Quies closed early on Fridays so he could check his inventory and catch up on mailing orders. He flipped the We're Open! sign back, pulled the hanging bell out of the way, and stepped out into the late afternoon long enough to pull the heavy steel grate closed over his storefront. It was still too early, but he looked westward down the street and watched for a few long moments at where the sun would be dipping below the horizon. With a half-hearted sigh, he stepped back inside.
The front window had a shelf that help some
not-so-rare, nice-looking flowers. He picked up the clipboard he'd lain
down a few minutes ago and pulled a pencil from behind his ear.
bushes of black roses, check. One each of Roooy... Gee... Bivv..." he
counted out slowly, checking as he eyeballed each and examined for signs
of wilting. And white. One white." He held on of the newest opened buds
tenderly, stroking the petals, efore letting it go and moving on.
after the window displays were his aggressive plants. "South American
carnivorous snapdragon, check. Irish hungry grass, check. Black mercy
secure," he rustled the enclosure, 'in it's Emrys-Faraday cage, check.
Two bloodflowers," he leaned close to the glass, and saw and smelt the
impact of fresh spit, "Vemon still potent, check. And one Krynoid,
Following those sat his resource-plants, those
whose seeds, roots, buds, and leaves could be harvested without
affecting the plant's livelihood or continues growth. "One Salvia,
check. One mutated aum plant, check. One each of batthorn and wolfsbane,
check. One happy plant, check. One nest of katterpods, check. One
genically engineered kyrt vine, check. One miniature paopu tree, check.
One young peya bush, check. One bushel of sser berries, check. One
miniature herbah tree with delighted silkworms, check."
one his sales floor, but for the racks of dried stock that lined the
wall and hung from the rafters, were his preserved plants, and these,
rather than sitting below sun lamps and skylights, were entombed in
darkglass coffins that let in just enough light to see them by and let
out just enough cold to know that the cryonics were still running. "One
miniature Bob with annoyed young Harold, check. One adolescent cactacae,
check. Two baby elowans, one male and one female, check. One integral
tree sapling, check. On pair of mangaboos, check. One full-bloom
night-blooming mock orchid, check."
smiling at the memory of hunting this one down in his younger days. It
took several years to find, several weeks to build a deep-freeze
enclosure around it, several days of trigger-happy sleeplessness, and a
percarious airlift out of that horrible place. Only after it was secure
did he even think about going back for his equipment, and some of it was
misteriously damaged when he retured. Still, it was well worth the
effort for this beauty.
He glanced back down at his list, and continued.
full-bloom re-annual plant, check. One sapling sapient pearwood, check.
One tirils, with intact case, check. One full-bloom vul nut vine,
Quies stepped behind his counter, filed away to
inventory list, and picked up his competed bok of books. He staggered
slightly under the weight as he carried it into the back room and sorted
it into the packed bookshelves.
Feeling heavy yawns
coming on, Quies double-checked his quadruple-locked doors, picked up
mail that had fallen through is rear mail-slot during the day, and
climbed the narrow staircase to his small apartment above the store. He
set the mail on his bedside table, undressed, and climbed into bed.