Thursday, 1 December 2022

Write … Edit … Publish … Bloghop / ISWG hop:The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

 

I was a bit surprised that she came up to me offering a special plant … ah well – I could (and must be nice – though we've never really got on) – a woman with always a contrary thought about life in general.




But what could I do … so together we go to her cottage with its overflowing plants et al … she shows me the enormous pot with a tall spadix already quite tall … saying it'll be great for your Christmas party … this flower spike will open into the most beautiful flower … you've enough room for it.



We get the pot home and I think no more … doing what I'm told – put the pot in a warm and light position … our ground floor extends down a few steps into a comfortable conservatory …



Two of these plants

I did thank her most profusely for her apparently generous gift … during the next few days this inflorescence keeps growing … as party time approaches.




The day of the get-together … the house is warm, welcoming and cosy … family have arrived and are staying over, the Aga bakes away … the scented Christmassy smells perfume the rooms …



Spadix


I noticed that flower spike is getting very tall … I'd been warned, but also that old lady had mentioned its height … but said the beautiful ruby red flower will astonish us … it looked like she'd be right …




We were ready … the food was out, tables overflowing, decorations brightened the rooms, we were dressed to the nines … and were looking forward to a wonderful day with the weekend ahead …


I just had a lingering thought … there was something amiss … but the wonderful classical selection of Christmas music, that my husband had put together, resonated through the house … just gorgeous … I could happily lie down, doze and listen … but I must get to it – to welcome our guests to the party.


Pouffy whiffy ... 

I loved seeing family and friends … but that fishy niff was getting stronger … meatier, positively foulnow a pong, a stench even … oh dear – where on earth was it coming from …



Old wrinkly hag

That plant had come courtesy of that wretched old hag – she was malevolent ... people always said she had a vengeful side to her ... how right they were ...



The flower was in full bloom ... a rich deep ruby purply red ... beautiful ... but? -


oh oh … the boys are shouting at me … “we're taking that pot outside … that flower whiffs beyond belief ...”






Most definitely The First Time I Saw Your Face, is the last time I want to be near one of your sort – pouff, pouffy …




Tag line:  Glory Be … a Cruel Unmasking … What a Stink for Christmas Joy …




For information: 

Chicago Botanic Garden - details (pdf) of Titan arum ... 


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

54 comments:

hels said...

How did you know, or should have known that she was malevolent and vengeful? Have you had a bad experience before?

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Hels - it's only a story ... for WEP - cheers Hilary

Jemi Fraser said...

Fantastic!!!
What a wonderfully evil plan she had!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
LOL - what fun! I guess that would be the 'time bomb' gift of a misanthrope, right enough.

Back in 2015, I had the great privilege of actually seeing a Corpse Lily in flower (that links to the blog post with photos). I don't recall that much in the way of odour though... YAM xx

Annalisa Crawford said...

Love it! And the moral is obviously be wary of gardeners... I've had my doubts already 🤣

Liz A. said...

She would not get away with that prank around my parts. There are a couple places that that stinky thing grows, and every time it blooms it makes the local news. People from pretty far away come to see the thing. So, it's pretty common knowledge what it'll smell like when it blooms, so no one in my area would allow the thing in their house.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jemi - thanks ... I felt it was a good story line ... am happy you thought it 'fun'!

@ Yam - delighted you enjoyed it ... yes a 'stink-bomb' just at the wrong moment ... and yes she could be described as a misanthrope ...

I didn't like to name it as a Corpse flower - which as you rightly say it actually is ... maybe they'd 'bred' the 'perfume' out of it ...

@ Annalisa - thank you ... not a corm (plant) to grow ... so right!

@ Liz - yes ... it's good for a story line - I've never seen one, but your climate has the right temperature and humidity ... but I must say if I was nearby I'd make a plan to visit ...

Thanks for coming by ... cheers to you all - Hilary

Elephant's Child said...

Huge smiles. Since my mother grew 'dead horse lilies' I had my suspicions early in the piece, but loved it.
While it sounds totally undeserved here, it would be a masterly vengeance...

