Split rock cactus viciously assaulted during night

Residents Chez Paul were shocked this morning to discover that Split Rock cactus had been viciously assaulted and wounded during the night. Great chunks of its flesh are missing from both sides of its body, and toothmarks — presumably those of the attacker — are clearly visible.

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Split Rock was found in its usual position on the patio. No signs of a struggle were apparent, and other plants in the vicinity showed no signs of a similar attack.

"It's an outrage," said Golden Pin Cushion, an opinion seconded by Euphorbia Green Elf.

Split Rock appears to be in stable condition, and the new lobes growing deep in its cleft appear unharmed.

No suspects have been identified nor apprehended, but the toothmarks suggest an attacker with prominent canine teeth. Suspicion immediately turned to a black and white cat from the neighborhood, seen brazenly skulking about on the patio on several occasions recently. This, of course, would not be the first time that the Feline has been suspected as the possible "perp," but in the interest of fairness it should be noted that on the previous occasion the culprit turned out to be wind.

Strangely enough, disturbing sounds had been heard during the night. Paul, himself, heard what he thought was crying, shortly after 1 am. "I got up and looked about," he said, "but I saw nothing unusual, even on the patio."

Given the geopolitical uncertainty that permeates the world these days, some speculated that this may have been an act of horticultural terrorism.

Predictably, Tom Ridge, Secretary of Homeland Security, advised purchasing duct tape. The Shrub, aka Bush 43, issued a statement saying, "This evil-doer will be brought to justice, or we will bring justice to him."

In the UN Security Council, the French insisted that inspections were a viable alternative to address the threat and that the time for "serious consequences" had not yet arrived.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, dispatched just yesterday for the Middle East, was diverted to the Salton Sea. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, refused to give an estimate of the cost of this move, and Ari Fleischer, Mouthpiece to The Shrub, insisted that no decision had been made to wage war against the Evil-Doer. "But if we do, it will be successful," he said, confidently. "We will defang this foe, one way or another."

The newest member of the Chez Paul plant family, Young Josh, was un-harmed, inasmuch as he had spent the night indoors as a precaution against the chilly overnight temperatures.