Flowers! Yes, flowers. That’s it. It’s the only thing imaginable. Flowers for her. A masterful bouquet made uniquely and solely for her, ordained by a higher force. O, heavenly Chloris, wife of the West Wind, floral goddess, lead me to that ethereal posy I so long to find!

Ah, I can see them now, waiting for me at an unsuspecting florist miles away. Does the clerk have any idea? Could they possibly comprehend, with their visually over-capable mind, what sits in wait on a mundane shelf halfway down the northern wall? I think not. I know not.

At last, this day finds its raison d’être. I can rise from this stupor—continue this stupor?—and hurl myself into the world beyond my borders. This self-inflicted imprisonment shall end with the most romantic of ideals. I’ll walk out into the sunshine and feel its warmth unburden me and sanctify this most noble of acts!

But first, breakfast. To the kitchen I sneak, warily. Nobody knows of my culinary history. Summers spent on the French Riviera, conjuring gastronomical masterpieces for the Divers on balmy nights, leading only to debauchery for all.

Dick would pay me with whiskey and the finest Cuban cigars found this side of N’Orleans. Nicole sufficed me with subtle looks of admiration and wanton lust, causing decadent thoughts to run rife through my mind. I would choose the higher path and leave that stone well and truly unturned. Fucking Abe North. He’d scoff down my delights like they were 50c Dodger dogs. Drunken mongoloid.

The refrigerator’s tired sound reminds me of someone forcing gravel down a trash compactor. Will I anger it further by alleviating the goods housed within? I’m sorry, dear friend, you have one purpose and I intend to exploit you for it.

I take out a selection of fine vegetables and sliced meats and furiously dissect them into sandwich friendly portions. With the delicacy of a master horologist, I use my almost dainty hands to build a towering monstrosity of delicious beauty.

It sits before me on the coffee table and dares me to tackle it, and I do. But when I bite down, ferociously, channeling the roar of Aslan into a singular mandible crush, the back falls out. My roar is bone-frighteningly mediocre.

I stand and look down with disgust. You are a pox on my talent, an eyesore, and a boil in need of lancing. My reputation is ruined. I’ll never create art again.

It hurtles into the trash and my rage is far from abating. Cursing the refrigerator for its incessant nagging, I find the OJ and pour a glass and step onto the porch.

Rolling a cigarette, I suck it in as hard as my lungs will allow and a quarter of it disappears. It burns in my lungs but I hold it. The rush is coming and I breathe out, my anger vanishing with the smoke on the breeze. I swill the juice and vitamin C roars through my veins. My immune system gloats from this spike of pathological defence. The reinforcements have arrived, boys. Gung ho and all that. Huzzah!

Flowers! I’d almost forgotten. Praise Chloris for reminding me, that surreal deity!

I pick up some loose change from the patriarchal nightstand and find the starting line of this journey.

As my feet take me toward the bus stop, a raven flies by. Alright mate, I say. It winks at me. Ah, Hugin, it’s been too long! And where, might I be so bold to ask, is Munin? I’ve not heard from you both in an age. I know we must lie low, given the circumstances, but I do miss thee. No left eye is a bit rough when you don’t visit me. What’s that? It cannot be! He has not returned? Oh, Ragnarök has come to pass and where was I? Forgive me dear Thought!

I fall to my knees, prostrate and begging Mother Nature to forgive my insolence.

An old lady asks me if I’m OK and I tell her the end of days are near: Jörmungandr has finally released himself and the gates of hell have opened! Save yourself, save the children, run, run, run! For all that is holy and sacred leave your groceries and dig trenches. We need fresh water and canned goods.

She’s reeling. Wait, I say. God is dead. That raven is just a raven, a scavenger, and a vagabond. He is not Hugin and I am not Odin. My apologies, Miss. Enjoy your Monday.

I turn a corner and chuckle. Such stories. She’s probably feeling more anxious than when she was probably led to believe anyone could be a Communist. Will she report me? Could her cataract-laden eyes see me clearly? Would she be able to recollect my image to a police sketcher? Unnecessary thoughts. Keep walking, no time to waste. They’re waiting for me.

The bus isn’t late and I board with dignity and grace. Women, children, and men: they all board before I, a result of my upbringing. Chivalry is not dead. I harbor it deep within me. The driver notices and nods.

No, no, kind sir, no need to validate. There aren’t enough kindred spirits like you anymore. I thank him with a gracious bow and make my way to the back. The mothers whisper to their children what a role model I am. I smile and nod and wink and the sun comes out, as if it were patting me on the shoulder. Hyperion’s son, a buddy of mine. Who’d’ve thought it?

