© Copyright 2002
The tinkling of a small bell sliced through the sweltering June morning. Summer has started hard this year, and today's temperature is at eighty-five degrees before ten a.m. From the inside of a much cooler flower shop, Karen winced at the searing sun as it nested in a royal blue sky. Her own equally blue eyes scanned the roadway, which passed the front of the store, for the familiar form of the florist's delivery van.
Vance, the store's salesclerk was attending to the browsing customer who had originally opened the door, activating a small, attached bell. Karen felt disassociated with the immediate surroundings. The conversation between Vance and the elderly gent he was selling to, had become a background drone. The young lady shook her head to clear it of the day's mugginess and her long, straight golden hair rippled at the motion. She allowed her mind to race off to recheck her plans for this day. Hot and clear had been the weather report and that meant BEACH.
Karen's summer job, while not as monetarily lucrative as some others she could have handled, allowed her latitude for a lot of personal time. In the autumn, she would return to college with a little cash, and by November, mom and dad would have to nourish her accounts, as usual.
Today, her boss had said that she was scheduled for only two deliveries. One was going to a funeral parlor, the other to be received by a small college research facility. Karen's plan was to deliver, race back to the shop to clock out, then onward to the beach. By noon, it could easily be ninety-five degrees and basking with the breeze at the shore playing across her dark brown skin would be a most delicious sensation.
A raise in the tone of Vance's voice and the jingling bell signal marked the departure of another satisfied customer and caused Karen's attention to focus upon the present environment.
Her gaze rested on Vance, who flashed her a quick smile. Karen tossed her head from side to side, and stretching her neck backwards, she could feel the soft weight of her thick blonde tresses sliding silkily across her shoulder blades. Returning to a normal posture, Karen smiled back and pulled at the side of her tube top in mock adjustment of her ample bust-line.
Vance laughed aloud now, and said, "You are true blonde girl!"
Karen laughed also, for this was their little inside joke of a character developed to supplement rainy days in a boring flower shop.
Vance was an even six feet in height. He towered over Karen by eleven inches. He was crowned with shocking red hair, and his eyes were stormy gray. Vance had the physique of a gymnast and the grace to enthrall many a shopping housewife into an upgraded purchase. He was only just recently married however, so there was no romantic or sexual tensions to their banter. Their relationship was closer to a sister-brother bond.
This was all right with Karen, who was relieved to have a corner of the world and a male confidant without any sexual tensions. She was the kind of attractive female that caused guys to nudge their buddies, just to make let know that they spotted her first. Karen had long since grown weary of the several stammered approaches she received each day, but she did so dearly enjoy the spotlight of attention. She had even developed certain mannerisms and motions that fed her exhibitionistic needs with guaranteed satiation.
Karen was presently not dating anyone because of an emotional turmoil that roiled over her heart. When the guys that she felt most attracted to made solicitations of friendship and romance, Karen felt an anxiety tightening around her lungs and pushing her to flee. It was that bastard's fault, she thought darkly. Her last boyfriend, Craig, had been a disastrous college fling. It had been a month since the termination of that relationship, and she was without any regrets. Although lonely, Karen felt that she had issues to deal with. She spent her quiet times asking herself who she was and what she really needed as a person.
Since Jack's description of her route, yesterday, a nagging question had been on Karen's mind. She had been hoping to corner Vance and pick up some information. Karen knew that she could talk with ease to Vance. Jack was a nice man, but he was also the sort that became suspicious if he thought someone was prying into his business. "What kind of delivery would this little flower shop be making to a Botanical Research Department?" queried Karen. "It doesn't seem to add up."
"The bill of lading stated that it was shipped from Madagascar." responded Vance.
"Madagascar? What in hell is in Madagascar anyway?" Karen asked.
Vance straightened to his full six-foot altitude and donned his "smug professor" facial expression. He stated, "Madagascar is a very large island off the coast of Africa. Due to its separation from the main continent, much of its flora and fauna are uniquely evolved species." Then he added with a smile, "But you're in college, so you already know that stuff."
