Fields of Paper Flowers

This is my entry for January’s Blog Battle – the theme or word for this month is Heart.

“Here it is!” Brian revealed all glowing with pride. “The artificial flower!”

I looked on it with a mix of distain and yet a little awe at the intricate and beautiful creation. “So what?” 

“What do you mean so what?” Brian flapped enthusiastically.

“We have flowers, we plant seeds or bury bulbs and the plants grow. They look pretty and they attract bees which pollinate everything else and helps everything grow! It’s wonderfully simple and there’s no need to change it!”

“This flow” Brian continued “Is a little piece of miniature genius. Not only does it look pretty but it extracts more carbon from the air than a typical flower, it never loses its petals, it generates electricity from sunlight and it won’t ever die!”

“That’s pretty impressive I have to say, but it won’t attract bees to cross pollinate and it’s going to cost a lot more than a seed I’m guessing!”

“You’re such a nay sayer Steve. I’ve got big plans for my flower, I want to make so many and plant them wherever I can and show the world how my flowers can help the world!”

With that Brian left, what started as an intellectual discussion has turned into a catapult for Brian. To prove me wrong.

That was five years ago. After that Brian had packed up and for a couple of years I heard no more about him or his flowers. It wasn’t until I was walking in the park one February morning that I noticed something, familiar somehow and yet pretty and intricate. After a few minutes of staring at it I realised that this was one of Brian’s flowers. Bu there wasn’t just one, clumps of ten or twenty all over the place in different spots. 

Somehow Brian was planting his flowers. 

Over the weeks and months that followed I noticed them in more and more places, people could by them and suddenly this obscure object, so easily grown was now being labelled as the flower to save the world, solving so many of our problems.

Brian however was nowhere to be found, he obviously wanted to vanish. But fate it’s card…

It started with the first reports of disquiet, bees disappearing. Concerns about pollinisation, scientist claiming that this artificial intruder to our flower beds was not as it was claimed, far from being the answer to our problems, it created many more.

Finally answered by the company that made them, Obsidian inc. A huge multinational company had bought Brians idea and was turning it onto money, cheap and quick cash being made on the premise that it’s buyer’s would be saving the world.

Then I got it, THAT email. Brian finally had broken silence and wanted to meet me. At his offices in the city ‘for lunch’ as he called it. When I turned up, lunch was the last thing on the minds of those wanting to meet me.

“Come in and sit down.” A older man at the head of the long table gestured to me. Brian sat to my left, the table was full of men in suits, younger at my end, older at the end. The phrase, pale, stale and male came to mind.

The older man at the end spoke again, the company logo and motto behind him, prominent and bleak. “We invited you her today Mr Wright, to discuss the prominent slurring of our current product strategy and to come to some kind of understanding.”
“I’m not sure I follow you you.” I answered blankly. “Any assessment I give of a new initiative is based on empirical results and…”

“Yes we know but we feel you’re missing the point here.” The old man continued. “There’s an opportunity here and we think you should be a part of it!”
The man managed a smile, not much of one, I could see where this was going now.
“You’re trying to buy me? For what?”

“For the good of Obsidian inc of course.”

“But I thought that Obsidian ‘Created products that helped the world’ not pollute it even more and destroy the eco-system. I shot back , I was getting angry now.

“Where did you get that idea from?” The man smirked.

“It’s on the wall behind you.” I looked as the man turned, as he did every other head turned too. I looked at Brian, he was still as if struck with fear.

“Regardless of that, we want to increase our product offering to simulate larger plants, and trees. We think this is a good thing, I promise it will be very rewarding for you.” The man was turning on the charm offensive now. I stood up.
“We cannot eat, breathe or drink money. You are all stupid if you think that. I will have no part of this.”

I turned and walked out of the door.

That was five years ago. It’s now that I stand here in the park where it first started. The piles of artificial flowers and plants are lined up at the side of the path. The bees are all but extinct, nothing grows and starvation is now common. The air is thick with pollution and still the great Obsidian sits on it’s piles of money.

Mankind used to think that aliens or asteroids would wipe out life on Earth. It’s safe to say that the collective madness that occurs around accumulating money is far more dangerous.

Let’s hope it is not yet too late.

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37 thoughts on “Fields of Paper Flowers

  1. Shoot I was on the end game right at the start Simon. Cash speaks, the world pays. Genetic modification without long term projection, history not learned from. Very sobering stuff and yet, I look at vast fields now with virtually no hedgerows and think it’s already happening. Birds in decline, bees not quite in the numbers of yore and awaiting the atmosphere and oceans to do their titration tips. Or an asteroid… great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Very much so. Coincidentally I’ve just read Precipice and Venus again. Both run the climate change chaos as core to to the plot lines. Literally both this month and then I find yours straight after! Might be telling me to have a bash at this concept too??

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think the concept is a great one to use, but it needs to be done so that the reader isn’t being bashed with an eco lesson. Let them come to their own conclusions.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a fine line, isn’t it? I walk that one often, myself (with varied levels of success 😂) Different readers “need” more or less information, or different kinds of information, to immerse themselves in a story.

    I guess it comes down to knowing your intended audience and writing for them.

    For me, the flower question is just one of personal curiosity. But not knowing who the main character is or his relationship to the other characters interferes with my emotional investment in the piece.

    Not that you have to change anything to appease this particular reader. I just enjoyed the concept and wanted to “know” a bit more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so interesting to talk to someone that walks this line and understands the complexity of putting a concept into a story.
      The reality is that this story is a bit of a mess, I wasn’t able to give it the time and attention it deserves and it come out like I had it in my head.
      But as for the flowers in my mind they’re an electro mechanical device and yes the people and relationships aren’t clear. Maybe when I get chance I can write it better and your comments will be so helpful. Thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No problem! I hesitate to leave feedback sometimes because I’m not sure that everyone plans to keep reworking their stories after participating in a challenge like this. For a lot of people, finishing a flash fiction piece is challenge enough! Two years ago I couldn’t imagine writing anything under 2500 words 😂

        Anyway, I hope you do keep working with this one, because I really like it. I love the idea of mechanical flowers as a “solution” for humans destroying real nature. It’s macabre, but totally believable.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha! It’s about time I got productive on here. I’ve been procrastinating. For like six years…

        “Showstopper” is my entry for this challenge. There should be a link on my “Flash Fiction and Short Stories” page.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting piece! Is Wright a scientist? It’s a little unclear if his role is as a public official, peer reviewer, or noisy citizen. Is the flower genetically engineered or completely synthetic?

    This story raises lots of great questions about the way we play with nature. We will certainly be our own undoing. Maybe there will be future generations that reverse this trend before our species is completely sunk!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes there’s a bit unsaid that I made up as I went along… I played the ‘let the reader decide’ card on the basis that the message in the story was made clear. Thank you for reading 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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