Quies closed early on Fridays so he could check his inventory and catch up on mailing orders. He flipped the We're Open! sign back, pulled the hanging bell out of the way, and stepped out into the late afternoon long enough to pull the heavy steel grate closed over his storefront. It was still too early, but he looked westward down the street and watched for a few long moments at where the sun would be dipping below the horizon. With a half-hearted sigh, he stepped back inside.
The front window had a shelf that help some not-so-rare, nice-looking flowers. He picked up the clipboard he'd lain down a few minutes ago and pulled a pencil from behind his ear.
"Two bushes of black roses, check. One each of Roooy... Gee... Bivv..." he counted out slowly, checking as he eyeballed each and examined for signs of wilting. And white. One white." He held on of the newest opened buds tenderly, stroking the petals, efore letting it go and moving on.
Next after the window displays were his aggressive plants. "South American carnivorous snapdragon, check. Irish hungry grass, check. Black mercy secure," he rustled the enclosure, 'in it's Emrys-Faraday cage, check. Two bloodflowers," he leaned close to the glass, and saw and smelt the impact of fresh spit, "Vemon still potent, check. And one Krynoid, check."
Following those sat his resource-plants, those whose seeds, roots, buds, and leaves could be harvested without affecting the plant's livelihood or continues growth. "One Salvia, check. One mutated aum plant, check. One each of batthorn and wolfsbane, check. One happy plant, check. One nest of katterpods, check. One genically engineered kyrt vine, check. One miniature paopu tree, check. One young peya bush, check. One bushel of sser berries, check. One miniature herbah tree with delighted silkworms, check."
Lastly, one his sales floor, but for the racks of dried stock that lined the wall and hung from the rafters, were his preserved plants, and these, rather than sitting below sun lamps and skylights, were entombed in darkglass coffins that let in just enough light to see them by and let out just enough cold to know that the cryonics were still running. "One miniature Bob with annoyed young Harold, check. One adolescent cactacae, check. Two baby elowans, one male and one female, check. One integral tree sapling, check. On pair of mangaboos, check. One full-bloom night-blooming mock orchid, check."
Quies paused, smiling at the memory of hunting this one down in his younger days. It took several years to find, several weeks to build a deep-freeze enclosure around it, several days of trigger-happy sleeplessness, and a percarious airlift out of that horrible place. Only after it was secure did he even think about going back for his equipment, and some of it was misteriously damaged when he retured. Still, it was well worth the effort for this beauty.
He glanced back down at his list, and continued.
"One full-bloom re-annual plant, check. One sapling sapient pearwood, check. One tirils, with intact case, check. One full-bloom vul nut vine, check."
Quies stepped behind his counter, filed away to inventory list, and picked up his competed bok of books. He staggered slightly under the weight as he carried it into the back room and sorted it into the packed bookshelves.
Feeling heavy yawns coming on, Quies double-checked his quadruple-locked doors, picked up mail that had fallen through is rear mail-slot during the day, and climbed the narrow staircase to his small apartment above the store. He set the mail on his bedside table, undressed, and climbed into bed.