December 16, 2013

BtGS Winner: Found Wanting, By Marcia Sherman

"A Bouquet of Flowers," by William Arthur Breakspeare,

Editor's note: Marcia's intriguing work struck right at the heart of one of the fairy tales in Beyond the Glass Slipper, but in a clever, subtle way that is far less didactic than the original.

White wine, thank you. Elderberry if you have it – yes I thought you might.
Three please, my brother and sister stopped to freshen up.
This is wonderful, I appreciate it.
Oh, and a pitcher of water with three glasses, too.
Lovely, we are parched, I am so grateful.
Quite a nice place you have here. It is your place right?
Name on the sign – name on your shirt – hard to deny.
And your picture out front, and in the lobby, and hanging over every table.
All these mirrors, guess you don’t get weary of seeing yourself all the time?
"Narcissus," clever. Clever marketing scheme.
Ah, here they come. You are correct, we do not look alike at all.
But trust me, we are related. Striking? Well, if you say so.
I am sure we are no better looking than any other patrons on a weekend night.
Oh, please! Please do not go on about our looks. You are too kind.
Physical attractiveness seems to be an important quality to you?
Well sure, surface beauty can help one get along in life, but it is not always necessary.
Yes, yes I can see how you would disagree on that point.
Hungry? Thank you for asking, the liquid refreshment is enough right now.
What brings us to this part of the country?  I’m so happy you asked that question.
We are investigators.
Sometimes we have to dig around and weed out the facts.
Sometimes what we seek is in full bloom right before us.
Here is our card, CBI. Coriander, Bellfleur, that’s me, and Iris – at your service.
Or rather, at the service of someone you know.
I’m sorry – what? No, they do not talk much; I am the voice of this arrangement.
Odd? I suppose some might think our names are odd;
but no more out of the ordinary than, for example, Narcissus?
As I was saying, we are sent to look for …
You have another question? Special skills?… hmmm, let me see...
Cori – well, underneath his surface “bottle green eyes and golden brown hair,"
as you put it, he is quite deep. Iris is our brains and courage.
And I am just pleased to be working.
To finish my sentence, our employer requests…
Yet another question?
Iris – yes her hair does look purple in certain light, and those yellow streaks really pop.
Before my thoughts are completely uprooted, let me tell …
Really! I am honored by all this attention, but –
No, it is naturally white blonde and no, these are not contact lenses.
My eyes are indeed lavender blue.
Now I must insist you allow me to tell you why we are here.
So hard to get and keep your attention with all these distractions.
Is it possible you can look me in the eye for a minute?
What?! Do we always dress alike? Alike?
You mean because we are all wearing green. Just a happy accident that was.
OK, down to business here…oh no! Wait!
Well there he goes, off to chat up that pretty young thing in the corner.
Looks as though she cannot get two words in either.
Strange, having a water-feature like that – almost a pond – in a bar.
I think we have our answer, do you agree?
Vanity is one thing; keeping up appearances, staying healthy.
But this guy has gone right over the top into vainglory.
Let’s be on our way, we can report back to Miss Blumenfee while we travel.
Who’s next? Amaryllis. Pride – let’s hope it has not tipped over to Hubris.
Sure would be irritating to find another wasted gift.
Coriander – hidden worth
Bellflower – gratitude
Iris – wisdom and valor

Marcia A. Sherman offers up a modernization of “Fairy Gifts” with a touch of mythology and a nod to the language of flowers. Her month flower is Lily of the Valley, "a return to sweetness," one of the first flowers of Spring.Her favorite is the yellow rose -- which may mean undying love, or extreme betrayal; depending on the giver/receiver.


  1. I enjoyed every moment of reading this :) It was even better the second time around when I could find all the hints at each character's pre-determained personality. The mythology aspects were great as well.

  2. This is very clever, and reads so smoothly. I love the language of flowers!