" Hey, no fair!" replied Karen. " You know that I'm a liberal arts major and the sciences are more in your realm of expertise."
Vance fidgeted with the clipboard he was holding, and Karen sensed that he knew more about the cargo than he was disclosing. She knew just how to break him down into telling her the true scoop.
In a low and sexy voice she said, "Vance, you big hunk of man-meat, you are not holding anything back from me, are you?" As she said this, Karen held her arms with palms up and straight towards him. She wriggled her fingers in a tickling motion and smiled a smirk of anticipation. Even though five feet of air remained between the, the young man trembled and Karen knew that he would tell her every detail.
Vance craned his neck to look around the shop, and then briefly studied the road out in front of the store. He took a long stride towards Karen and started to lean over her as he whispered. " Jack confided in me that we are handling an endangered species, and we are doing it with a package that has not undergone all the required US Customs validations. I also think he is getting paid handsomely for this shipment."
"So, old Jack's a smuggler. Well, with civilization encroaching on wild habitats, only research facilities will be left with the truly wild beauties of nature. Your local florist to the rescue!" giggled Karen.
"Not exactly. Jack told me that it's not the modern civilization that's driving this plant into extinction. The island's natives have been trying to exterminate it for centuries." Responded Vance. "The first European explorers on the island called the plant 'Le Morte Des Femme', which translates to The Lady-Killer."
"Couldn't the locals just adopt a live and let live policy of some kind?" queried the curious girl.
"Hey, we live in a country where you would not think twice of ridding your yard of poison ivy. Not to mention what we have done to wolves, bears and mountain lions." Vance replied. "A flower shop is not the place for a "tree-hugger" to work anyway."
"Sounds like Jack has handed you some potent manure, Vance. He probably just doesn't want us snooping at the cargo to see what it really is." The smiling blonde joked.
" I have to do the final preparations on the floral funeral arrangements, but don't let on to Jack about anything we just discussed or he will cut my balls off." Confided the young man, as he retreated to the back room of the flower store.
"Lady-Killer." Chuckled Karen. Jack was having fun fishing for fools and poor Vance was so hooked, she thought.
Karen returned to her front window vigil just in time to see the approaching florist van. It was slowly wending its way through a shopping plaza lot, which abutted the flower shop's own parking area. Madagascar she thought, well today it would surely enjoy a ride in that burning hot van.
Inside the van, Jack Farmer wiped the sweat from his forehead as he leaned on the truck's big steering wheel with a meaty forearm and puffed on a Salem Light. Deftly he swung the long delivery van around to his rear bay door. His five-foot five- inch, pudgy frame was nestled in the dog-eared vinyl driver's seat of the small bus. The light blue paint on the truck's sides was faded and the shop's name, FARMER'S FLOWERS-"THIS BUD"S FOR YOU", was embossed on the side with lightly flaking yellow letters. As he pulled up, The large overhead door opened. Karen and Vance were revealed to be at the ready, each cradling an arrangement of lilies.
"Let's get a move on!" Jack demanded in a gravelly voice as he sprung like a chubby, balding gnome, hopping from the seat and onto the hot tar.
Karen and Vance approached the sliding side door as Jack labored with the handle to gain entry. A minute later, a sweating and frustrated Jack admitted, "This damned door has finally had it"
Vance chided, "It's about time for a new truck, isn't it Jack."
"With what I pay you kids, who has money left for a new truck!" replied the puffing old man.
Walking around to the back doors, Jack stated, "It looks like we do this the hard way. Jack had no trouble with the barn-style rear doors and as he swung them open, Vance snaked up between a very large crate, which was positioned behind the driver's seat, and the passenger-side wall of the van. He was returning to the back gate when Jack cautioned him to wait a moment. Holding his arms out to receive Karen's burden, "Please get the mist bottles." The old man instructed.
