by Erik Jorgensen copyright 2013
Humming contentedly, Melissa examined each wide white blossom closely and methodically. Performing each careful test, then analyzing the results with her expertly experienced senses, she concluded that this new patch of flowers was adequate - just like all the others. Not nearly as good as the little clustered purple blossoms she remembered from her childhood, but still within tolerable parameters: acceptable, but boring. On the other hand, it was getting harder and harder to find new patches anywhere, and she thanked her lucky stars for finding this untapped source at all. She gathered as much pollen as she could, drew up a sample of nectar, then made a beeline straight back home.
The Tower was easy to spot from far away, and Melissa had never been grateful for that before today. Her quest had taken her much farther than she imagined; she had just gone from patch to empty patch, each time thinking, "Maybe I'll find something around the next corner..." Passing those hundreds of withered, wilted patches of blossoms again, she had a long, long time to think as she returned to the Tower. Nobody talked about it, but Melissa could see for herself that there were fewer flowers to find, and further away. She didn't know what was going to happen when all the blossoms disappeared, and it wasn't her job to know. Still, she couldn't help but wonder.
One of her sisters was waiting for her near the entrance. They exchanged pleasantries, then discussed details of this new batch of pollen, same as the old batch, which Melissa then handed over to her sister. She never knew what happened with the pollen after that, and it wasn't her job to know; it was just her job to find it, get it, and bring it back. As she turned to return to work, she saw two of her little sisters staring out the entryway, talking each other out of going outside. They weren't the same age, but were about the same size and looked like twins. The older one was at that difficult, contrary stage where she grumbled about everything and anything, and her younger sister did her best to imitate her.
"Why even bother going out? We've already been everywhere, and there's nothing to do anyway."
"Yeah - nothing anywhere, ever." She casually glanced over at her older sister, making sure she was slouching just right, and matching her aggressively-bored expression.
Melissa jumped playfully between her sisters, and borrowing the tune of an old childhood song, began singing about an endless fragrant paradise of beautiful flowers - it's far away, and the journey will be long, but that makes it so much sweeter when you finally find it. As she hummed and sang, she danced around and around her sisters, bumping them playfully with her round behind in a wiggling figure-eight frolic about flowers. The younger sister quickly joined in the impromptu song-and-dance, since that was lots more fun than just slouching, and soon she was making up her very own verses about the joy of finding flowers when nobody else can, and bump-wiggle-bumped her older sister into finally joining in the dance, too. Dancing a looping farandole around each other, they all sang the traditional childhood verse together. Polite applause arose from everyone in the entryway.
"I haven't seen anybody lead the Happy Flower Song that well in ages," a regal voice boomed. Everybody stopped and turned, and then all bowed politely before the Queen, who approached Melissa, who felt examined by a thousand eyes. Awkwardly flattered, Melissa stammered for anything to say, embarrassed because Song Leader was not her job.
"Well, Your Majesty, it just made me sad to see my sisters inside on a beautiful day like today, especially when there are still flowers blossoming."
“I just thought it was fun!” little sister buzzed excitedly.
Next: Part 2 - Days of Droning Darkness