Friday, March 20, 2009

Baffu's First Story: Part Four

There were no lanterns, no candles. The square patio and the porch surrounding it were lit only by the steady pink-and-yellow glow from the buds of the potted plant that was the evening’s focus. It was Doctors’s (so-called because of his meritorious degrees in medicine, literature, engineering, and of course jurisprudence) first blossom viewing since he’d been exiled to the City of Wealth (so-called because of the wealth it brought to the Four Empires, its name a cruel joke to locals like Baffu).

Full text in the comments.

1 comment:

Sean Craven said...

There were no lanterns, no candles. The square patio and the porch surrounding it were lit only by the steady pink-and-yellow glow from the buds of the potted plant that was the evening’s focus. It was Doctors’s (so-called because of his meritorious degrees in medicine, literature, engineering, and of course jurisprudence) first blossom viewing since he’d been exiled to the City of Wealth (so-called because of the wealth it brought to the Four Empires, its name a cruel joke to locals like Baffu).

Baffu had run across the plant near the shipyards where a stray seed had found itself a patch of nearly-fertile soil and brought it to Doctors. It had thrived under Doctors’s care and now the old man was able to have a small taste of the civilized life that his enemies back home had sought to deny him.

The slender green-black chitinous stalks trembled as rain fell and the blossoms strained inside their buds. Soon they would emerge and Doctors and Baffu would know for certain what kind of plant it was.

“Better a single blossom in the company of a heart’s true friend than all the Empire’s gardens in the company of shining adders and lacquered turds,” the old man said and they clinked their cups.

The two worked their way through the bottle and then another, the old man matching the giant drink for drink. Baffu allowed Doctors to guide him through the conversation, elaborate phrases in praise of the sound of raindrops, the shifting luminous patterns as clouds passed across the sky, the potted flora that filled the patio…

Then in an opportune moment of silence Baffu broke from the language of poets into the patois used by jurists and accountants and students of the sciences.