View Full Version : Orchids - for garza

August 20th, 2010, 08:34 PM
This is my ONLY g-rated story to date. It's not much fun :( but I promised garza...

“You guys understand, don’t you?” Hal asked softly. He was standing in the greenhouse, directing his question to the orchids. It was humid as hell in there and hot enough to cause streams of perspiration to course down his body and soak his shirt. But that is what the orchids liked. They also liked classical music, which was playing through a small stereo set in the corner of the greenhouse.

“All you care about are those damned flowers!” Katie had screamed months ago.

He wasn’t going to work today. Yesterday he left early; he had been worried about the flowers because there had been a power outage and he was afraid the little orchids would be unhappy without their music. He found the power intact and the flowers just fine. The orchids could probably use some plant food, though. Hal walked out of the greenhouse and got into his car, heading to the nursery.

In the plant food/fertilizer aisle he pored over the choices for tropical plants. He thought the last batch he got might have not been as good for his orchids as it should have been. Spotting a woman with a red apron, he went over to her to ask about the food. “Hello Gail,” he said, recognizing her.

“Hi, Hal! How are you?”

“Fine,” he said shortly. “Which of these plant foods is best for my orchids?”

She went with him back to the aisle and looked around briefly before selecting a package. “This stuff should be great for all tropical plants. It’s a good formula.”


“So how’s Katie? Haven’t seen her in awhile.”

“I don’t know. She’s gone.”



“What do you mean?”

“I mean she left me. Took a powder. Hit the highway. Bailed. Pick your favorite idiom.”

“Oh. Sorry.” Gail turned red and lowered her head a bit.

Hal went to the cashier, paid, and headed home again. So what if Katie was gone? Who cared? Hal sure as hell didn’t. He also didn’t care about his crappy job, or his crummy car, or his lousy life. He had the orchids, and they would always be there, provided Hal did his job and took good care of them. He had cared for these fragile little flowers for two years, giving them nutrients and water and humidity, trying to duplicate their original environment (in this case, the tropical Americas). He provided classical music, but avoided Wagner and others whose hard-hitting notes and extreme amplitude in volume and tone might upset the flowers. Hal made a special recording just for the plants, one that featured only soft music. The overture to “William Tell” was tempered by the removal of the fourth piece (most would call this the “William Tell Overture” but they would be wrong; it was only the final installment of the overture, best known for being the theme music for “Lone Ranger.”)

The flowers thrived. Hal gave them their nutritional supplement and could feel their approval of the choice in food. He sat with them every night and tried to visit them whenever he could. He now sat on a stool, talking to them, soothing them. They were his friends. He had no others.

“Why did Katie leave me?” he asked. The orchids remained mute. He wondered if they had any sentience at all, if they ever had even the remotest thing we call “thought.” The flowers were, of course, heliophilic and hydrophilic, but those were banal and atavistic characteristics. Also, certain frequencies of sound resulted in root, stem and flower development. But did they have any consciousness?

“You guys… come on. Talk to me.” Hal was only hoping, but knew plant life couldn’t “talk.” It probably communicated only through olfaction, if at all. Sitting among the flowers, Hal could feel their serenity. They were happy. He wasn’t.

The sun cast its last few shadows of the day. Hal sat with the orchids. He was alone with his only friends.

August 21st, 2010, 01:36 AM
Disclaimer - I do not make my living writing fiction as some here do, but only non-fiction, so my comments are the comments of a reader, not a professional writer of fiction.

No fun? Well, Hal's life dosen't sound like much fun, but it's real. It's here on the page in front of me. You've created a character. You've given him life. With no physical description in front of me I can see the man in my mind, sitting hunched over on a little stool in the hothouse, swinging a cloth cap between his knees, talking softly to the orchids.

Now you have no excuse for writing only x-rated stories. You've proven your ability to do otherwise. Do more like this.

If you want some nit-picking, here's one. 'She accompanied him back to the aisle...' is a little stilted. 'She went with him...' would be better, I think.

Now if you can only get a critique from Downunderland...

August 21st, 2010, 01:45 AM
Okay, I fixed the board-stiff language in that passage.

I STILL think the story is boring as hell! No blood, no sex, no naughty language... sheeeeesh. :)

Downunder, you're up.

August 21st, 2010, 12:27 PM
I liked it. Sure, it may not have been nearly exciting as Obsession, but I still think it had a nice plot, and nice characters. I even liked Hal, however 'not fun' he seemed. Again, I really liked it, especially how Hal dedicated his time to the flowers, lost everyone close to him because of them. I think that's real.

I also liked the last line. It sort of flows, some how.

All in all, it was really good. :D

The Backward OX
August 21st, 2010, 12:28 PM
Sorry, both of you, but I’ve been warned off making the type of comment I feel is appropriate.


Olly Buckle
August 21st, 2010, 10:00 PM
I found it incredible that someone who was that into his flowers did not know which fertiliser he wanted, apart from that a nice little story, open enough for people to see varied metaphorical messages to suit their taste, or otherwise apparently in one case.

August 22nd, 2010, 08:28 PM
Olly, it was kind of a tough write for me. The plot wasn't too great, and you're right, the guy should have known his fertilisers. Thanks for the positives, I appreciate it. Good to know that, when pressed, I can actually write something that doesn't include knives or the f-word.

August 22nd, 2010, 08:31 PM
Sorry, both of you, but I’ve been warned off making the type of comment I feel is appropriate.
When you see my posts, why don't you just stay off the discussion board, huh? I'll just keep reporting you as a nuisance.