This is a 1,000 word story
Location: Flower Shop
Mr. Brownfield could feel Harold looking at him. Brownfield closed his eyes, took a deep breath and potted the plant how he wanted to do it anyway. The Greenhouse was slow and Brownfield was trying out new things to pass the time. Harold the goldfish just did what he always did, swim in his bowl and shake his head at Brownfield. After the shop was tidied up, Brownfield locked up and headed home without saying a word to Harold.
When Brownfield came in the next morning Mrs. Flowers was sitting at the register, smiling at Harold and sprinkling food into his bowl, blowing kisses at him.
Brownfield said hello to Mrs. Flowers and Harold. He told Mrs. Flowers she looked lovely and gritted his teeth as he told Harold that his bowl looked very clean. He set down his bag and went to look at the Marigold plant he potted the day before, it was on its way to dying already.
It was Friday morning and the shipment was about to come in, carnations and star gazing lilies and pansies for the spring. Mrs. Flowers yelled to Brownfield and he heard the front door bell go off. Brownfield ran up to front and saw only Harold, who snickered at him, probably because the marigold was dying. Brownfield would have to unload and inspect the plants and begin arranging them to be sold off as birthday and anniversary gifts. Mrs. Flowers, his mother-in-law, would want to see everything looking beautiful.
Harold laughed, as if he knew Brownfield was thinking about Flowers and was stressing himself out again. Brownfield went in the back room because he didn’t want Harold to see him cry, like a girl scout who just burnt a batch of brownies and lost her baking badge, again. Brownfield was in the back wiping tears from his eyes with a small bouquet of roses and wondering if he’d ever win Mrs. Flowers approval and if he should get the tips of his hair frosted this weekend to look good for the busy week next week when he heard the front door bell chime, letting him know someone was walking in the store.
Brownfield walked up front and saw a man staring at the sign sitting next to Harold next to the register on the desk up front. The sign said “Welcome to Flowers Greenhouse. This is Harold The Goldfish, please look around and let Harold know if you have any questions.”
The customer looked up at Brownfield as he came to the desk and asked “What kinda crazy flower store is this, with a salesfish?”
“Oh trust me he’s very good,” Brownfield said with a laugh, extending his hand to the customer.
The customer shook Brownfield’s hand and asked for a display of flowers for his wife. Brownfield helped the man pick out a lovely bouquet of pink roses and charged him and waved to him as he left. Harold chuckled.
“Shut up,” Brownfield told Harold. “You couldn’t have made him a Greenhouse Flower Grabber either. Nobody ever signs up for those frequent buyer cards. Mrs. Flowers is crazy. No wait, I didn’t say that. Harold you didn’t hear me say that. I didn’t say that.”
Brownfield took down Mrs. Flowers sign about asking Harold and went in back again to arrange the shipment. He knew that Harold was going to tell Mrs. Flowers what he said. Harold was always whispering to customers when Brownfield was in back. Brownfield knew Harold was telling the customers about his crying and how he only worked in the greenhouse because he was the owner’s son-in-law. But Brownfield couldn’t kill the goldfish. He had tried. Somehow the fish was immune to the poisons Brownfield mixed in with the fish food and he was too slippery to grab so that Brownfield could inject him with a syringe of something. Brownfield couldn’t fit a butcher knife in the fish bowl to slice Harold’s throat. It was impossible to kill him.
Brownfield couldn’t fill the fishes bowl with chlorine or anything, Mrs. Flowers would notice that and she loved the fish. She made Harold salesfish of the month, every month.
Brownfield finished the shipment duties and went up front to lock up the store. He did all the closing duties, inventory, cleaning and balancing the cash register. Harold didn’t do anything.
“This is why I don’t like you Harold,” Brownfield said to him as he Windexed the windows. “You never do anything, no work. You just sit there and judge people and look cute for Mrs. Flowers. One of these days I’ll find a way to kill a fish. You’ll be sorry. You make the working conditions here hell. It’s a very uncomfortable work environment, you know that right?”
Brownfield finished up and told Harold goodnight and locked up the greenhouse. He wanted to go home, read the new issue of Lumberjacks Today Magazine and get to bed early, so he could come in early on a Saturday, have the pansies for the spring sale all organized and set up in the front of the store and impress Mrs. Flowers.
When Brownfield opened up Flowers Greenhouse Saturday morning he didn’t see Harold. His heart stopped for pi seconds and his mouth hung agape. His cock might have grown hard but he’d never admit that. Harold was gone. Brownfield smiled. He’d be salesMAN of the month now. He’d laugh joyfully and run a happy greenhouse without Harold’s oppressive stare covering everything. Brownfield closed the door, dropped his bag. He danced a jig, twirled, closed his eyes and sang out at the top of his lungs “I’m every woman.”
“I wish my daughter had married a woman,” Mrs. Flowers said.
Brownfield opened his eyes and saw Mrs. Flowers walking to the front desk carrying Harold in a larger bejeweled bowl with TOP EMPLOYEE written on it.
With cold disappointment in her voice Mrs. Flowers said “There’s a dying marigold in the back, every son, go throw it away.”