Arthur Portilhoff scraped the sweat exoskeleton from his body as he exited the subway. It was not a particularly hot day, but unlike any other day, he was wearing a 95% wool jacket. Special occasions call for special attention to attire his mother always said, and this was certainly a special occasion. Today was the day Arthur would die while saving a parrot from a fire on the job at The Society of Horticulture and Succulent Enthusiasts.

Chronic over enthusiasm had left Arthur in a sorry state in his later years. His affection for play-doh eating had weakened his stomach at an early age, and his deep interest in the physics of the slinky compromised his knees after he over energetically chased a run away slinky down a flight of granite stairs. The only docile passion he had was his awkward appreciation of desert cacti and succulent plants of the non carnivorous form. Truly, nothing could come of the love he had for plants. Yet, at the age of 15, Arthur’s mother bought him a rare Desert Owl Cactus, which two months later caused his left hand to develop a rash. As it turned out, the rash was as rare as the plant and Arthur had to be flown to Zürich to under go a three year treatment. It would leave the Portilhoff family bankrupt and short 2 appendages.

After 8 months of life in Zürich Patricia Portilhoff had become quite fond of walking the parks through and through before sitting down to an early lunch. Often followed by a bike ride to the East Drofterman Wing at the St. Marks Hospital in West Zürich. The parks were buldging with young people trying to beat the heat during their post graduation European stint, and groups of bong totin hippies, tossing the bee. The cool vivid green grass that butted up against the dirt roads did wonders for Patricia’s nerves, that were otherwise completely shot from the chaos of bills and hospital visits. As a child, Patricia had enjoyed a rigid structure that outlined her daily activities and education. Her father was vice assistant to the principal’s secretary of Mathematical Education at the local High School. After a day of formal studies and formal physical education she would saunter promptly to a formal violin lesson and then head home to a square meal consisting of entirely too much green firmness. On weekends she would read text books and was allowed one hour of free reading in the afternoons. All in all Patricia was happy as could be. And although Patricia was ostensibly quite plain, her mind was swelling with imaginations and plans for the future. She did not control her destiny at the moment, but would seen be going to college and her future was far from set in stone by her rigid High School experience.

Arthur sat in his stiff bed and sipped pineapple juice through a re-usable pink plastic straw while the TV droned on in the background. The news casters were talking about the riots that had broken out at hte peace protest in Southern Zürich a week earlier. No one cared. The protesters kept showing up to debate workers rights and the workers kept going to the factories to feed their families. No one won, and the rich summer vacationing college students were like soldiers trying to win a war that wasn’t happening.

Patricia arrived promptly at 3pm, as usual, just in time for the attractive nurse to give Arthur a sponge bath. Torn between the love for his mother and the youthful titties of the nurse, Arthur opted to go without a bath until his mother bowed out gracefully and began to come at 4pm. Today, however, Patricia had been especially excited to come to the hospital on time. For months Arthur and his mother had been watching Money Money Honey on the local TV station and today was the deciding round. Contestants would be flown to America to compete against the American counterpart of the TV show. It was also the day Arthur was scheduled for his surgery.

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