The sun tails the bus and hits the back of my neck and lulls me into a relaxing mood. I feel it starting to burn and I like it. Nothing wrong with a bit of colour, I always say that. Daydreams come think and fast and most of them surround one soon-to-be receiver of flowers. Yes, she swims through my mind. Like a kite gliding through Summer winds.

I find myself standing on the street I need to be on. It’s a bit of a walk and I need the exercise. I stretch my legs on a bench and ignore the judgmental looks. Fuck them. I start star jumping and leg kicking. After a time, they stop staring and I walk down the street.

Each shop window irks me. Pawn shops, wedding dress shops, and tobacco shops. I hate them all. The foul stench emanating from the bakeries and butchers make me retch, but I soldier on. The altar of Chloris, that delicate divinity, awaits me.

I can hear something. Has she employed the Sirens to attract unsuspecting men, making them unwilling consumers of her celestial wares? I can’t fall into such a trap yet I feel the notes pulling me. Earplugs. I need earplugs. Odysseus used beeswax for his men but I do not hail from Ithaca.

I saunter into a variety store and demand to know the whereabouts of earplugs.

I need earplugs, where are they? I say. The clerk points and I follow the angle of his extended index finger and discover the destination. There’s only one kind. I could spit.

At the counter he tells me it’ll be a dime and I concur. Walking out, armored to the teeth against the wiles of Chloris’ high priests, I hasten toward my goal.

I make a beeline for the florist. It’s next door. Composing myself takes all of a second. I am a spiritual being and I shall transcend any earthly wiles or deceit that try to drench me in confusion.

There they are. I see them with my searching eyes that no longer search. Words…words cannot describe them. Perfection. A floral ideal. Wares beyond mortal construction. This bouquet will do just fine. Yes.

How much?

Four dollars.

Four dollars! What! An outrage! No, no. I will give you eighty-five cents and not a dime more. Four dollars. Sir, with respect, you must be high. A highbrow capitalist trying to cash in on the romantic inclinations of a poor working boy. How do you sleep at night, sir? How indeed!

Alright, big guy, come on now. No need to get upset. You can have this one for eighty-five? This one’s nice.

That? That is but a drop in the ocean of this perfection! How can one bestow such a pitiful arrangement upon one so far beyond it? It would be a slight beyond recompense. I shan’t do it. No, sir, not I.

Then, boy, I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave.

Sir, I will offer you ninety-five cents. Final offer. That’s it. I can take this off your hands for no more than that. Think of it as a blessing on both ends.

OK, it’s time to leave. Don’t make me come over there.

I think to myself that this mongoloid won’t budge on the price. Well, I shan’t settle for less than perfect, so I vacate with haste.

I wander home in a haze of discontent. A sorrowful meandering with no destination but my sanctuary. I’ll feel better there, surely I will.

I cannot deal with the bus. People irk me. They’re buzzards. I take alleys and side streets. Main roads would prove to be hazardous.

How could I get so close with no reward? Am I Icarus? Have I flown too close to Helios, only to feel the cold sting of mortality? Muskeen me. I need a blank mind. I need to throw a blanket over my metaphysical self and pretend nothing is all there is.

I turn a corner and my street, the home stretch, unfolds before me. I’ve just rounded third and home is a mere metaphoric ninety feet away. I feel a surge of content. The sanctuary, it’s just over yonder. There, in the near.

But I stop. I see an umbrella, sitting beneath a tree. A fallen warrior. A guardian left to rot. It’s paid its dues, protecting those in need from the vile wrath of winter rain. Like a phalanx repelling hoards of barbarians. They were dashed against its shield wall. The purple heart? A silver cross? No medal can recompense this war veteran for the horrors it’s seen. And now it’s just left to die. Clear skies and soft winds blatantly mock him with pleasant ridicule.

I thank it, for all the times he hasn’t been thanked. I shoot a prayer to Zeus, the storm gatherer, in the hope that this tired soul can taste the glory of battle once more.

Hope. Perhaps there is still hope. Does the dawn of tomorrow bring a new beginning? Can these horrors be rectified? Hope. I will hold onto it like a vice.

I reach the gate and enter and walk the garden path. The flowers are all around me, so lovely, so delightful in scent and in sight. I lie amongst them and revel. They’re perfect. I lie there and wait for tomorrow. I lie there and let this floral oblivion take me until the dawn touches my face with a new beginning.

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