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Life

Flower boy
Short story

P. Mirfakhraei
March 2, 2005
iranian.com

He is so small he can barely reach their windows. They come in all shapes and sizes. Some shiny and new, some dirty and old. When he looks at them coming toward him at the intersection, he sees faces instead of the car fronts. He likes to put faces on them as a game to help pass the time between the green lights. Some cars look like angry men and some look like smiling kids.

As the light turns red he jumps out of the cool shadows. He hovers around them, brandishing his large bouquet of pretty little flowers, in hope of finding a buyer before they all go bad by the end of the day. That means trouble with the boss. The pay will come out of his pocket. Some people are nice enough to say "No, thank you." But some are so bad-tempered that they scare him off with a shout or threat. He searches their eyes hoping to find some kind of a clue as to their willingness to indulge. "C'mon only a 1000 for all of them. It's a bargain."

He can see them looking at him. The two ladies in the smiling car. They are also smiling so he approaches them. So few people actually smile these days. "The small bunches are only 200. Take all and I'll give you a discount." They continue to smile and say that two small bunches would be enough. He pushes the flowers toward them, tiptoeing to get to their outstretched hands. "Thank you, little boy." He wishes they were all like that.

He takes the bills and as he moves toward the cars in the back, quickly starts counting them. He stops dead in his tracks. This is not right. They were supposed to pay 400. But there is 1000 here. That is not right. He rushes back towards the car. Just as the light turns green, he catches up with them. He quickly picks another three bunches and pushes them through the open window. He can see the surprised look on their faces as they turn around to look at him. The car speeds away, and he is saying to himself, I earn an honest living here -- what do you think? He has to quickly dock for cover as the cars start passing through the intersection, honking and swiveling.

Only 100 more bunches to sell.

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