Anabel Marsh said...

So funny! I have heard of these plants so was definitely getting suspicious …

Rhodesia said...

Oh I am glad that I have never been given one of those, so funny.
Have a good day. Cheers Diane

David M. Gascoigne, said...

I knew instantly this was a story, Hilary, or you would have been in the dock for murder! What a great way to get even with someone, however. I expect you are now trying to figure out how to commit the dirty deed on a less than agreeable acquaintance! Maybe you can send a couple of plants to Mar-a-Lago! All the best from Ontario - David

N. R. Williams said...

Haha, that was fun. I think I'll avoid that old woman.
Nancy

Olga Godim said...

Great story! Next time, she should plant unknown flowers outside, just to be on the safe side.

John Holton said...

I've heard that the odor smells like decomp...

Nilanjana Bose said...

Haha that was hilarious take on the prompt! And so timely, too. It would be great coup d'etat to unleash on one's enemy though. Never accept food and flowers from strangers is the moral of the tale.

Thank you for this great, fun entry for this challenge, Hilary. You always teach me something new even when you're writing humour, wow!

hels said...

ooohhh

Denise Covey said...

OMG! What a unique way to get revenge on someone. A good laugh was had by all. You've imagined a great one here, Hilary.

Pradeep Nair said...

O, that was a downside to the fun get-together with family and friends!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - I'd never heard of dead-horse lilies ... they might have been easier to move around! A titan-lily corm is ginormous!! Sadly the vengeance should have been me on her ... but the story suggests otherwise ... masterly vengeance indeed!

@ Anabel - I think there's one in the Edinburgh botanic gardens ... but with the 'net we're more aware of things' ... as I can see most people know so much more about plants ...

@ Diane - it'd be difficult to give you one ... those things weigh a tonne ... my patience would expire before it flowered, if that was what I was waiting for! Delighted it amuses ...

@ David - thank you ... it's WEP time ... no-one came to mind thankfully ... now you've got me thinking! The stories are easy to think about ... but I enjoy my south coast - being behind bars would 'floor me'!

@ Nancy - great ... thanks Nancy - yes steer well clear of that old woman ...

@ Olga - thank you ... good idea - as long as the weather's right ... otherwise they'd be corpse-corms!

@ John - yes, I gather the odour is 'too much' ... thank goodness for fresh air ...

@ Nila - yes the timing came together ... finding a different take on the prompt is always tricky ... but this worked in my head ...

I'm lucky that a storyline seems to come to the fore ... and am just happy to give you a tale to laugh to ...

@ Hels - just a story ... thanks for coming back ...

@ Denise - it struck me as a fun interpretation ... so am very happy you enjoyed it. An impossible story ... but fun to debate about ...

@ Pradeep - lovely to see you ... yes a talking point, but once outside I hope the stink would fade away ...

Thanks those party goers would have something to talk about - Great to see you all ... and so pleased you were happy to 'smell' the stench and consider the old bag's intention ... cheers and I hope your Christmas parties are of a sweeter aroma! Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

Haha.Well done, Hils.

Yolanda Renée said...

How interesting: "Though corpse flowers have both male and female flowers, these plants don’t pollinate with their own pollen. They produce an aroma that mimics the stench of dead, rotting animals. The scent attracts pollinators like flies and beetles that lay their eggs on carcasses."

Learn something new every day. What a great story!!!! And my oh my what a huge flower!

Happy Holidays!
Wishing peace, love, and joy!

jabblog said...

It always surprises me when beautiful flowers have awful scents - it seems wrong, somehow - but I liked your story.

Dan said...

There's a holiday story with a twist. I love it. And, I've finally taken the (apparently necessary) step of bookmarking this site.

Truedessa said...

Interesting take on the challenge. Beware of those bearing gifts.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - thank you ... it was an easy write ...

@ Yolanda - it's certainly an interesting plant - I couldn't write up all the biological morphology of it - so am delighted you looked it up - I've never seen one ... but can imagine it. Yes - a huge flower, and flower spike holding it up ...

