Meat

“It’s a Venus Flytrap,” he tells the old lady.

This is her fourth time visiting the Walmart Garden Center, and just like those other times, she doesn’t appear interested in purchasing anything.

Unlike her, he’s got better things to do than wander aimlessly amid the pots and plants. Another shipment of fertilizer came in that morning and though he pretends to dislike it like his co-workers do, he secretly enjoys the fragrant smell of the bags. They’re much better smelling, anyway, than this old lady, who smells like how he’d expect someone who’s slowly rotting from the inside to smell. The stench seems to get worse with each visit. He hopes this isn’t his fate when he gets old. He’d rather die young and get it over with.

He waits for the old lady to shuffle off like she has the previous days, but she surprises him by pointing at the Venus Flytrap.

“Will it eat meat?” she asks.

He glances at the plant, dubious. “I mean, it’ll eat flies and stuff. I guess that’s meat.”

“Meat,” she says, and nods.

She keeps staring at the plant but doesn’t say anything more, so he rolls his eyes and walks off. He’s got fertilizer to stack. When he looks back to check if she’s left, he’s mildly surprised to see her still standing there.

An hour later when he returns to the floor, his supervisor tells him to clean up Aisle 20. He pushes the mop and bucket over but once he arrives in the aisle, he can only stare. There’s a huge puddle of blood on the floor and a pair of ratty shoes that seem familiar. Almost as an afterthought, he looks at the nearby shelf.

The Venus Flytrap seems to be a lot bigger, and propped against its pot is a faded old photograph of a smiling young couple.

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