The flowers were picked up off the side of the road, brought back to the maintenance garage, then placed on the meeting room table at the Grinold Township Muncipal Building. They were the nastiest, weather-beaten plastic flowers anyone had ever seen. A few minutes after we arrived for work, Big Don walked in to the room. He picked the skanky flowers up and looked them over.
"These will be perfect for my wife's birthday." Don said with a matter-of fact smile. "I won't have to pay a cent for them, and now I can afford lunch and dinner with my sweetie at the County Fair. Larry, thank the kid for me when you see him. "
Larry shook his head. "Don, don't you think she will be offended?" he asked.
"Why would she be offended? Big Don looked slightly puzzled. "She loves sausage sandwiches!"
(You know that moment when you fully realize you won't win the debate? Larry was already there.)
"I meant the flowers. Don't you think she will be offended?" Larry was becoming exasperated, the look of defeat creeping onto his face.
Big Don gave one of his crafty old smiles. "Larry, it's our twentieth anniversary. What kind of husband would I be if I didn't bring flowers home? There isn't a better dinner than sausage sandwiches at the County Fair and a paper plate dessert of Funnel Cake. Of course, we'll have to clean these flowers up first."
Then he paused a moment, let out a dramatic sigh, shook is head and concluded, "Frankly, I don't know how I do it all." Then he grinned huge and we burst out laughing.
The very next day, Big Don walked in carrying three long stemmed yellow roses. They were beautiful. They were perfect. They were plastic. Larry, the kid, Father Figure, Horst and I were sitting around the meeting room table, drinking our morning coffee (courtesy of Horst M. Slavic Plumbing and Heating) and reading local obituaries out loud.
Horst: Oh my, did ya see that there Mrs. Baldinger died. She was 86 years old. Now look a her, she's dead.
Larry: Yep, she's dead. dead and dead.
Father Figure: Well, I seem to remember her husband got into a mess downtown once..the police caught him dressed like woman stealing bras from J.J. Newberry's. She was never the same after that.
the kid: Why, because she didn't have any bras to wear?
Larry: Well, that had to be a helluva a long time ago. Newberry's closed down 20 years ago.
Father Figure: I ain't getting any younger. I only got one thing that still works. (looks down at his crotch)
the kid: Yeah, that's how YOU remember it.
At this point Big Don jumped into the conversation. "Etta Baldinger was a good friend of my mothers. She used to come over to visit. I don't know how mom could stand her. The woman never bathed a day in her life. Mom would clean for two hours after Etta went home." Then with hardly a pause, "Ricky, does your sweetie have a special day soon?"
I looked up from the Sports page of Diffle County Reporter that I was barely reading. "Her birthday is next week."
"Good, give her these flowers and when she is done with them, bring them back and one of us can use them for our wives. She's from Texas. Give your yellow rose a yellow rose."
The men chuckled and then Larry asked, "Don, what happened to the other flowers?
Big Don shook his head. "That didn't go over as well as I expected. They are back on the side of the road again. They flew right out the window. But I have higher hopes with the yellow roses."