Flower Power



Summary: Gwen steals the magical cursing flower from Skid Row Florists.

Date It Happened: December 29, 2001

Flower Power

Skid Row Florists

After closing, the colorful florist shop on Skid Row looks much less bright and inviting. In the dark of night, the strange and unusual flowers — hybrids and rare exotic species of all shapes, sizes, colors — appear more sinister than beautiful. The shop's door is covered by a chain grate, as are the windows, lending an even stranger, cold feel to the darkened shop. Behind the counter in plain view sits the odd potted plant with its hand-written sign reading: "Not For Sale. Please Don't Touch." In the window is a sticker that announces the shop as being under the protection of Cerberus Security.

Cake. The first thing Gwen does is clip the chain grate open, and once past that, looks through her tools to find her pliers. She doesn't necessarily want to break any electronic security - just trick it for a little while. So the first thing she looks around for is a key pad.

The chain grate doesn't take much to get past, but the keypad is located on the far wall near the door to the manager's office. As with most security systems, there is a delay before it goes off that would allow the owner to approach and enter the deactivation code — or in this case, a thief to slip in and deactivate it by other means. It already starts to give off warning beeps, and a red light flashes on and off beneath the digital display.

Gwen would have to break in and then deactivate the code, and of course, she's not so lucky as to have had that given to her. The door itself is easily jimmied, and so it's just a matter of time before manages to trick the tumblers and pick it open. Stepping inside, she makes her swift way to the keypad, popping off the top to reveal the wiring beneath before pulling off her glove. She should have a window…

Beep, beep, beep bee—

The alarm system doesn't get the chance to activate as it receives a jolt. Seems easy enough. The shop is once again cast into heavy, almost uncomfortable silence. The odd plant behind the counter hasn't moved — has it? Wasn't the bud leaning the other way?

Gwen doesn't actually quite shut it off. She disconnected it, strips the wire, and then reconnects it and restarts it - as if it were no more than a blip. Now it won't appears as a power failure, and everything should be hunky dory. Reaching into her bag, she takes out some thick, up to the elbow rubber gloves and the containment unit Grant arranged for. She approaches the plant, eyeing it carefully.

A flashing green light indicates all is well with the alarm system, which could also be said for everything else. The odd plant really is motionless, its blood-red seam appearing somewhat jovial, like a broad red smile. As Gwen reaches the counter, however, there's the sound of a door opening in the manager's office and light flashes on under the crack. Voices accompany it: one low and hissing, the other muffled and groggy, both male. Hard to make out through the door.

Gwen rolls her eyes. Fabulous. She approaches the plant and attempts to make a grab, reaching for the bottom edges of the pot.

Of course the plant is easy to grab, but it's heavier than it looks. Once down to nose-level, it should become readily and immediately apparent that it not only looks ugly, it also smells like something crawled in and died. The voices behind the manager's door go silent a moment; there's a dull thud like something heavy hitting the floor, then a low groan and finally silence. Except for the strange purring sound that seems to rise up from the plant, along with an increase in the stench.

"Blech." Gwen makes a face, and trying not to take in too much air, puts the plant into the bottom of the container and places the special plastic top with air holes over it. Picking it up by the latch on top, she seems prepared to make her way out.

Even inside the box, the plant continues its quiet purring. It almost sounds like Gwen is smuggling a cat, albeit a smelly one that sounds like it's been run over. From behind the manager's door, there's a loud thwack!, then shadows appear beneath the door. The door handle clicks and soon the door starts to swing open, casting yellowed light over the interior of the shop.

Gwen opts to make a mad dash for the outside door, counting on her electrically stimulated nerves to push her speed up to wear it needs to be.

By the time the manager — who holds a severed hand in his own gloved one — realizes what's going on, Gwen's already at the door. The short bald man goes pale and shouts after her: "H-hey!" The amputated hand drops to the floor and he tears across the shop toward the exit.

Gwen doesn't really have time or inclination to let the guy see her face, but he's just the sort of idiot who would keep on chasing after her. Better to make this quick. She abruptly stops at just the right moment, and when he's coming to a stop near her, she lashes out her foot in a roundhouse aimed to his face. Oughtta put him out for a few hours, and he won't even know what hit him. Hopfully.

The manager is definitely no policeman, and it's not like he's had to deal with a professional thief before. Most of them are just bums looking to nab a little something from his register. So when Gwen stops abruptly and then lashes out suddenly, she clocks him right in the face, which sends him crumpling to the floor — out cold.

Yup. All in a night's work. Gwen makes like a tree and leaves. Especially amusing due to the plant pun. She doesn't have a Batmobile, but if she did, she'd be heading to her designated drop off point in it right now. In lieu, there's a sleek little sports car she borrowed off of some poor unfortunate porn star manager loitering for a smoke off Hollywood and Vine. He'll get it back.

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