Handing over the lily filled vase, Karen jogged back into the back door of the flower shop. Jack watched her retreat. He ran hot eyes up her muscular tanned legs and focused on the way her ass sashayed as she moved. The words voluptuous and pixie both instantly sprung to his mind. He imagined how her firm and globular breasts must have been quaking with every stride, although from his perspective, they were obscured. She must know that men were always watching her, he thought. Jack wondered how many young men had entered his shop to buy their girls flowers, but spent more than they had planned to in an effort to impress Karen.
Then, as a stone in his heart, he had an honest moment where he had to admit to himself that he was well past his prime years and would probably bore her. A moment later Karen returned, lugging two large plastic bottles with spray heads attached to them. She handed one to Vance and he immediately employed it on the plant he had just loaded. This was common practice on hot days. It kept their precious cargo alive in the sun-baked van.
As Vance sprayed with vigor, Karen regarded the crate for the first time. It was three feet wide, and just as tall. It appeared to be ten feet long. It looked heavy. On the end panel, it was marked: MADAGASCAR- Farm Implements.
Turning to Jack, Karen asked, "How am I ever supposed to get that off the truck?"
"You couldn't." replied Jack. "It took three men and me to put it in there."
He continued, " Take the paper from my shirt pocket. On it is the name of a man to ask the guard at the campus gate for. It will be unloaded for you."
Karen reached past the potted Lily that Jack was holding and eased the slip of paper from the pocket on his chest. Without a glance, but with a bit more effort, she cached the paper into the front pocket of her tight shorts.
Vance called out to them, "Hey! I'm cooking in here." To accent his state, he sprayed the top of his head with the mist bottle, then rested it atop the crate.
Karen and Jack both laughed as Jack handed up the lilies he had been holding. As Vance was carefully placing the vases in the truck, Karen and Jack transported the cargo from the shop to him. Each plant had been amply sprayed as it was set in its place and what was left in the second bottle, was placed at the rearmost end of the truck as Vance climbed out.
"If the lilies start to look wilted at all on the trip, pull over and juice them up." Instructed Jack. "You will probably be back in three hours." Said Jack, as he handed Karen the key to the truck. Karen was thinking, maybe two hours.
As both men retreated to the coolness of the flower shop, Karen boosted herself up into the truck. She paused long enough to grab a towel that she kept stashed in the cab. The towel was then draped on the hot vinyl bucket seat. Karen turned the key in the ignition, and the old truck roared to life. Easing the column shift into DRIVE, she slowly drove to the far end of the shopping plaza to enter the main road.
Fifty yards short of the exit, Karen stopped the truck and put it in park. Cracking the door open a foot, she emptied the ashtray into the lot. "Ugh!" She exclaimed as she noted that the van still smelled of stale cigarettes. Then, raising her rump slightly off the seat, she wriggled out of her shorts, to remain clad in only her string bikini bottom. The bathing suit was bright yellow and the young woman's rich brown tan caused it to stand out like a white cloth under a black light. Karen was going up on the highway, and it gave her a charge to mess with the heads of the guys who made their living by driving the bigger trucks. She knew the men could see down into her van, but not making out the skimpy bathing suit, they might think her to be naked. One time Karen had found herself boxed in on three sides by truckers, who after a few nervous minutes, smiled and moved on. It was just a little game she told herself, to keep from truly going crazy. Besides, she rationalized, no harm was done to anyone and she might have even brightened up a dull day for one of the drivers. Karen also liked to drive barefoot, so she kicked her sandals to the passenger side of the floor.
Five minutes later, Karen was guiding the van up the entrance to I-84, a three lane interstate highway. She glanced back at her floral passengers and noted that although not wilting, they looked dry and would soon need the treatment.
