New employee: "Jessica collects fake flowers? She, uh, doesn't seem like the type."
Floral manager: "She writes poetry too. We have a few people who come in asking for her specifically. She puts a lot of time and effort into her arrangements. She does it on her own outside of work, I don't think she really makes any money, she's a single mom, someone in her family needs constant supervision. She has to have something to do when she's caring for her loved one." I overhear the exchange from around the corner and laugh to myself, if he only knew...
X: Flowers and funerals are frequently associated terms. It's almost like you can't have one without the other. As a serial planner with an interest in botanicals I fully support this practice. During the day I work at a small organic grocery store. I work right next to the floral department by choice and design. Periodically someone will come up to me with a request that other employees never receive. We have a code worked out and I take certain measures to guarantee that I understand what my customer is requesting. The Language of Flowers takes some time to learn, once you're better acquainted with it you can carry out an entire conversation that anyone can listen in on without someone suspecting I'm doing anything other than taking an order that requires my particular set of skills. I never attend the funerals, but I like to visit graves and leave a token of my appreciation behind. Just yesterday I left a grouping of orange day lilies near an unremarkable stone. Flowers that are just as fake as you were I thought to myself as I walked away.
IX: Not everyone is trying to get rid of someone. Sometimes I get requests for arrangements for someone who is seeking a deeper romantic connection. These people can be the worst. Rather than trust that I know what I'm doing and leave the details up to me they want to try and dictate what I do. They want it to be nice, but not too expensive or extravagant. They know him or her much better than I do they tell me. The last lady I had didn't want her flowers to be displayed in the bathroom. It was unhygienic she told me as if the phone she was shrieking into was any cleaner than the surfaces in the lavatory. Flowers in the bedroom would send the message more clearly, he would walk into the room and see them sitting out on the dresser. She would wear lingerie that she had recently purchased. People like this have no imagination and fail to appreciate creativity. Small wonder her man is sleeping with her best friend's sister. She thought the bluebells in the bathroom were beautiful. I didn't charge her for anything.
VIII: People make mistakes. I'm no different than anyone else this way. From time to time someone will remember that I did flowers for a wedding they attended, perhaps it was their own. Men typically leave these details to the bride, but occasionally he sits in on the meeting. While I can't read minds I often speculate on what someone else may be thinking. They were young and in love. Actually, he had piles of money and she knew it. He loved art, I saw a grouping his mother had relinquished to the attic. I was stunned by the sensitivity his works conveyed. He didn't want to talk about anything he had made. I can understand that. He was marrying her because that's what his parents wanted. Small family business connected to a much larger one made sense to them. He was a minimalist. Based on what I had seen of his art I suggested forgoing flowers altogether, but before he could advance his ideas his bride to be interrupted. The pebbles around her grave are tidy and neatly raked. It takes time, but he's worth it.
VII: Get well soon is a phrase you hear uttered in many hospitals and group homes. What better way to help your friend or family member recover than by burdening them with real flowers that are going to wither and die, or a faux arrangement that will need to be dusted after they find a place to display it when they get back home? I'd make less money if people took my more practical suggestions, but there are so many cheap bastards out there. Mom would want flowers they tell me. No, actually you want to avoid doing housework for the woman who brought you into this world. I handed him a card that said 'No Woman Ever Shot Her Husband While He Was Doing Dishes'. He's annoyed with me, but he doesn't want to spend a lot of time or money on his mom so he hands over a couple of twenties. I decide not to charge him for the flowers and fold the money into tiny cranes that fly over the blossoms. She starts crying when she sees what I've done for her. I pretend it was his idea. I wipe down her sink and empty her trash on my way out.
VI: A lot of the environmentalists mean well, they think that real flowers are going to decompose and enjoy a glorious rebirth as fertile soil nourishing hearty artisanal pumpkins and harvest moon squash. Some of these people fail to consider what it costs to transport flowers from where they're actually grown to where they would like them to be displayed. I know I'm dealing with a wannabe when they snub flowering kale which is an item that is actually more likely to be alive during the fall in Wisconsin. This January has been a particularly brutal month. People can put on extra layers. Guess what lady, your calla lilies can't go to the store and lay down thirty-five bones for a pair of locally made swittens - these are mittens made from sweaters, get it? I measured a length of ribbon and twisted it carefully. Reading about her death made me sad. Who knew that brake fluid could freeze in below zero weather? She didn't have time to come to a complete stop and ran right into the back end of a monster truck that was headed up North to go ice fishing.
I swear that this had nothing to do with me, I don't kill people just because they annoy me, I'd like to, but this is bad for business. I don't have time to dispose of everyone that low level irritates me. Do you know how much time goes into planning a murder? I have orders to unpack, greenery to unwind, supplies to organize, I can't just take out a gun and shoot people merely because they aggravate me. Neighbors complain about things like frequent gunshots and silencers are expensive. Cutting off an airway is much cheaper and quieter. I can also write off the ribbon as a business expense. It's all about maximizing your resources and minimizing your costs and risks. Sooner or later people are going to notice that customers go in one door and get shipped out in boxes used for Christmas trees and other large items. Sometimes I do have to outsource business. This is why I live in the hood. Nobody is too surprised when a drug deal gone wrong leaves a victim at my doorstep. I wink at the husky scarred man, nobody in his family pays for flowers and they're good about recycling. Tweaking an arrangement that survived one outing means I have more time to spend on other items that require my urgent attention.
