“Hello, this is Gita Chandra at Bloomin’ Lovely. We do flowers of all sorts. Green, yellow, red, bl-”
“Yeah, yeah, hey Gita, it’s me, Jeff, again. Just callin’ to say, man, you know, we’ve basically run out, and gone phut, so, just to say, it’s been nice givin’ you all those flowers, but we’ve not got any more, so you’ll be wanting a new supplier.”
“What!? No! I like you, Jeff, and I don’t like anyone else who sells flowers! They’re all corporate and scary! You know, the other day-”
“Yeah, cool, it’s been great talking to you, but you know, we’ve not got any, like, deals, with any other shops, apart from your groovy one. And it’s way groovy, I gotta say, but it’s a big nope on the more flowers front. So that’s cool. Anyway, I’ve got to fill out one of those not-even-cool groovy benefits forms to get money, so bye now. Groove out!”
This was not, overall and on balance, particularly good news for Gita. Jeff was an excellent supplier. He always made sure that the flowers were delivered no later than six months after they were ordered, and they hardly ever smelt of cannabis! Especially nowadays; there seemed to be a new and exotic scent that had replaced it, and it never failed to make Gita feel pleasantly woozy. And furthermore, Gita liked Jeff. Just the other day, in fact, she had been in a-
“Who was that?”
The voice of Haresh rang through Gita’s frenzied daydreams and brought her tumbling back into an extremely irritating reality. How could Gita find a new supplier at such short notice anyway? She decided that, on balance, she ought to consult her husband, whom she referred to in her mind as “The Sensible One”. He would probably know what to do. With maximum efficiency and effectiveness, she barrelled out of the back room and came hurtling towards him, bellowing, “Jeff’s not going to send us any more flowers!” before promptly collapsing into a heap on a beanbag.
Haresh knew what had to happen now. It had, after all, been he who had sourced a new supplier after they had moved out of Bannerman Road (following the unfortunate and still unexplained total destruction of the warehouses of their previous one). He had a very useful book of suppliers. Unfortunately, Gita had rejected all of them…
“Well? Is our plan succeeding?”
“Yes, Boss. The flowers ‘ave all been dabbed with the stuff-”
“Excellent! Soon, I- that is, we- shall rule forever! All will bow down before us! That’s right, Smith- soon, we shall be the dominant flower suppliers OF THE WORLD!”
“Erm, but we haven’t got any sales.”
“Well, have some common sense! Blow up a warehouse or something. There’s dynamite in the back. Soon, we shall rule! Yes, we shall rule! Mwa ha ha ha ha!”
"Hello? If it’s you, Jeff, I want you back-”
“My name is Mr Europe. I represent Europe and Europe Flower Suppliers.”
“Ooh! I need new flower supplies! Do you have little biscuits in your offices?”
“I am aware of this. Sadly, no, we do not have biscuits-”
“Good. Only horrible companies have biscuits. It’s not as though I can’t afford biscuits anyway. I have lots of biscuits. I always get through them really quickly-”
“We are able to offer our services at a discount price, as we support small businesses.”
Gita liked the sound of this very, very much.
“When can we start?”
Old Mrs Bucketbottom was very good at complaining. It was her main talent. She had just been into Asda to do some complaining, and she had had a particularly good bout of complaining just a few minutes before that in the shoe shop, which had sold her shoes that got worn out (of all the cheek!). However, on this occasion, there was one place where she found herself unable to complain as she passed. In fact, she had been so pleased with the flowers that she had purchased at Bloomin’ Lovely that she wished to go inside and personally congratulate the proprietor.
Gita hid in the back room as she saw Mrs Bucketbottom approach.
She would not come out. She was busy. Very busy. She would apologise next time.
“Gita! Come out here right now, I want to talk to you!”
That was never good. Hesitantly, Gita came out anyway.
“Hello, Mrs Bucketbottom, I didn’t see you there.”
“No, I expect not. I am, after all, renowned for being in peak physical condition and hence, am in such perfect shape that I was probably obscured by this pillar. Ah, but I come not to scorn, but to congratulate you. The flowers that you sold me yesterday were most superb, I must say. You have clearly taken to heart my previous criticisms and critiques-”
“Well, we changed supplier a couple of weeks back-”
“Ah, is that it? Well, the results, I have to admit, are excellent. Top notch. And I’ve never come to congratulate a shop on adhering to my advice before, but here, I make a worthy exception. I hereby excuse you from your previous failures. That scent was simply marvellous…”
Gita was more than a bit shocked by this turn of events, considering the typically scathing nature of the woman, although she had to concede that there was something in her words; the flowers that had been supplied by Europe and Europe had a smell to behold…
“They go crazy for it! I think the plan is working!”
