Two weeks ago contest participants were asked to write a mini story based on the picture above. Congratulations to James Hall and Arbiter Kitty for their spectacular entries.
He needed to get these plants into his little shop quickly. For lack of space, all of his shipments were stacked beside his shop wall. Presentation was everything when running a flower shop, If these flowers weren’t on the shelves, no presentation. Just to the left of his three stacks of boxes, a hobo leaned against the wall where it made a corner, asleep.
“Get out of here! Scram!”
The man stirred and looked at him through dejected eyes.
“Leave me ‘lone man. I ain’t hurtin’ nothin’.” The groggy bum complained.
“I said get out of here!” He pointed sharply to his left. His face was red.
“I’ll leave when I’m awake.”
“Get out of here you filthy bum!” The shopkeeper kicked him in the side.
The bum, his breath lost, crawled along the brick wall and tried to catch his breath. Nearing a trash can, he tried to pull himself up, but the shopkeeper shoved him from behind, causing the aluminum trashcan to rattle around in a circle on the pavement and the hobo to fall face first into the rough ground. Back to his hands and knees, he crawled away. The angry shopkeeper looked on as the bum got to his feet and, without looking back, disappeared. Presentation was everything.
“Live Plants. Seriously? That’s really the best name you were able to come up for these?”
A short, chestnut haired woman stood in front of the stacked boxes currently lined up on the side of Redmill Tavern. She eyed the labels with obvious disdain, tactfully ignoring the much taller, much stockier male beside her.
“Shut up,” the man grumbled, scratching her fingers against the short 5’oclock stubble on the underside of his chin. “Wuzzint no time for being all fancy like.”
“And here I was, thinking that remaining inconspicuous was so important,” she deadpanned, finally turning her scrutinizing gaze upon him.
“Goddammit, Tammy. You gotta be so damn picky alla damn time? Nobody but you worried ‘bout all these lil’ details-”
“Nobody but me has a business as strong as I have going for me, now do they?” She snorted when she received silence in response. “That’s what I thought. Trust me, Kardis. The ‘little details’? They’re important. Bring these inside. We’ll keep them in the back storage for now so nobody gets to poking around the ‘Live Plants’.”
It would be some time before all the boxes were brought inside. Tammy tactfully ignored the man’s grumbling as he hauled each box in, feeling like it was his fault that he’d dismissed his workers before bothering to wait and see if they’d be needed for any other manual labor.
When he was done, she gave him a very curt dismissal, smiling a deceptively serene smile as he offered a glare of irritation in return before making himself scarce.
Once alone, she turned back to the boxes, a devious grin tugging at her lips as she peeled open the top flaps of the nearest one. The inside of the box was lined with a thin film of plastic, presumably to keep the moisture of the dirt packed inside from seeping through into the cardboard. The box was filled about halfway with the peaty earth, and at the very center, a tiny, crystalline object poked through its surface.
“I’ve certainly hit the jackpot with these,” Tammy whispered in congratulations to herself, staring at the tiny thing with an expression bordering on awe.
To Kardis and the other workers, she’d made it seem as if these plants were just very rare, very exotic imports from another land. Which, technically speaking, they were. What she failed to mention was in what manner these plants were rare and exotic. Namely the fact that, upon consumption, they could produce a variety of nearly superhuman effects upon the user with variable time frames.
They were Deisticis, Divine seeds that, when cultivated properly, yielded some of the most powerful plants in the world. Not only would she monopolize and make a fortune off of potential buyers, but she would also personally benefit from the plants’ godlike properties.
Live Plants, indeed.
And Tammy managed to score them right from under her biggest competitor’s nose.
“Greater fame and fortune, here I come,” she murmured to herself, her gaze lingering just a few moments longer before she closed the lid on her greatest possession.