green cacti in pots near window
Life Day By Day

For the love of Cactus

You might have a favourite plant, tree or flower. You might be a rose enthusiast, or an all-round gardener. But there are some people who love Cactus and they do not all live in Mexico. Here is a story about Matt, and his workmate Jack.

Matt and Jack had attended a work site that was about to be demolished when Matt noticed a Cactus. It was destined for the waste management facility with other demolition material. Unless Matt stepped in to save it. As an Xerophile, a Cactus enthusiast, he contacted his boss to ask if he could keep the Cactus.

Afterwards, Matt asked his workmate Jack to help him load the Cactus on to the work Ute. Matt believed the Cactus was more than 30 years old. It weighed around 50 kilos and had outgrown the size of the pot. The guys worked out a way get it into the back of the Ute and secure it for the 30-minute drive back to the workshop. On their drive back Matt tells his workmate about his love of Cactus. The one in the Ute was a mature Golden Barrel Cactus, also known as Golden Ball or Mother-in-law’s cushion. It is prevalent in East Central Mexico. It is slow growing and grows up to a metre high. Matt was excited as this was a rare find and worth up to $1,000.00. It is late on a Friday afternoon and Matt decides to leave the Cactus in the work grounds over the weekend. This is how the story unfolded.

Matt arrives at work Monday morning.

‘G’day mate’, says Jack. Hey mate, your Cactus is gone. Did you pick it up?’

Matt looks in the direction of where his Cactus, his newly acquired prized possession, was sitting on Friday afternoon.

‘No mate, as you know I planned to take it home today. I did not even notice it was missing until you mentioned it,’ said Matt. Meanwhile Matt looked at the spot where the Cactus once sat, bewildered as to who would take it given its size and weight.

‘Looks like someone took it mate. Ah well, I must get on with my day and on with a few jobs,’ said Jack.

Matt was puzzled by Jack’s behaviour. No Monday morning chat in the workshop and no cup of tea. This was unusual behaviour for Jack. There was no concern that Matt’s prized possession was missing. Matt reported the theft to his boss and the unusual behaviour of his work mate. Could Jack be so callous, so unkind as to steal his Cactus? Jack was acting strangely, and this caused Matt to think he was hiding something. But he had no evidence.

The plot thickened a few days later when Jack told Matt that he checked eBay and Gumtree and there was no Cactus for sale. No sign of the missing Golden Barrel Cactus. Meanwhile, Jack had no idea what Matt had in his pocket!  

A couple of days went by, and his boss was busy with other matters. As no action was happening with solving the case of the missing Cactus, Matt took matters into his own hands. After a suggestion from a family member, Matt looked around to see whether there was CCTV cameras from nearby businesses. Matt took a stroll to the closest business and asked about their CCTV footage. By chance, he was speaking to the person who manages this for the shopping complex. He was then invited to view the footage. And there it was, the photo of Jack with his Ute backed up to where the Cactus was loading it on to his Ute. No longer did Matt have to wonder why Jack suggested Matt store the Cactus where it was at a good level to load onto the back of a Ute.

Now Matt had the evidence in his pocket. A photo, with the date and time of the theft. Matt found it difficult to understand why someone would do such a thing. But there it was as clear as day, a photo to prove what had happened to the Cactus. Jack had taken it.

closeup photo of cactus plants
Cactus are low maintenance. They have their own beauty and live for a long time.
Photo by Madison Inouye on

The moral of the story is that stealing is wrong. It is a flaw in a person’s character. At some time, when it is least expected, the flaw is illuminated for all to see.

As it happens Cactus or Cacti symbolises endurance. Matt endured to the end. He pursued solving the case as though he was Sherlock Homes. After Jack was caught out, he returned the Golden Barrel Cactus the next day. The company is taking the appropriate action with Jack. How embarrassing for Jack and why did he do it? Was it because Jack did not feel good about himself? Did he lack respect for himself and others? Did he plan to sell it and make some quick money? I do not know, and Matt will never know. Matt left Toowoomba the following week and moved to Brisbane. Did Jack, knowing Matt was leaving the job and the city, think he could get away with his petty crime? Perhaps!

This is a true story. Matt is my son. He has his prized Golden Barrel Cactus at his new place. He has no intention of selling it for monetary gain. He just wants to enjoy having it as part of his collection. Yes, all for the love of Cactus.

Note: Jack is not the real name of the person in the story.

Note: Featured image of Cactuses by Rovelyn Camato. See

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: