“First, we dig a hole in a suitable part of the garden.”
Gita scribbled this quickly onto a piece of scrap paper.
“Like so. Here’s one I dug earlier.”
Gita noted the size and shape of the hole on the screen before the shot cut back to the presenter.
“And now, we just put the seeds in and wait a few months…”
Gita didn’t want to wait months! She was far too busy to do that! She had to grow things much more quickly than that if she wanted to maintain a business in flowers. Of course, she had a good relationship with her suppliers (even though she still preferred the previous ones), but she really wanted to do something herself. She wanted to create a new type of flower.
“You’ll never have the patience!”
He always seemed to doubt her. Rani had never doubted her. She would have said that she could do it. A new breed of flower? Easy. After all, she had been watching the telly the other day, and it had talked about an artist who had invented a new type of blue that had never existed before, or some such, and how much harder could it be when it was a flower?
But the man on the telly now only had shop-bought seeds. And he wasn’t even planting flowers. How, Gita wondered, would she create a new type of flower? The answer came to her in a moment of inspiration. She would have to go back to school…
“I said no and I still say no. What would the governors say? I can’t very well let my wife into the science labs out of school hours!”
“What about during school hours, then?”
“Absolutely not! I can’t let you near my students!”
“Why not? Don’t you trust me?”
Gita was tremendously difficult to deal with sometimes, and now was one of these times. However, Haresh was taking a stand. He would absolutely not allow Gita to come into his school, disrupt his lessons, and make her stupid flower.
“Now, class, we have a new project in chemistry today with Mrs Chandra-”
“Hello!” waved Gita, from the back of the classroom.
“-Who has a flower shop. Mrs Chandra wants to concoct a new type of flower. Now, who can tell me the properties of a flower?”
Within minutes, Mrs Chandra had been inundated with questions from eager and curious students.
“Is it true that your husband is Mr Chandra?”
“Well, yes, he’s-”
“And your daughter is Rani Chandra?”
“And your dad is David Beckham?”
Gita was not used to this level of exposure to The Teenagers. According to their mothers, many of whom were customers of hers, they generally just kept themselves to themselves, so the mingled smells of BO, fast food and cheap perfumes made her feel desperate to return to the sanctuary of her flower shop. However, the new flower creation had to take precedence, so she decided to ensure the pupils of Year Ten Top Set Chemistry and allow them to help her.
At the end of it all, however, the best that the class was able to come up with was tinting a few roses white (“like in Alice in Wonderland”, according to one pupil), which was not even close to what Gita had hoped for.
A more drastic plan would be required.
“Mrs Chandra, I must say, this is a surprise!” exclaimed Professor Rivers.
“Ah yes, well, I was hoping that you’d let me use one of the labs, and one of your sciencey people, for a bit of jiggery pokery, you know.”
Professor Rivers seemed sceptical. This really wasn’t what the Pharos Institute had been purposed for. The folly of local shopkeepers was something she wished very much to avoid. She made a little laugh, and began, “Ah, but Mrs Chandra-”
“You know, it really will drum up support for your little business here.”
“I’m sorry?” Professor Rivers was somewhat taken aback by this statement.
“Yes, well, I’ll have posters and such like up in the shop, and maybe people will make donations. We can help each other! It’ll be like a little pact! I’ve never made a pact before. I bet it’s fun.”
Professor Rivers considered this. There was something in it, perhaps. And she could always spare Evans. See if he could keep his job. She didn’t like Evans at all. He deserved to be subjected to a little bit of Gita and prove his worth to the Pharos Institute. And there were always plenty of labs, of course. It all seemed to work, as a fun, cheap little experiment for the good of the institute.
“Yes, that sounds like an idea, now that I think about it.”
“So you’ll let me do it?”
“Yes, I’ll give you Evans. I’m sure we can spare him from his- aha- important work for a day or two. Feel free to do whatever you like with him in Lab 2A.”
Gita felt a surge of excitement coming on.
“Ooh, this lab is very clean, isn’t it? Who cleans it?”
“Well, everyone sort of does their bi-”
“Lovely. I’ve never been in a proper lab before. Not really. Briefly. And also school labs. But they’re not really the same at all, are they?”
“Well, no, this is state of the-”
“Yes, yes, I can tell. Now, where do we start? Do you have the ingredients? Do we have special potions? Potions for flowers?”
“We’re going to make a new type of flower, aren’t we? Some sort of Rose-Hybrid or some such! Now, do we have flower making potions?”
Evans had obviously misunderstood. He thought that he was doing some sort of weird baking course; he was good at baking. With flour. Flour. Not flower. And Professor Rivers had said that it was just to appease the mad flower lady… Although, the more he thought about it, the more he cursed himself for not realising earlier that this probably had something to do with orchards.
“Um… I’ll go and look in the Secret Cupboard.”
“Ooh, good idea. Can I come?”
“No. The Secret Cupboard is secret.”
“Oh, okay then. I’ll just wait here and… not touch anything.”
The Secret Cupboard was packed with shelves containing all manner of strange things, from alien worlds and state of the art human inventions. He looked with pride at the broken headset that had nearly got him fired all those years earlier. The power to harness mind power to move objects… Of course, no-one could have suspected that it would bring the Moon crashing down to Earth. That was completely ridiculous. Regardless, he moved on, past rows and rows of interesting bits and bobs. He found a blobby lump that he recognised as being an object stolen from the Sontarans and then replicated; it was designed to form a Sontaran embryo, but was capable of becoming any organic lifeform at this stage (rather like a super-powered stem cell).
He also procured a number of obscure chemicals, many of which were labelled, “DO NOT TOUCH”, before heading back to the lab.
He opened the door nonchalantly, expecting to find nothing out of the ordinary.
In the centre was Gita, standing exactly where he had left her.
“I didn’t touch anything- well, not much, anyway-”
And around Gita was the carnage of what had, fifteen minutes before, been highly expensive and desirable laboratory equipment.
“Now, about my flower…”
Gita arrived home delighted with herself. She had her very own, brand new type of flower clutched in her hands, and she wouldn’t lose it for anything. And it had cost her absolutely nothing to make.
“Great,” said Haresh, when she told him, “how much do you reckon we can sell it for?”
Gita would not sell this flower. She would never sell it. In fact, she would not tell anyone about it. It would live, forever more, beside the bed in the room she shared with her husband…
“Can you please just throw that thing out! I can’t sleep!” said Haresh, six months later, once the flower had rotted thoroughly.
“Never!” declared Gita. She would keep it beside her forever more.
The plant didn’t mind. It liked being with Gita. Although it would have much preferred being outside and dancing with the brothers that had grown in the garden from it’s spores.
Maybe it should just kill the ugly man and be done with it…
Bloomin' Lovely returns next week with The Dinner...