After eight miles of travel along the interstate, the three lanes were channeled into two lanes with large orange signs bearing the message CAUTION- CONSTRUCTION AHEAD. This did not aggravate the young lady as she anticipated the viewing by well-tanned, healthy men to be a pleasant diversion. Look at them was often far from bad for her also.
To Karen's disappointment the work gangs had already called it a day and left the construction site. It was almost eleven a.m. and the temperature had already risen to ninety-seven degrees. The torn up roadway remained however. It was navigable, but rough and guarded by a sentinel state trooper. When she passed him, Karen turned and smiled not to be friendly, but because it struck her that he had a shittier job to do today, than she did.
Driving at thirty miles an hour, was not such a great idea, considering the bumpy terrain and as she approached the midpoint of the stretch of torn up roadway, disaster struck.
The van jolted hard on its aging suspension and some very loud noises drew Karen's attention to her precious cargo. She could see that several of the funeral arrangements had toppled over. A few soft plants rolling over could not have made such a clamor. Karen eased the van to a stop along the side of a cement barrier. She turned off the ignition and was immediately aware of the flashing strobes behind her vehicle. As Karen started to climb out of the door, she could see that the traffic behind her truck and the police car was merging into the one remaining lane. A State Trooper approached her truck at a brisk walk and before her feet touched the ground, she was told in a loud, gruff voice to remain in her vehicle.
Karen squirmed nervously on the warm towel as the Trooper stepped to her window. He was the epitome of all state police profiles. Topped by a "Smokey the Bear" hat, he was easily six-foot-four inches tall. His hat rode on a sidewall haircut head at a ridiculous forward tilt and his eyes were obscured by mirrored aviator glasses. He looked athletic also, with large corded arms. Karen saw that his nametag said Stanton, and that he carried a clipboard.
Looking down at Karen, he gripped the thin strip of the truck door's window, Officer Stanton inhaled sharply.
Perhaps he had fallen prey to her trick on the truck-drivers, mused the near naked young driver. Karen stifled a giggle as she thought of this.
"You cannot stop here ma'am, unless your vehicle is disabled. Is your vehicle disabled ma'am?" he inquired.
"No" replied the young lady. " But, you see, I have some very delicate funeral flowers in the back and they've been knocked over by your bumpy road." She added with her cutest pout. Ten seconds of tense silence trailed after her declaration. She was starting to become irritated with him. Couldn't he see her? He should be at the rear door of the truck right now, helping her to reset the toppled Lilies, and he should be damned happy to be there.
"Well ma'am, as I see it, the way you treat your funeral flowers, might just generate more funerals." stated the Trooper. He continued, "And ma'am, it's not my bumpy road, it's yours. I just try to keep the bad things from happening on it."
He started to turn away, and then spun back to face her, again grasping the sliver of window the rose from the door. "By the way ma'am, it is illegal to drive shoeless in this state. Please put them on. Thank you ma'am."
Karen obediently bent across the seat and grabbed at her sandals on the passenger-side floor. She felt the seat of her bikini riding into the cleft of her ass. Then it dawned on her that bending over, butt-up as she was, would be giving this overgrown policeman a much better show than he deserved. Karen could feel her face flush with anger. When she sat up with the retrieved footwear, she was surprised to see that Stanton had left already. This made her feel angrier yet. Looking into the truck's side rearview, she saw him standing behind her rear bumper, and he was writing something on his clipboard. When he turned his broad back on her to return to his cruiser, Karen let the sandals fall to the floor by her feet. "Asshole!" She thought, "What a frustrated asshole he was."
Starting the van again, Karen let it inch forward and accelerated to a whopping ten miles an hour. The police car remained parked, but Karen kept an eye on it in the truck's large side mirror. Another hundred yards and the construction zone would end.
She was so intent on busting the cop's balls that Karen almost missed seeing the narrow and stony road at her right. Not much more than a wide path, it intersected the highway ten yards before the end of the torn up freeway. It was an easy turn, as there were no shoulder-barriers aside the roadwork at this point. Ten yards from the edge of the main road the little gravel drive entered a dense deciduous woods.