V: The internet forums are busy this time of year. People living in colder climates need to keep themselves and any offspring they may have entertained during these long winter months. This is actually how I got into arranging flowers. My grandmother saved everything. She lived through the Great Depression, I walked down into her basement and knew I had to do something or pretty soon nobody would be able to tell that there was a chest freezer up against the far wall. We were keeping the neighbor's dog in there for storage until the weather warmed up and we could give it a proper burial. I liked the beast better than his owner who was a chronic complainer. She didn't have enough crackers for the chili we had brought. When we came back with a brand new box it wasn't the brand she prefers. I was trying to get my nieces to gather fallen petals from my grandmother's collection when the call came that this woman had slipped and fractured her skull when she had fallen on the ice. This is another instance when I was unfairly blamed. I'd like to think that I'm fairly intelligent, but I can't exactly think people dead you know...
IV: Decorating became a side hobby of mine when I saw how flowers could add to, or detract from a space. My grandmother had a lot of silk flowers, not much money, and plenty of time on her hands. I'm not sure who went ahead with the bronzed bamboo wallpaper in the front entryway, metallics are considered neutrals in footwear, to see an entire wall done in black fronds against a shimmering blaze of migraine inducing color was really something. You have to really hate people to do something like that to them. Sometimes I think people like me get a bad rap. I take people out of their misery, I don't make any attempts to prolong it or induce suffering. My grandmother loved flowers. You have to love them if you insist on papering your kitchen with buttercups the size of a grown man's head. I had to take that paper down after an unfortunate incident. Here's a decorating tip from a pro: bloodstains are a bad idea unless you're aiming for the ink blot look. Hint - law enforcement agents have been trained to recognize these types of patterns.
III: Flowers are a way to explore your creative side. You can use them to decorate your baked goods, adorn knitted or crocheted items, the possibilities are practically endless when you contemplate how many ways you can use flowers to lend your item a unique look. One of the things I like to encourage is free association and the active use of flowers. People tend to think of them as passive, but the act of giving can play a role in how they are perceived. Let's take a scenario from my personal life. The other day I was thinking about someone I love. When money is tight, but you want to show someone you care, consider using what you have in new ways. When was the last time you woke up and found a flower reclining on a fresh box of toothpaste? This is not meant to imply that every time a man spends the night he's going to get blown in my bathroom, but I enjoy the eroticism provided by flesh and flowers, it's a welcome stress reliever in my life. His too I hope.
II: Traditionally flowers are given to new mothers. This is a wonderful way to welcome a life into this world, flowers can be used to celebrate other joyous occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, I tip my hat to those who actually want to voluntarily spend time with and live with another person 24/7. I like sex just as much as the next red blooded female, but living with someone is a risk, especially when one of your hobbies involves smuggling precious gems in and out of the country. Flowers are almost universally accepted and admitted, I've gotten into all sorts of places I shouldn't have just because I was the flower lady and nobody pays too much attention to people in the service industry. I wear a nondescript apron and place the gems carefully. I buy costume jewelry at thrift stores and take my time replacing the ersatz with the genuine. This is way more than slapping a tennis bracelet around a bouquet of roses. Almond sized diamonds can be particularly challenging, people think this type of work is little more than fake flowers and floral clay, but truly ingenious and clever arrangements are worth their weight in literal semi-precious stones.
Since I'm taking on quite a bit of risk I charge for this. I pay taxes on it of course, I collect attorneys and accountants, better to go to jail for transporting undeclared items across international borders than income tax evasion. That cheats everyone and I'm only billing people who can afford to pay.
I: Floral arrangements can be a way to apologize to someone. To express your sorrow, to convey your condolences. The truth is I'm allergic to a lot of real flowers and that makes me sad. I try to use high quality silk, I take a lot of pride in what I do for others. Our legal and judicial sytems are burdened, constrained, inefficient, recividism is high, perhaps my methods are unconventional, I like to think of it as a public service. I do for profit what institutions build into our taxes. When you think about it, returning a body to the forest, a pond, or wildlife refuge is honoring the cycle of life. We came from dust and we shall return to it. I'm not trying to get all philosophical with you here, but I think we need to take a moment and reflect on our lives and what we're doing with them. I try to be an authentic person, fake flowers bother me, but I am practical enough to see their utility.
Maybe it's time for me to turn over a new leaf, mend my ways, and look to the light. I could make this a New Year's Resolution, because we all know how many of those are still in effect today. I hope this gave you some more insight and information, I'm not exactly rich, but it gives me something to do with my time and restless energy. I wish I could keep more of the money, but I make it a policy to donate a percentage of my profits to a charity that would have served my victim better were they still alive to attend group meetings. It is truly my pleasure to serve this community in my own way. Thank you for this opportunity, if your life is ever requested by another, know that it will be spared due to these kindnesses. May your days, nights, and love be as real as the lilies of the field who neither spin nor toil, yet Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as richly as the flowers who are here today, and gone tomorrow.
P.S. My prices aren't fixed. If you need something in a hurry I'll do my best to be accomodating. I like to negotiate, but if I feel like you're not playing fair, I have my own ways of getting even. Just ask the couple that thought they could low ball my assistant. It's a shame that they spent the majority of their tropical honeymoon on fresh ice because the local morgue had been ravaged by Hurricane Maria. God rest their souls.