“Good, Smith, good… Lull them into a false sense of security. That’s right. They shall suspect nothing as they fall under our spell. Nothing! Soon, we shall hold the world of flower sales in our very fingers… FOREVER!”
“Bit over the top, er, Boss, d’ya reckon?”
“No! It is completely fine! I like my dramatic speeches!”
“Mwa ha ha ha ha!”
Europe and Europe had been providing flowers that had undoubtedly boosted the success of Bloomin’ Lovely as a shop. Gita was beginning to wonder whether she could open up another branch, on the back of the success. There really was something remarkable in the smell of the plants now being delivered to the shop!
Haresh, however, remained far too sceptical.
“But the smell, Haresh! The smell is just so… ahhh!”
“Gita, I don’t like it. I don’t know what it is that’s in it, but-”
“Nah, you’re just a big grumpy pants! And you think that I won’t let you go to work when we’re making millions in flowers, but it’s ok- I’ll be able to hire staff, you know. You’ll be able to have whatever hobbies you like, and if looking after teenagers in your school is one of them…”
Haresh had had this conversation enough times. He’s had enough of it. Gita was besotted with the scent, just like everybody else seemed to be. Only he seemed able to see sense. So there was only one thing for it…
“There’s someone at the door.”
“What? Did you say something, Smith?”
“Yes, Boss! I said that there’s someone at the door!”
“If I didn’t know better, Smith, I would think that you said there’s someone at the door. But seeing as that’s impossible-”
“Someone at the door.”
“How can that be, hm? This is our secret base. Note the secret. People don’t just pop in.”
“Well, the address is on our website-”
“And who would be looking at our website, hm?”
Haresh Chandra stepped out from the shadows, with his arm outstretched.
“I let him in…”
Mr Europe decided to deal with his idiotic assistant later, and first, sort out this ne’er-do-well.
“Good day, sir. I am Mr Europe.”
Mr Europe and Mr Chandra shook hands.
Understanding dawned swiftly upon the face of Mr Europe as he realised that he was speaking to a client. On the basis that he needed his clients if his plan to take over the flower-supplying universe was to succeed, he decided not to have this man removed from the premises.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, you can, as a matter of fact, Mr Europe. I was wondering what you had done to our flowers.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“The flowers that are being delivered. They smell funny.”
Nobody had ever called the Scent “funny” before. They had only ever said that it was the most wonderful thing. It was the key to Mr Europe’s plan to dominate flower selling forever more. He only did it on the basis that everyone would fall in love with the flowers and addicted to them and then buy more and more and give Europe and Europe money and more money and more money-
“I’m sorry, did you say addicted?”
Mr Europe had not realised that he was thinking out loud. He had a rather nasty habit of reciting his plots and machinations under his breath, like all truly great and evil villains-
“Cut it out, Europe, or I’m calling the police!”
Mr Europe ceased his machinations.
“I don’t care about you taking over the world of daisies or whatever nonsense it is. I just want pure and fresh flowers, not your artificial rubbish. And I really will call the police if you don’t oblige!”
“You have nothing on us!”
Haresh withdrew a mobile phone from his pocket, and played a video on it. It showed Mr Europe himself, declaring, in no uncertain terms:
“I am Mr Europe! And if you do not hand over all the flowers in the world to me now, I will destroy you with the drug I have created! I call it, the Killer Drug! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!”
“You do seem to have a lot of videos like that. The police probably already have you under surveillance!”
Mr Europe faltered.
“Erm. Well. That is true-”
“Stop putting your drug nonsense into the flowers, and we’ll continue doing business. We need each other, remember, Mr Europe.”
“But why? Why don’t you just hand me over?”
“Because I understand something. Being with you isn’t ideal, Europe. I don’t like you much, and you’re difficult to deal with, and we always have to compromise. But it’s a lot better than splitting from you and your services completely!”
“And why is that? What would happen then?”
“Relations with Gita would be very difficult. She always shouts at me when she has to do things, and making trade deals isn’t really her thing… So let’s just keep this to ourselves, yes?”
Haresh’s intimidating headmaster mode seemed to have done the job on Mr Europe, who subsequently abandoned his plans to take over the flower-supplying the world, and instead focused on just staying afloat.
The flowers were no longer spattered with addictive drugs.
And Gita never noticed.
Bloomin' Lovely continues tomorrow with The Invasion...