Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Valentine's Day Story

Sometimes I get blog ideas and I'll dash off a couple of sentences, save a draft, and then leave them to stew for a while. If I feel a little short on inspiration, like today, I'll pick one and flesh it out.

This draft was written exactly a month ago, on the 13th of November. All I had were two sentences:

Pepe and the chocolate
"Is that his tongue?" asked Sonya in horror.

Here's the fleshy bit...


During Uni, I worked at my sister's florist business in Fremantle. It was on High Street and called "A Black Cat Florist". And every year we would get caught up in the flood that is known as Valentine's Day.

Florists love and hate Valentine's Day. They love it because it's the one day of the year where they earn enough money to pay off all their debts. They hate it because they have to work their butts off and they know they won't get any sleep the night before.

Valentine's Day in Australia can be a nightmare, because here Valentine's Day falls in late summer. It doesn't help that, for weeks beforehand, wholesale flower sellers stockpile roses in icy coolrooms, long past their usual best-before date. Then one day they're taken out of their cryonic suspension, stripped, trimmed, handled, wrapped, and delivered during the worst heat of the day. Woe betide you if you're not home to receive them and they have to be left by the door! You'll be murmuring, "My love is like limp pot-pourri and a puddle of chocolate," à la Robbie Burns.

The night before Valentine's Day was sheer chaos. We stayed up till 4am, dethorning roses, arranging roses, wrapping roses. We also put little soft-centred chocolates in with the arrangements, for that something extra. Turkish Delight, Raspberry, Toffee, Caramel.

Our little dachshund Pepe was still alive then, and he would lie on the floor in furry slug mode, sleepily watching the hustle and bustle. Occasionally we'd trip over him or give him a pat.

We were all working at full speed, my sister, her assistant, Sonya, and me, and Pepe was happily munching away on something he had found on the floor.

Someone tripped and accidentally stepped on his paw. He yelped and a brown and red slimy object plopped out of his mouth. Pepe retreated into a corner and looked scared.

We all stared at the...thing, and then Sonya shrieked, "Oh my god! Is that his tongue?"

No one moved. I was ready to cry over the fate of our poor little dog.

Finally I knelt down and picked it up while everyone backed away. It was warm and sticky and my stomach turned. Then I looked a little closer.

It was a half-eaten Turkish Delight.

1 Comment:

Zandria said...

I enjoyed your post, and used a quote of yours here. :)