THIS TIME ROUND: THE FLORIST PRIMEVAL
(A Valentine's Day quadruple-drabble)
"Not to worry, sir," the old man said as he deftly clipped the rose
stem. "I can assure you that I'm quite accustomed to an unusual
clientele. When you've been in this business in a place like this
for as long as I have, you get to see a bit of everything." He slipped
the flower in among its fellows and selected another.
"Times change, and people, too, I'll grant you that." The florist
paused to trim away an errant thorn, then went on. "But flowers
on Valentine's Day will always be. I don't care who she is, no
woman born can hold out against a man who brings her roses,
and that's doubly true at this time of year." The old florist's face
took on an amused look. "Or an Ice Warrior who brings her roses,
come to that. What do you think finally convinced young Stacy
to say the 'I do' to that Ssard chap?" He chuckled a little. "Or
another woman who brings her roses, for that matter. We seem to
see a lot of that, nowadays..."
After a moment's scrounging, he produced a bright red ribbon that
he began to tie around the bundle of roses. "I know what you've
said about this girl," the florist went on as he worked. "But, trust
me, this is the right way to go. I know you've said she can be a bit
violent." He held up a quick hand. "No, 'murderously violent'
was how you put it. And I know you said she was used to the
highest of high-class. None of that really matters, though. She's
still a woman, and no woman can resist the simple and sincere
charm of a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day. And my crimson
beauties here are guaranteed to melt even the chilliest feminine
heart." He smiled fondly at the bouquet, which practically blazed
with the ruby highlights of the blooms.
With a sly grin and wink at his fidgetting customer, the old man
laid out a card and took up his pen. "So, are you _sure_ you don't
want your name on this? It seems a bit wasteful, because I can
promise you that your young lady friend will be putty in your
hands if she knows that you're the one that sent these..."
"NO, NO," Death stammered. "FOR NOW, A SIMPLE 'TO LADY
PHAIDOR, FROM YOUR SECRET ADMIRER' WILL SUFFICE."