Posted: April 18, 2012 in Creative Writing Wednesday
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I completely forgot that it was Creative Writing Wednesday.

Because I am an idiot.

Anyway, because I didn’t prepare anything, and there’s only an hour of Wednesday left today, then I decided to pull out the opening to a story that I wrote back in the summer. It’s about plants.

Maybe I’ll post the full story sometime. For now, this is just a fragment.

Hope you enjoy.

~ Ian


Apartment 29

Lyndsi Salvatore kept plants in her apartment.

It began as a hobby, a way to keep herself sane while she job-hunted. She’d been fired from her job as a salesperson at Agilix Software, so she had a lot of free time. At first she job hunted, but as time wore on, she found herself going out less and less, sitting around in her apartment in her pajamas, watching crappy TV and eating junk food.

One day, when she was out on a routine grocery run, she passed a gardening store on Bascom Avenue. She thought, hey, what the hell, she’d go in and have a look; she had nothing but time on her hands. So she went in and came out with a snake plant (Sansivieria trifasciata), because she liked how it looked.

The next day, she stopped at the same store to get fertilizer. The man behind the counter talked her into buying an African Violet (Saintpaulia ionantha pendula), an Umbrella Plant (Schefflera arboricola), and a rubber plant (Ficus elastica).

The weeks turned into months and she was still jobless, living off her savings account and her parents’ money. Her apartment slowly filled with plants. First the main room was filled, then the bedroom and bathroom. Harsh California light filtered into her bedroom through the winding leaves of an English Ivy (Hedera helix), becoming soft and green. Her apartment was humid and full of the smell of plants. Sometimes she felt like she was breathing through a thick soup. Apartment 29 was filled with green, velvety-soft shadows.

To be honest, even though her savings account was rapidly shrinking, she liked having plants in her apartment. When she was eleven, Lyndsi’s parents took her and her two sisters on a vacation to Costa Rica, and they’d walked in the high cloud forests. The light and humidity in her apartment reminded her of that Costa Rican jungle, and her apartment was transfigured into a treasured childhood memory.

Even so, she was occasionally aware tha she had a problem.

“I feel like I’m turning into the neighborhood cat lady,” said Lyndsi to Yu-mei, her last friend from Agilix Software, as they ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant in Campbell. “Except that I’m not a cat lady. I’m a plant lady. My apartment is overrun with plants.”

Yu-mei was originally from Taiwan, and refused to eat Mexican food despite the fact that she had lived in California since childhood. Even so, she humored Lyndsi by nibbling tortilla chips and sipping a Mexican coke while Lyndsi ploughed through her chicken-and-nopales enchilada. “You know, having plants isn’t necessarily not a bad thing,” she said. “I mean, plants’ll never shit on your floor or puke on your furniture.”

Lyndsi took a sip of her draft Negro Modelo and licked the beer mustache off her upper lip. “I know. It still doesn’t make me feel any better.”

“Hey, did you hear about that case in Santa Cruz County where there was some mountain man who kept, like, thousands of cats in his trailer?” asked Yu-mei. “They were starving, ‘cause the guy who owned them fed them next to nothing. So they started eating each other. Eventually there were corpses all over the place, and the SPCA had to be sent in to clear away the bodies. The guy got serious jail time. I heard that one of the workers described it as a ‘feline mass grave’.”

“Wow,” said Lyndsi. “How could somebody live with so many cats?”

“Beats me. People do weird shit over the hill.”

Lyndsi cut a piece of enchilada with the side of her fork and spooned it into her mouth. “Well, I’m not that bad. You would never need to call plant protective services for my apartment.”

“Do they even have plant protective services?”

“I have no idea.”

Yu-mei took another sip of her Mexican coke. “So, what are you going to be doing later this week? Any job interviews lined up?”

“You know I don’t have any interviews, Yu-mei.”

“That’s too bad.”

“Yeah. Getting fired from Agilix was the worst thing that ever happened to me. By the way– can you pay for lunch?”

“What? I thought we were going to go dutch!”

“Yeah, well, I’m almost broke. I’ve got about two hundred dollars left in my savings, and I’m pretty sure my parents are going to stop just letting me use them as an interest-free indefinite loan.”

“Oh. Well, if you insist, I can pay–”

“Plus I want to stop at that gardening store on Bascom on the way home. I want to get some fertilizer, and–”

“Oh my God, Lyndsi! You’re broke, and you’re thinking about buying plants?”

“Not plants. Plant-related parapharnalia.”

Yu-mei looked Lyndsi in the eye, and sighed. “Lyndsi, I was wrong: you have a serious problem. You’re broke and jobless. Stop buying plants, and plant-related parapharnalia, and anything other than what you need to survive. Do you understand me?”

Lyndsi sighed. “Fine. If you really want me to, I won’t go to the gardening store.”

“You have to promise me, Lyndsi.”

“Yeah. Okay. I promise.”

“Okay,” said Yu-mei. She smiled. “Don’t worry. I’ll get the bill. As a favor.”

But as she hugged Yu-mei goodbye, Lyndsi realized that she wasn’t going to keep her promise. She really needed fertilizer, and maybe a plant or two…

That gardening store on Bascom was great. They made their own special blend of fertilizer.

*Of course it’s not the end. I still have the rest of the story to put out here. Eventually. ~ Ian

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