Sandspurs are Evil.
We’re not talking low-level, ow, annoying evil, either. Evil. Tenacious, persistent, sneak-through-the-undergrowth as it hugs the ground and blends in with other grasses, only to sprout thorny balls that can go through socks, shoes, and heavy leather gloves like a hot knife through butter. Like mesquite had gone undercover as a grass ninja assassin.
You might think anything so thoroughly nasty would have to be an invasive species. Like lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico, fire ants in the U.S. Southeast, or gray squirrels in Britain. Sadly, no. This stabby minion of vegetable evil is, insofar as I can determine, completely native.
(Though it has become an invasive in Australia. Which, whoa. I wasn’t sure anything was nasty enough to do that….)
So, in the interests of making our fictional worlds as realistic as possible, I have to ruefully conclude that any universe we create had better have its bits of Annoying Evil. Maybe it’s a mold that likes to grow in airlocks. Maybe there’s a particular kind of hoof-and-mouth curse that afflicts people who try to catch unicorns. Maybe it’s just that local raven who’s learned that if it waits until your back is turned at the ice-fishing hole, it can pull up the bait – and maybe a fish, too!
Because seriously. Something trying to kill you may be a “Needs Hero!” situation, but it generally isn’t part of the day-to-day ho-hum grind that wears a temper into quivering shreds. No; something actually trying to end your life in a gory pile of claw-shredded hunks is fairly easy to deal with. At least compared to not choking the life out of Brad in the next cubicle over, who’s just squeaked that one chair wheel for the last time.
Granted, we’re writing fiction. So I, personally, plan to keep Annoying Evil to a minimum. Fiction’s supposed to be fun!
But it should still be there. Like the sandspurs.
I wonder if I could use a jewelry torch on them….