Happy Tuesday and welcome to my latest Tuesday's Tales entry. This week's prompt was "flower". I wanted to write something a little different rather than the usual gift of bouquets of roses that immediately popped into my head. Hence this week's story, which is another adventure between Eric and his sweetie.
To read the rest of the stories by some fine authors, visit the Tuesday's Tales Web Site.
Eric got another bizarre idea in his head. He took me to a museum to see the stinkiest flower on earth. The Cape Ann Botanical Garden was only a twenty minute drive from home. We arrived mid-afternoon, just as the line to see Amorphosphallus Titanum in all its glory had died down.
"You can't be like other men and buy me a bouquet of roses?" I asked.
"What other men have bought you roses?" Eric asked with a twinkle in his eye.
"None, silly. I just don’t know what's so special about a flower that stinks."
"You'll see. You've never seen anything like this in your life." He said as followed the crowd down the hallway into the main area of the Gardens. The sweet smell of roses, sweet pea, and butterfly bushes floated around me. I stopped to admire some spider plants growing out of a tall tree.
"Now that's neat-looking. I love spider plants. They're easy to grow," I said. "Didn't I see some starter plants for sale at the front door?"
"Yes. We can get one when we get out." He took me by the hand and guided me away from the greenery. "The big one is down this way."
"Tell me again why we're seeing this?"
"Because it's impressive and it's new. The Gardens has been on a waiting list to get one of these babies. Now, it's blooming and it's supposed to be something incredible to behold."
"Even though it smells like spoiled meat."
"Yes. Even so."
I thought he was exaggerating, but I wanted to humor him. He was so excited about this silly plant that I played along with him. We'd see it, ooh and ah, and then go out for lobster dinner.
"It's right around this corner. You'll be impressed. You'll see."
"I'll take your word for it. It couldn't be any worse than that durian fruit we found at the Asian grocer. That stuff smelled like a rancid onion had married a pair of dirty gym socks." We turned the corner. "I guess I'll believe it when –"
The stink struck me hard in the face. It was unlike anything I had ever smelled before. Noxious and unbelievably vile, I now understood why this flower was nicknamed the Corpse Flower. It must have been ten feet tall, and it looked like a calla lily that had gone insane. The "petals" – I didn’t know what else to call them – were deep red in color and the dark purple inner stalk nearly touched the ceiling. It looked like a flower made of meat. The smell was a sickening sweet stench similar to rotting pork but much, much worse. My eyes watered; the smell was so intense.
"What the fresh hell…" I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand.
"Impressive, isn't it?" Eric asked. "It's pollinated by dung beetles and flesh flies."
I had to admit it floored me. "It's stunning in a disgusting and beautiful way." I could only stare at it as I fought the urge to sneeze.
Eric already had his iPhone out and took pictures of it. "For your Facebook page. You can tell everyone I took you to see a Corpse Flower. Now, what do you say we go around and visit the less noxious plants?"
We spent the rest of the afternoon admiring water gardens and seasonal blooms. My favorite area held the tropical plants. I stuck my nose in everything to get the smell of that Corpse Flower out of my nose, but nothing worked. It was like a noseworm, stuck there until something else replaced it. On our way home, Eric stopped at a florist and bought me a dozen red roses, mainly to get the smell of the Corpse Flower out of my nose. It worked. That flower would haunt me in dreams for the next week. I must admit, I loved my exertions with Eric. I never knew what to expect. He knew he owed me a lobster dinner so we headed straight for Lobstah Land to end our exciting evening.
Author's Note: Amorphosphallus Titanum is a real plant, and it does smell like a rotting corpse. For more information, see its Wikipedia page.