The Scourge of the South and an emerald-green kraken that spreads its leafy tentacles out to overwhelm everything.
It is unstoppable.
* * *
“I think I have a way to stop it,” Dr. Freddie Combs said. He was sitting with a group of scientists at the Kudzu Fight Council. It was, somewhat ironically, located in Alaska. The feeling was that kudzu was so dangerous it was best for the Council to employ scientists who were deathly afraid of it. There was no chance of them sympathizing with the enemy that way.
“What’s your idea?” the Director asked.
“Special giant rats,” Dr. Combs said. “All they eat is kudzu. We set them loose in Kentucky and Virginia and soon all the kudzu will be gone.”
“Giant rats? Are you crazy? No one wants giant rats running around. And how do you know they only eat kudzu?”
“That’s all they’ve eaten in our lab tests.”
“What else have you offered them?”
“Next!” the Director said.
“I saw we just give the affected area up for lost,” another scientist said. “Let’s build a wall around the area, let the people inside deal with it.”
“Kudzu grows over walls.”
“Well, maybe we could put the giant rats on top of the wall . . .”
Another scientist stood up. “I’ve developed a new strain of kudzu that bursts into flames in hot sunlight. We just need to cross-breed it with the kudzu and the problem will solve itself.”
“These are all terrible ideas,” the Director said. “Do any of you have a half-decent idea?”
“I have one that is fool-proof,” a tall, dark scientist named Dr. Brawn said. He had a crazy look in his eye, which in scientific circles is referred at “that Nobel look”. The rest of the room hushed.
“Super kudzu,” Dr. Brawn said. “It is twice as strong as normal kudzu and as smart a brilliant dog, or perhaps a slightly dim 5-year-old. It is also fiercely territorial, so it will easily wipe out the normal kudzu for us.”
“But then what do we do with all this super kudzu?” the Director asked. “The problem will be worse than before.”
“No, because it is be intelligent,” Dr. Brawn said. “We can negotiate with it, then send it to go fight our enemies. We can turn it into an ally.”
“Does . . . it grow as fast as normal kudzu?” the Director asked in a shocked voice.
“Three times faster. However, it does have a critical weakness. It is vulnerable to bullets. One shot will kill 100’ of super kudzu.”
“That is a good feature,” the Director admitted. “Fine, we’ll try it. I can’t think of anything better at least.
“Excellent,” Dr. Brawn said. He patted the place on his chest where his Nobel Prize would soon hang. “This can’t fail. Trust me.”
* * *
Four months later, the continental United States was abandoned. Mexico was considering building a huge fence to keep out the super kudzu scourge. Canada had nothing but its cold weather and even that wasn’t an effective barrier anymore, thank you very much global warming. People tried to shoot at the rampaging super kudzu, but after it began to mimic a whimpering puppy, they found they just didn’t have the heart.
Finally, all the survivors who could afford it gathered in a huge underground bunker on the island of Newfoundland and waited, hoping that the kudzu would die out or simply go away. They waited for years. Their phone and Internet went out because no one wanted to go outside to maintain them.
After three years, the debate began: to go outside or not. Some argued that the super kudzu must have killed itself off by now. In any case, it couldn’t have made it over the water to the island. Some questioned why they were in a bunker at all, but more pessimistic individuals shushed them, reminding them of how quickly North America had fallen.
“It’s probably crossed the Atlantic Ocean by now,” some said.
One boy, though, had had enough. “I’m going outside,” he said. He ran for the hatch and began to spin the wheel to open it.
Outside the sun shone brightly and a single tendril of kudzu crept slowly up the stonework towards the soon-to-be-opened hatch . . .
(You can find more information about kudzu here)