everyone around him reached the maximum height a tree can have before inventing the pump, but this didn’t stop him. He kept increasing his girth. He widened his cylindrical body type as much as he can before running into other trees. Then he waited for them to die. He had the better infrastructure, more leaves, longer roots, more gluttony for water. The trees around him succumbed to drying. Then he took their place, their space, and their neighbours. Looking from afar, the forest was looking like a bunch of sticks sticked on dirt. Bob was the odd one out. He was looking like a pizza, more a wheel than a stick. Then the second stage took place. Up until this point, Bob had branches on top of it like candles on a birthday cake. These branches would drop their leaves for them to decay. A layer of dirt had appeared on top of him. There were also occasional ponds. These would usually be dranked by Bob for seasonal lengthening and result in faster accumulation of soil on top of him. There, a descendant of Bob took root, carrying the same mutation. He grew, taking place of Bob’s roots every new season cycle. He even had his own child on top of him. Bob’s size had now reached planetary proportions. He and his descendants called the Bob superorganism now formed concentric rings stacked on top of each other in a step pyramid, kinda like a wedding cake. He was not aware what he was doing. Taking more carbon from the air than he needed, he converted it into sugar and stacked it behind his living tissue which was constantly expending like a plant version of wall of flesh. The underground theater of war preceding his extension was now easier than ever, and even unnecessary. With the carbon dioxide levels getting low, the plants were not growing as they used to, their biomass representing an age of old started to dwindle, and with it, of the animals’. Their decomposition released more carbon into the atmosphere which would be inhaled by Bob. Nothing could have strategised about defeating Bob. For the animals, Bob was a mountain with no need to think about. For the plants, Bob came like a true vacuum. They couldn’t resist even if they tried. Finally, Bob was victorious. Maybe he wasn’t covering much area, but all the carbon on the planet he could get his hands on was within his volume. All life perished with that. Maybe, geological activity could have reincluded Bob into the carbon cycle, but that was still far, far away in the future. With glaciers covering his body, it was as if Bob didn’t exist in the first place. The humans came during this time. They thought no life would exist in this planet with no carbon. Subsequent investigations revealed a low level presence of algae in the oceans and plenty of fossils. Weird, but this must have been the perfect place to burn fossil fuels they thought. Only after a team of researchers took samples of a weird object they detected under the glaciers was Bob the superorganism’s case enlightened. The researchers chatting and sipping their fizzy drinks, leaned on their loungers, looked at the stars and wondered. What other wacky ways could life have self destructed?

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