by Ginger Marin
I was sitting reading at a table alone in a tiny coffee shop. A man came up to me, excused himself and complimented me on my hair style. He said “I can’t take it with me but i can give you this”, as he presented me with a rose, most likely ripped from a nearby bush. It was quite a lovely red rose. But as I examined it, I kept wondering if perhaps the thorns were tainted with poison. Or maybe, the leaves, or even the petals themselves! Would I be dying in a hospital bed in a few days, hacking and retching, with ugly oozing welts on my body a result of ricin poisoning? Or would I drop dead in the street just after leaving the café having been pricked by a thorn dipped in some other fast acting toxin? I don’t know.
Should I take the rose home with me so that investigators can at least test the rose for toxins later as I lay dying? The rose could be infected with anthrax or botulism.
Did the man really like my hair or is he a serial toxic rose giver?
I pondered these thoughts as I waited for my friend. Perhaps she would know what to do. I sipped my very expensive miniscule cup of espresso, anxiously, hoping the caffeine would counter any poisons. Caffeine seems to be alternately harmful or life-giving depending on … well, frankly I’m not sure.
My friend hasn’t arrived yet. I’m now getting worried. Did she too get a rose from the mysterious stranger? Is she now lying dead in a ditch in an alley behind the café? I’m beginning to get heart palpitations, no doubt the first sign of poisoning. My head is throbbing. I feel faint. Just as my head is about to drop to the table, my friend enters the cafe. She seems to be okay.
Then a man at the counter ordering a coffee tells an employee her hair “looks good down”. I’m certain now that this must be some new fangled hair “thing” that some men have. I think perhaps I have overreacted and that the rose is just a rose and that my mysterious stranger is really just a member of a hair club. I am relieved.
I’ve decided that watching all those TV shows like Criminal Minds, CSI, Law & Order (all versions) are bad for me. I make a New Year’s resolution to watch more uplifting shows. Are there any left on TV? They all seem to get canceled.
I left the café with my rose, knowing that I have become a better person all because one mysterious stranger gave me a flower. If only it were money. Oh well, not everything is meant to be. Maybe when the recession is over, I can order a large coffee and perhaps then, the scientific community will have figured out once and for all if caffeine is good or bad.