Karen took the turn, and looking towards the passenger side window, she could see that the police cruiser was now starting to slowly advance. So what, she rationalized, I am exiting the highway to repair my cargo, like he told me to.
The road ahead of her appeared as a washed out path that sloped down and away from the freeway. As the van entered the trees the roadway narrowed, the branches of trees screeched along the sides of the long van like fingernails on a blackboard. A thick dusty cloud rose up behind the truck, even though the present speed she drove at was a crawl. I could never back this big truck out of here, thought Karen. I will just have to go forward until I reach a place that I can turn round.
She had gone downhill on the winding trail for almost five hundred feet before such an oasis occurred. It was a clearing in the roadway, thirty feet across, with a cutaway bank on one side. The ruptured hillside of the sandbank was crested with green moss and small bushes forming a border that blended into the wooded hills. Along the bottom of the bank was a collection of discarded furniture, large black yard-bags, which bulged ominously and hundreds of empty liquor bottles.
Karen swung the long van around, and shifted into park. Turning off the engine, she marveled at the dust-cloud, which completely obliterated her entrance to this alcove.
Through the powdery storm that her passage had kicked up, she saw the glimmer of approaching headlights. It's that cop again, she thought. "I'll bet I'm trespassing." Karen murmured. Suddenly the exposed headlights started to blink alternately left and right, red and blue. This was accompanied by the piercing blue top rack strobes cutting into the dusty haze.
Then, the cruiser backed up with a roar of gravel. Moments later, Karen heard a siren's wail into the stillness of the mid-day forest around her. She couldn't even tell which direction the policeman had taken and she was just glad that he was gone.
With a heavy metallic creak the van's door swung open. Climbing down from the truck's seat, Karen stopped to sneeze twice, because the air was still so thick with drifting particles. Silence hung in the air just like the dust did. This day was becoming a monumental challenge, she thought. Maybe the beach later would be the salvation to her sanity. Karen knew she would have to be careful not to brush up against anything with her delicate bikini, the bright yellow fabric could become easily soiled.
As she opened the rear door behind the passenger seat of the truck, she noted, with relief, a lucky break in the way the funeral flowers had toppled. The farthest back arrangement had fallen completely to its side. The others merely leaned against it like dominos on the move. This would be easy to clean. Karen also noticed a strip of loose wood extending over from the driver's side rear door.
As the curious young lady slowly opening the other rear door, the piece of wood followed it out, to fall with a muffled thump on the parched earth. This caused her to jump back with a yelp of surprise. The end of the packing crate with MADAGASCAR - Farm Implements emblazoned on it was on the ground at her feet.
"This sucks." She chaffed aloud. Karen cast a quick glance about for a small stone to use as a hammer. Then her gaze redirected itself to the crate. "What kind of plant would a botanical research department go through the trouble to smuggle into the country anyway?" Karen wondered aloud. Maybe it was a special kind of marijuana she mused. The end of the crate was packed with a heavy, straw-like packing material that bore a remarkable resemblance to a rat's nest. If there's any mice or rats in there, I'll freak out bigtime decided Karen.
But curiosity is a powerful motivator. Once she had seen the secret cargo, Karen reasoned, she probably would have something real spicy to tell Vance. A smoldering item of gossip she could tease him with. She placed the loose crate end atop the box, in case there were mice inside. Then, with her thumb and forefinger, Karen pinched the straw and cautiously tugged at it. The large ball of flaxen strands slid readily out. Karen looked into the crate, adjusting her eyesight to the shadowed confines, and what she saw made her blood instantly run cold.
It was an abomination to all other life. A heaving sack-like body that was half again as large as hers, with one large, yellow eye. The creature's eye had no pupil. Just the same, Karen knew it was looking at her with an evil hunger and her heart was frozen with the knowledge that she was its prey. To augment the hideous beast, was a radiating mass of writhing tentacles. It looked like a vegetable octopus in that the serpentine appendages it bore had a greasy vine-like texture.
