by Jake Christie

PLANT.
a story.

“Is it open?” Geoff called down from the third story. He leaned forward so half his body — the top half, the naked half — was hanging out the window.

David shook the door with both hands, wringing the handle like a wet towel. He craned his neck. “No,” he called back.

“The buzzer's broken,” said Geoff.

“I've got your plant,” said David. He stooped and picked up a large green potter filled with soil. He hefted it over his head in Geoff's direction, as if to prove his point.

“That's just dirt,” said Geoff. “You said you were getting a plant.” He reached inside and picked up a mug of coffee. He took a long sip and set it on the windowsill. David watched a few drips crawl down the granite.

“The plant is in the dirt,” said David. “Throw down the keys.”

Geoff leaned forward farther, squinting. “Where?” he said.

“I'll catch them,” said David. “I played baseball in high school,” lied David.

“No, where's the plant?”

“You have to grow it yourself,” said David. “Water. Sunshine. Maybe sing to it from time to time.”

“I know that,” said Geoff. “I grew plenty of plants when I was younger,” lied Geoff.

“Do you want me to leave it here?” said David. He set the potter down on the step and put his hands on his hips, inadvertently matronly. “So it can deal with your bullshit?”

“Hold on,” said Geoff. He reached into his window. The coffee mug continued to sweat on the sill. A passerby looked at David for a moment longer than he would a man with no plant.

Geoff returned with a giant wad of metal in his fist. He leaned out and extended his arm as far as it would go, channeling Mr. Fantastic. “It's the big one but not the biggest one,” he said, “if you know what I mean,” he added, and he let the keys fall.


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