You would not believe the day I’ve had.
The other denizens of Club Chlorophyll politely brushed their minds against the Bonsai Mallorn’s, confirming that they were paying attention. The miniature tree tapped a branch on the side of his pot, and one of the waitstaff - the only non-Flora allowed in the Club - tipped a cupful of blue-green crystals onto the soil.
Ahh, that’s better. The head of DOGA stretched his twigs, golden leaves rippling. I mean, as if these staffing issues weren’t bad enough…
We all have staff shortages, the Big Thorn pointed out. I’ve only barely got DAVD back to anything like full strength since India’s disaster.
And my Implausible Crossovers feels like a severed stem sometimes, the speed my agents are leaving, added the Lichen.
Maybe if you didn’t sound like an aging comedian, what? Admiral Pansy murmured. The Lichen twitched his rock slightly.
It’s hardly my fault I’m susceptible to certain outside influences, he protested. And besides, John Cleese is a genius.
But it’s not just that, the Bonsai Mallorn interrupted loudly. I’ve got the Tiger Lily’s saplings climbing my trunk too - you remember Black and Irvine?
Hard to forget, Admiral Pansy agreed. They come and pester me every time one of my Troll Division goes flamethrower-crazy. It just isn’t croquet!
Cricket, the Lichen corrected. And you complain about my accent?
I prefer croquet, Admiral Pansy said with a leafy shrug. And… chaps, which is more appropriate? To adopt mannerisms as a sign of respect for the leaders of a noble nation, or to talk like a fellow who thinks he’s funny?
He is funny.
He’s almost as old as Nelson! Admiral Pansy protested. There is a limit, what what?
The Bonsai Mallorn spat out a burst of mental static. So the DIA are convinced I’m harbouring a fugitive, he went on. Apparently Selene - one of my former agents - has gone missing from her padded cell.
The crazy ones do that a lot, the Big Thorn observed. FicPsych has worse security than… than the Department of Out-of-Character Hobbits. I wonder sometimes if the Kudzu tries to hold them all in by herself.
Was that a snide comment on us spreading plants? the Lichen asked mildly. The Big Thorn hastily coloured his thoughts with apology.
I wouldn’t dream of it, he said. Although, thinking about it… there’s the Morning Glory.
The who? chorused Admiral Pansy and the Bonsai Mallorn. The Big Thorn laughed.
She’d be mortified to hear you ask that, he told them. She’s the Quartermaster - works under the Nightshade in Operations.
She’s also HQ’s biggest climber - if you’ll pardon the pun, the Lichen put in. Ever since she took over from the Floating Hyacinth back in the day, she’s been convinced she’ll be the next Head of Operations. When the Hyacinth left to start the Floaters, she got passed over for the Wisteria, who had been… what?
Nursery Division, Admiral Pansy supplied. She was there when I was Awakened, before Nursery became all about bipeds. Dashed shame, too - I have fond memories of that place, you know?
Right, and then when the Wisteria was so tragically uprooted, that Nightshade got the job, the Big Thorn went on. And after all these years, the Morning Glory is still right where she’s been practically from the start.
But that’s silly, the Bonsai Mallorn protested. I’m far younger than her, and I’m a Department Head…
Most promotions are out of Personnel these days, like you, the Lichen said. If the Morning Glory would just transfer…
But she wants Operations, the Big Thorn said with a shrug of his branches. I don’t really blame her for department loyalty - I know I wouldn’t have taken a transfer, even after the Crash - but she can’t have it both ways. Either she’s happy with her lot, or she wants to move.
Or maybe she just likes complaining, Admiral Pansy offered. I’ve known a few Flowers like that, what?
The four Plants considered this in silence for a minute. Finally, the Lichen stretched out his mind firmly.
Enough talk of work, he announced. Any of you follow the League? I think Implausible Crossovers made a good showing this last season.
Oh, Hole, not Quiddich, the Big Thorn groaned, pulling himself away from the table. Call me back if you want to discuss something worthwhile, all right?
Author’s Note: The Morning Glory makes her only other brief appearance (actually a mention) in Family ReUnion.