Stephen King * The night shift * The man who loved flowers

if there is anything more beautiful than springtime, it’s young love

The Man Who Loved Flowers

In May 1963 a man buys flowers for his girlfriend, Norma. As he walks into an alley, he sees a woman walking down the alleyway, and he rushes up to her. He calls her name, and she looks around.

“I’ve bought some flowers for you, Norma.”

The woman tells him: “You must be mistaken, my name is-” She then sees a hammer in his pocket and opens her mouth to scream.

She backed away, her face a round white blur, her mouth an opening black 0 of terror, and she wasn’t Norma, Norma was dead, she had been dead for ten years, and it didn’t matter because she was going to scream and he swung the hammer to stop the scream, to kill the scream, and he swung the hammer the spill of flowers fell out of his hand, the spill spilled and broke open, spilling red, white, and yellow tea roses beside the dented trash cans where the cats made alien love in the dark, screaming in love, screaming, screaming. He swung the hammer and she didn’t scream, but she might scream because she wasn’t Norma, none of them were Norma, and he swung the hammer, swung the hammer, swung the hammer. She wasn’t Norma and so he swung the hammer, as he had done five other times.

poster-the-man-who-loved-flowersThe man kills the woman because she isn’t Norma.. and then walks off. After an unspecified amount of time, he leaves the alleyway. Through the narrator, we find out that “Norma” has been dead for ten years, and the grief most likely drove the man to insanity, convincing himself that nearly every woman is Norma. The young man says that his name is Love.

His name was love, and he walked these dark streets because Norma was waiting for him. And he would find her. Some day soon.

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