Karen quickly reached for the end cover of the crate. The creature's response was quicker. A tendril that was an inch and a half thick lashed out of the crate's darkness and encircled her waist with an iron grip. Karen screamed long and hard as the appendage applied force on her body, drawing her towards the box. She braced her arms against the rim of the crate and locked her elbows. Her legs, she braced also, on the high rear bumper of the truck. Karen tried gyrating her torso, to twist out of its tenacious grasp, to no avail.
Suddenly, the pulling force relented. The creature's grip around her waist eased up a bit also. Karen was now sweating profusely from the tug-of war, and with the dust still sifting to the ground, the sweat formed small streaks on her tawny hide. The captured girl sucked large gulps of air into her tortured lungs, as she noticed the grip at her belly had diminished.
Karen drew her stomach in hard and tried to twist away free, but once again the organism that held her in its control proved to be adept at keeping her there.
As she spun around to run, the grip re-tightened. Her back was now to the box, and with a sharp yank the botanical specimen fiercely reinitiated its deadly tug-of- war.
The startled girl felt a flash of pain as the back of her neck hit the top edge of the box. Karen swung her arms out to catch the sides of the container in hopes of purchasing a hold. With her forearms positioned parallel to the sides of the crate, the entrapped young lady was able to apply some upper body leverage in the struggle. She also hooked her legs on the truck's bumper so that it is nestled into the back of her knees. Spread out across the box's gaping mouth and pinned there by the hauling tentacle, her buttocks hovered a foot above the van's metal floor and Karen's feet were an inch above the road.
Her attacker displayed the strength of a large and powerful man and Karen knew that if she started screaming again, she would not have enough stamina needed to resist being pulled into the crate. Into the crate with it, the ominous thought hit home and a cold shiver ran through her. Karen knew that once she was drawn into the wooden cubical, she would never be coming back out.
As the tentacle enwrapping her tummy continued in its forceful endeavor, Karen felt another aggressor, sliding up along the soft valley of her spine and probing the back of her tube-top blouse. Rolling the edge of the garment the creature slithered its tendril up against the girl's shoulder blades and through her tube top. Its waxy touch upon her skin caused her cringe and Karen rolls her neck in disgust. In a groping-nestling motion, it slid to Karen's left side and across her heaving ribcage. The probe nudged one firm breast into its twin, accenting and lifting the naturally ample cleavage. Karen looked down in horror at the worming bulge beneath her tube top. She thought that she could feel a gentle nipping sensation upon her soft flesh. The sinuous appendage homed in on Karen's left nipple, clamped and suckled with vigor.
"No! Oh God, no!" pleaded the horrified young woman.
The serpentine pseudopodia relinquished its grasp upon Karen's swollen nipple and lazily returned to the center of her back, where it hooked up through the captured girl's garment.
With a sharp tug, it began to pull at her from the additional advantage point. Karen fought back with every fiber of her being and suddenly there is a sharp popping sound. Then a series of short pings finalized by a reduction in the forces pulling at her as her ruined tube top flopped against her hip on the way to the ground.
The small of her back, which was centered in the crate's portal, was the next part of her body to feel the creature's invasive probing. Once again, rolling the edge of fabric to achieve access, the appendage slid down the crack of her ass, and out the left leg of her bikini bottom. A sinuous yank and all that remained of the fragile apparel was sliding down her right leg. Karen was pinned and naked in the creatures clutches and she thought that she could hardly feel more vulnerable than that. Then, she felt the tentacle sliding up and between her thighs from behind.
It rasped against the lower regions of her downy crotch as it slowly explored the tenderness of Karen's right inner thigh. It seemed to be sniffing and ferreting for something as the tendril wound its way around her thigh, with its tip nesting finally at the backside of a straining knee.