@ Janice - great to see you ... and sometimes we learn the hard-way - beautiful flower, but stench arising from it ... it does seem wrong, but evolution knows what it's doing. I'm happy you liked the tale ...

@ Dan - yes most definitely - once the plant was outside I guess the pong died down. I must say I need to learn about bookmarking sites ... I tend to rely on my memory and when people pop in to comment. Something to do in the next few weeks ...

@ Truedessa - yes: beware of any free gifts ... what might they bring.

Thanks so much to you all for visiting my 'pongy' post - cheers Hilary

Joanne said...

Good story, but I did guess the punchline. I was aware of the rare stinky plant. So gorgeous, grows so big, and then unleashes the horror. So much for "friends". Ha! Clever use of the challenge. You are a fun writer!

Ornery Owl of Naughty Netherworld Press and Readers Roost (Not Charlotte) said...

They have a corpse flower at the Denver Botanic Gardens. It smells like a compost bucket.

mail4rosey said...

Always trust your first instinct, lol. Cute story and is that kind of flower real?

Jacqui Murray said...

What a story! Not at all what I expected. No wonder the woman wanted to get rid of it.

Sandra Cox said...

Have a great one:)

cleemckenzie said...

Ha! That gardener was quite the sneak, heh? Enjoyed the smelly plant story, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Joanne - ah at least you knew what was coming and I think now many of us are aware of these plants - whether we're fortunate to actually see one is another matter.

Thanks I was happy I thought about the twist to the tale ... an unlikely one - but fiction allows that outcome!

@ Charlotte - I think they are found in many botanic gardens - oh good you've smelt one! Compost bucket ... could be worse though.

@ Rosey - that I agree with: trust that instinct.

Yes Rosey - those flowers (plants) do exist - the plant was found in Indonesia by an Italian, when information spread about it ... in 1878 ...

@ Jacqui - thanks ... I don't think she did ... she just wanted to cause the recipient a problem ... which she did through the stench of the 'bouquet of the flowering' on party day ... but glad you enjoyed it!

@ Sandra - I usually manage to keep happy and cheerful ...

@ Lee - yes ... nasty neighbour ... but thank you for enjoying the rad through ... amuses me to think about it ...

Cheers everyone - Hilary

Pat Garcia said...

Hi Hilary,
I am not a plant grower. Everything goes under by me, and now that I‘ve read your story, I won‘t be accepting any plants ever.
Have a Merry Christmas and a safe crossing into 2023.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat

Chrys Fey said...

Ha! As soon as I saw the picture of the plant, I knew what was coming. Get ready to plug your nose!

Sandra Cox said...

You found excellent pictures to enrich your story.
Cheers,

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Thanks for the wonderful chuckle. Loved it!

J Lenni Dorner said...

Ahh! 🌺 I was thinking of using the Amaryllis for WEP.
I saw a Christmas Tree 🎄 made of them.
I'll come up with something else though. It was barely a fraction of an idea.

Excellent use of the prompt!

Hope your IWSG day is inspiring.
“The only limit to your success is your own imagination” – Shondra Rhimes
I wish you a merry holiday ⛄ season, and a New Year full of peace, joy, and creativity.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pat - I'm like you ... not a plant grower - but I really don't need any 'dodgy' plants, especially one of these - actually I don't think I could get it in my flat!

@ Chrys - thanks ... just glad you were happy to plug your nose! One of those plants to write about ...

@ Sandra - I do like to add appropriate pictures/images ... so thanks.

@ Lynda - great ... delighted it made you chuckle ...

@ JL - oh well you could you use the amaryllis ... at least they won't pong the place out! Glad you enjoyed my take on the prompt ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for visiting - Hilary

Susan B.Rouchard said...

brilliant Hilary. Extraordinary plants these spadix. Loved the drawing.picture at beginning. Rendering of Hansel and Gretel. Wishing you a Happy Holiday. you can visit me on Wordpress only now, lifeinpoetry.home.blog or leave me an email.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Susan - always good to see you. That Hansel and Gretel illustration is by Arthur Rackham in 1909 - an excellent, evocative, illustrator. I spotted your pertinent piece of poetry regarding nature - so necessary ... cheers Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

Isn't there an evil-smelling mushroom called a stinkhorn? It reminded of that. A fun take on the prompt.

