We came to the conclusion almost unanimously that the delivery date indicated for the flowers (June 21st) would coincide with the day that the place—whatever it would prove to be, in the end—would open its doors to us. It was clear that the flowers were meant for some kind of grand celebration, a fabulous debut, and we could only hope that there was no intention to make it in any way exclusive, for that would be a cruelty beyond reckoning. We wondered when, how, and if we would be invited.
Yet the orchids, and the impending date, only satisfied us for a matter of weeks. Sooner than we would have liked, we had exhausted our theories on what they could truly portend; with no news from the old Hotel to entice us, we slowly began to speak of other, more quotidian things. Just as our lunchtime conversations had nearly lost their fervent fire altogether, another tidbit came to light, with curiously precise timing. With a style we would come to recognize, this development was utterly underwhelming in its presentation, and would have nearly slipped past our notice if a handful of us weren’t still avid readers of the Gazette.
In the corner of the classifieds, a small and unobtrusive advertisement appeared; it was no more than seven centimetres square, and with no evident expense taken on colour or ornamentation. In a plain font, the monochromatic masterpiece of mundanity announced an open casting call, reading simply thus:
'Seeking: unique talents, performers, practitioners of arts strange, dangerous, sensual, unusual and otherwise. Discretion an asset.'
And then there was a phone number. We were agog.
Its sheer plainness suggested to us that whoever had requested it had known that no matter how pedestrian its appearance was, the spread of the information it contained would be immediately epidemic, and so it was. In what seemed like only a matter of hours, it was the only thing to be discussed amongst citizens in the know; we decided quite quickly that the grand opening must feature extraordinary performances by hitherto unknown talents from our wondrous city. We envisioned limber trapeze artists and extravagantly choreographed circus spectacles, with opulent sets and sumptuous costumes and music and dancing and momentary constellations caught in slender champagne flutes.
As with so many of our suppositions, we would prove to be neither entirely correct, nor truly entirely wrong.
A Rumour of Midnight
Oh my god oh my god I finished something.
The Writer Letters
So I’ve lately been having a little trouble keeping up any kind of actual writing pace. Nonetheless, I have had an idea for a while that I would really like to put into action, hopefully with the end result that I will get back into regular writing.
So, I am looking for people who would be interested in becoming pen-pals. My intention with this is to connect with people who enjoy/would like to try exchanging hand-written letters, with the express purpose of sharing pieces of writing.
This can take any number different forms. I’m open to:
Or any combination thereof, or any suggestion you might have yourself. The crux of this is that we keep each other inspired.
To be eligible:
I’m going to be reblogging this regularly over the next couple weeks to see if anyone ends up being interested. If not, oh well!
If you are interested, please send a message to my inbox (anonymous messages will be DISREGARDED) and we can work out the details.
I have a two week break coming up and I’m going to spend so much of it writing aaahhh
Our need to examine every detail that drifted to us as if secretly, yet intentionally delivered was, as ever, stronger than our common sense. Despite the German florist’s bemused stares—yielding no information to us other than his lack of interest in anything beyond the physical—we pressed on, in search of truth. We had convinced ourselves that somewhere in the choice of flowers there was some nugget of prophetic fact, something that would tell us what we could expect when finally the Hotel opened its doors to us and welcomed us back as it surely must. What we discovered, poring over richly illustrated textbooks (and, truth be told, some rather sensational books of mystic ‘wisdom’), was this:
The varied and extravagant members of the family Orchidaceae outnumber both birds and mammals in terms of sheer number of species; they represent one of the two largest families of flowering plants, and in the history of their horticulture have been hybridized to such a staggering extent that we were reminded rather unexpectedly of a comparison we had once heard of flowers being rather like prostitutes, which now seemed quite apt. Certainly their resupinate flowers brought this to mind as well; and the origin of the name, too, was by no means lost on us. Flowers were, of course, sexual organs, and there was no blushing necessary to accompany the admission of their true purpose. We were not stupid in this regard.
Thus, the significance of the flowers in relation to the primal urges was a logical conclusion, confirmed for us by references to Chinese beliefs of their ability to ward against infertility and barrenness. Yet their connection to this realm came with a surprising undercurrent of morbidity: cut orchids were associated with the deaths of children; we tittered amongst ourselves that the flower could both inspire and rescind, create and destroy, provide and deny (nothing teased our palates so much as duality and contradiction, and it seemed, to our truly enormous sense of our own importance, that these flowers had been selected with such an effect in mind.)
How fascinating! we exclaimed upon making these discoveries. Such portentous things we had uncovered, such rich meaning. Flushed as we were with self-satisfaction at having unveiled the facts, we repeated them over and over to each other, as if in repetition they would transform into some deeper and greater truth. In fact, by simply continuing to flap our mouths, what we were choosing to do was to deny to ourselves that really we had uncovered nothing. We had not in any way illuminated further the mystery of the Hotel, or its decision to have orchids delivered as opposed to any other flower, any of which may have served just as well to provoke our thirst for symbolic suggestion. We did not admit that— in the simple fact of a large order of flowers having been placed, at least—there was no meaning to be had.
To this end, we repeated the phrase with a knowing air, as if there were no doubt whatsoever: Ah, yes, orchids.
A Rumour of Midnight
Then, four weeks after the work had begun, and so exquisitely timed as to occur at the height of our new and rabid fascination, a breakthrough came.
It had until then appeared as though whomever it was who had decided to bankroll this project—and we certainly nursed theories about their identity, too—had been making a concerted effort to use imported workers and distant suppliers to keep anyone in our city who might otherwise have ben involved utterly in the dark about the intended use of the Hotel Bellevieux. The obscurity had hitherto been perfect: many of us may have felt quite certain that we knew exactly what was going on, but these feelings were, as generally is the case, just pure arrogance. All of our suppositions were based on minor, miraculous glimpses of tantalizing nothings: the aforementioned deliveries, whose shapes we inevitably misinterpreted; the indecipherable actions of the workers; and of course, the colourless dreams and visions we fooled ourselves into having and then believing as though they were sent to us with some kind of divine purpose. We were clueless.
But then, the German florist, whose English was only ever just good enough to do business and little else, reported to us:
"Orchids! Thousands of orchids, huge order. Deliver to the Hotel on June 21st."
At last! As one creature we seized upon this new revelation and let its truthfully minimal prescient significance balloon until it may as well have been delivered by the Pythia herself. Orchids, we whispered, were an opulent choice. We let their myriad shapes fill our imaginations: we thought of their drooping mouths, like supine lovers with flushed and quivering bellies; the generous curves of their petals like the swell of plump thighs; or, taken as a whole, the dark, prurient truth of their resemblance to the organ that, in fact, they were. Certainly their inclusion in the designs of the benefactor behind the Hotel’s renovation must have been deliberate. They brought to our mind an unending parade of new, dark, carnal ideas about what we could expect when finally the place opened itself to us.
Newly invigorated as we were, the German florist suddenly found himself besieged by legions of the curious. Ultimately, though, the city’s sleuths were disappointed to discover that the order had been made anonymously and that the only information to be found was:
"Orchids, various varieties and colours. 2000 blooms min."
And then the delivery date, the address, and finally the extravagant budget. The German florist, either because he lacked the vocabulary or because he wasn’t much for elaborate imaginings, simply repeated the facts of the order verbatim, and made no conjectures as to what it might ‘mean’. When we pestered him with questions as to the symbolic significance of the orchid, he simply stared at us, uncomprehending. Regardless, we remained undeterred.
A Rumour of Midnight