100-Word Story: That Which We Call a Rose

Friday Fictioneers Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the photograph:

Prompt © Roger Bultot
Prompt © Roger Bultot

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Genre: Fiction
Word Count: 100

THAT WHICH WE CALL A ROSE

“Daffodil.”

“No. Jonquil.”

“Daffodil.”

“White. Daffodils are yellow.”

“And that one?”

“Buttercup.”

Primrose.

“Nope.”

Oenothera speciosa.

“Wrong.”

“It’s pink. Not buttery.”

“So?”

“Primrose. Oenothera speciosa..”

“Buttercup.”

Primrose.”

“Is not.”

“Is so.”

“Prove it.”

“I will.”

“What’s that?”

Gray’s Dichotomous Key.

“Huh?”

“Reference. Taxonomy.”

“Huge book.”

“Authoritative book.”

“Snooty book.”

“Okay. Roadside Flowers of Texas. Short. Illustrated. With pictures.”

“Meh.”

“For non-readers.

“Sez you.”

“Look. Pink. Oenothera. Prim-rose.”

“Big deal.”

[Sigh] “Back to daffodil.”

“Jonquil.”

Narcissus. Same. Both daf-fodils.”

“Why?”

Science.

“I spit on your science.”

“Cretin.”

“No. Poetic.”

“What?”

Po-et-ic.”

“Huh?”

Can’t be daffodil.”

“Why?”

Because my heart‘s not dancing.

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Click on the frog to find more short-shorts by Friday Fictioneers.

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The spring of my junior year, I took a college course in plant taxonomy. I learned to identify flowering plants by dissecting them and consulting a dichotomous key. I learned the difference between monocotyledons and dicotyledons. I learned to arrange plants for the herbarium, one flower turned up, one turned down, one open (or as close to that arrangement as one can manage).

I learned that poison ivy is a mimic, that its leaves take on a variety of forms, and that if one collects a specimen of poison ivy on every outing (because its leaves take on a variety of forms), one has a perpetual itchy rash. I learned that if one stores a box of dried plants under one’s bed in one’s dorm room, one has a perpetual itch without a rash.

I learned that one’s car can take to the ditch and almost plow through a row of mailboxes while one scans the roadside for flowering plants instead of watching where one is going. I learned the scientific names of over 300 species (I am was blessed with a good memory and excelled at subjects requiring rote memory instead of thought).

A few days after the plant tax course ended, I was standing outside the biology department office, reading the list of upcoming course offerings, when the Plant Tax professor came down the hall. He stopped behind me, leaned over, and whispered, “Looking for a course that’s as easy as the one you just finished?”

And I said, “Yes.”

But here’s the point: The longer I look at the prompt picture, the less it looks like a daffodil, a jonquil, or a Narcissus anything.

Everything I remember from the plant tax course:

Hydrophyllaceae Nemophila phacelioides  (Baby Blue Eyes)
Verbenaceae Phyla incisa (Turkey Tangle Frogfruit)
Anacardiaceae Toxicodendron radicans (Poison Ivy)
Onagraceae Oenothera speciosa (Evening Primrose)
plus a few other facts I can’t think of at the moment.

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English: A newly bloomed primrose. These flowe...

English: A newly bloomed primrose. These flowers are pink and turn white as they age. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). By ZooFari (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Prompt photographer: Roger Bultot  https://plus.google.com/u/0/107716760208067370787
Prompt photo source: https://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2017/02/01/3-february-2017/

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Irwin and Mills. Roadside Flowers of Texas.

10 thoughts on “100-Word Story: That Which We Call a Rose

    1. It’s an orchid. But I’ve had so little experience with orchids that at first glance I saw a daffodil (or a jonquil). I didn’t look at the stem and leaves till after I wrote the story.

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  1. That was a fun read! Loved the arguing back and forth.
    I was NOT going to read the whole large explanatory section below but somehow got sucked in and ended up enjoyed it 😉

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  2. You really did learn a lot during your course and now I’ve learned new stuff, too. Thanks for sharing. I will avoid poison ivy leaves of any shape, never store them under my bed, and not stare into ditches while driving. 🙂

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  3. Laughed at both the story and your story. Oh, how carefree the days of our youth. I learned some things in college, and but for the grace of God I survived them. Giggles. loved this write! 🙂 ❤

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