by Ian Galbraith
an Ivan Brixton Story
They woke up and smiled at the sun. The cool air came rolling in off the sea crisp and clean as you please. The orchids in harvest no longer- the autumnal switched for spring and birth. I was a newborn in the age of predator drones and also peppermint lattes. Things were great. Every time I went out I had a swell time. I went to school and I came home. Did what my folks told me. I did it all alright. Finally I finished with school and everything, I went out to a bar to celebrate.
The place was called daffodil and it hardly smelled right for a rose like me but all the other graduated blossoms were heading in and I decided to follow my friends. It was a nice bar. I got a cool glass of spring water because you can get that in bars around my town. I know, not everyone is this lucky. I suppose all I can do is smile right?
Anyway we’re all sipping ours and one of my friends, Harold he is playing games with the sun heads, flipping coins and fooling at cards. I play a few rounds with Harold but my hearts not in it.
“You look restless.” Harold says.”
I nod my head but I am miles away. A million miles away probably two billion if its even a foot but if its two billion… then its a lot. And now my head which I’m done nodding and now I’m holding in place, that head is sort of spinning… then I see this flower at the end of the bar is she’s drinking alone-
“Deal me out Harold.”
I walking over to her feeling like pollen in spring. Feeling fresh like the day I was born. I feel immaculate when she turns and smiles. She winks. I’m totally grabbing a seat next to her. She is an absolute rose. Not even like that loser in Gatzby was supposed to be neither- I’m talking solid rose right now. She wasn’t some lame lousy Daisy but a real live rose. She sure had petals to squeeze!
“Hey.” I say.
“Heyyy.” she says maybe sort of buzzed.
“Imma Frank.” I say faking a wee slur.
“Heyya Frank immma Dolly.” She says.
“I’m in love with you Dolly, do you feel it?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says and shudders, “It’s overwhelming.”
“It makes my soul quiver to tell the truth.”
“It’s like telepathic alchemy drugs.” She says.
And with that we leave hand in hand. Roses walking Petal in petal talking that sweet- sweet roses talk.
Years later we’re all settled down and something happens. I mean they always said it would but I never thought- well I’ll just say it plain. We got caught by the Kreacherkin. They took us. A dozen of us and a few of our neighbors too. They stuffed us all into wet refrigerator trucks and shipped us off to god knows where… It was so dark inside man I nearly lost it but I had Dolly by my side and I had to keep up my rep as a stud. I had to be a Rose and take care of my Rose, even if we were all just stuck senseless in plastic bags with our roots cut off and tears dripping down our limbs.
Finally light reached us and the strong hands of the Kreacherkin pulled us from the truck. They wrapped us up together in tight bundles of twelve and shoved our feet into little plastic test tubes. The Kreacherkin know no bounds nor decency. I didn’t believe they were real until they stuffed us- wrapped in plastic inside another one of their sinister cold closet ice chest death traps.
[several hours later]
A dozen roses lay on a counter. Behind the counter a girl in her twenties with leather pants and a nose ring works the register. She is constantly moving between the fridge containing pre- ordered flower orders and the espresso machines at the shop. People come up to her- they pick up flowers or coffee, sometimes both. A young couple approaches the counter during a lull in business-
“Hi I have an order waiting.” The boy says.
“What was the name?” Asks Counter girl
“Ivan.” The boy says.
“12 roses and a mocha?”
“That’s me.” He says and smiles. He squeezes his girlfriend’s hand.
“The total is 75.00.”
“Oh no!” His girlfriend exclaims.
“That’s two much for flowers! Far too much for these! They’re only roses Ivan…”
“Crazy.” The girl behind the counter mutters and goes out back to clean up for the day.
And so the young couple leave and they don’t buy a single thing. The flowers lay on the counter and there Frank and Dolly lay beside each other. Frank- he feels alright- for now; but Dolly… Dolly is fading. The soft is leaving her. The goodness drips slow across an unattended flower in an independent coffee shop where just now there are no customers. The girl behind the counter returns.
“Fuck it.” She says and tosses them out back in the dumpster.