Bernadette said...

Well, she did warn that it would astonish you 😂

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Hilary, perfectly complemented by pictures. I loved how you interspersed the coming of the flower with other events at the party, giving details of its coming. And oh my, what an evil plan. I was equally astonished😀

L.G. Keltner said...

I've always been fascinated with these flowers. Beautiful, certainly, but not sure I'd want to see it in person. A photo is preferable.

Great story. That's definitely a vengeful old lady!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick - I'm sure there are a few of those ... but you're right the Stinkhorn is particularly obnoxious ... not a good looking mushroom! Glad you enjoyed it ...

@ Bernadette - yes she did warn me about the astonishment I'd see - just very glad it's only a story ...

@ Sonia - many thanks ... it'd probably never happen in real life ... but perhaps might have done seventy or sixty years ago, when knowledge wasn't disseminated quite so readily. I'm happy to read the story-line involved you in its tale ...

@ Laura - yes I'd love to see one in person ... but I guess I'd have to weave my life around one of them flowering ... and can't see that happening. Anyway - I've solved your visits - having given you a few pictures. If it had happened - yes definitely a vengeful old 'hag' ...

Thanks so much for visiting everyone - enjoy the run up to the end of the year and all it entails - cheers Hilary

J.Q. Rose said...

Aha! We were in the floral and greenhouse business. I knew what was coming--PU. I have never smelled this flower, thank goodness, but we had a smelly purple passion plant we had to pitch. Talk about PU. Enjoyed the story as I could picture it so well--even wrinkled up my nose as I ready your story. Thanks.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JQ - thanks for coming over and commenting ... what a lovely business to have been in ... I love being in a (flower/plant) nursery or shop ... being not green fingered, or particularly creative in flower arranging; I wonder what your purple passion plant was that smelt so bad and you had to pitch them ... delighted your nose wrinkled up as you read the story through ... it was fun for me to write up - cheers Hilary

Beth Camp said...

What I truly liked was the strength of the woman who so innocently accepted the gift -- and yet persevered in celebrating and protecting those she loved, despite recognizing the evil the old woman gave her. Since I'm older than average, I will hope some of your stories have more positive outcomes for the elderly, as evil wears many masks. But this story? Lovely!

Sean Jeating said...

The murder not always is the butler.

Sean Jeating said...

Not always the butler is the murder. ;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

From Beth Camp: Hello, Hilary, I was having some trouble posting a comment to your December WEP, so am e-mailing it. Loved the story and hope to see more in 2023. Best wishes, Beth


What I truly liked was the strength of the woman who so innocently accepted the gift -- and yet persevered in celebrating and protecting those she loved, despite recognizing the evil the old woman gave her.

Since I'm older than average, I will hope some of your stories have more positive outcomes for the elderly, as evil wears many masks. But this story? Lovely!

Thanks so much Beth - here's my reply:

Lovely comment and I so appreciate it ... I try and usually am positive and thus positive of comment and thought on the posts I put up. I think sometimes one just gets on with life ... being of that age myself ... I accept things and adjust later ... cheers Hilary

PS - not quite sure why Beth couldn't comment ... but here's her link: https://bethandwriting.blogspot.com/2022/12/wep-when-you-say-yes.html

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Sean and Beth - as you (and anyone else) can see these went to spam - heaven knows why ... but I've rescued ... and I'll leave as is ...

Yes Sean ... there was no butler - perhaps the female gardener had already stenched him out of house and home?!

Cheers Hilary

Susan B.Rouchard said...

Thanks Hilary for the reference on the Hansel and Gretel illustration. Happy Holidays.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Susan ... Arthur Rackham is an outstanding illustrator ... and good to know you've got the reference for him - cheers and have a happy peaceful Christmas and New Year - cheers Hilary