Tulips

I recently took part in a great initiative called Open Changes, part of the Lost in Track Changes project run by the rather lovely If:Book Australia. Tulips was one of the stories they included in the project.

***

Price trundled from town to town, the tulip bulbs bouncing in the dusty red wagon he pulled behind him. The women paid him little attention, the men he unnerved.

This town was small, but it needed pruning.

‘Who the fuck are you?’

Price stopped walking, eyed a man sitting outside the hotel, and tipped his hat. ‘I’m a man of no consequence.’

The hotel man stood and drained his glass. ‘You look like a dick in that get up. What’s with the black apron?’

Price tugged on the rope tied to the wagon and walked on. ‘I’m a gardener. My garb is suited to my work.’

‘Hey!’

Price kept on, the wheels of the wagon cutting deep into the dirt, as if heavily burdened.

‘I said hey, fuckwit,’ the man clutched the glass and ran after Price. ‘Hey, I was talkin’ to you.’

Price felt the glass smash into his skull. It shattered into shards, slivers catching the light as they flew. Price merely cricked his neck-first left then right-before turning to scoop up a tulip bulb lying on the road amid the glass.

The bulb landed among the others with a thud as Price trundled on.

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