KJ Hannah Greenberg
and Lisa Pimental

Lisa Pimental
Inspiration piece

By KJ Hannah Greenberg

Albert paid double to rent the foam machine, which fashioned artificial clouds, over the weekend. The crazy cost didn’t matter to him. If Lizbett didn’t consent to be his wife, no amount of money, no social media status, truly nothing at all, would make a difference.

Lizbett showed up at the park at noon, as promised. As soon as she saw Albert, she pulled him toward the flower beds. The geraniums were blooming and she wanted him to witness their return.

Just as Lizbett was bending to closely admire those pink, purple, and white flowers, Albert jerked her upright. He pointed to the sky. Above their heads, clouds in the shape of hearts and stars floated. He didn’t want his beloved to miss the spectacle.

She pulled her hand free of his and bent, once more, to the blossoms. She had no idea that her boyfriend had paid a significant sum to a teen to pump out “romantic” shapes, let alone that Albert had hired a foam machine for the weekend. She only grasped that he was stubbornly refusing to admire the buds that were dear to her.

Albert looked as his lady love with wide eyes and a frown. How could posies be so important? Surely, she noticed and cared about the drifting pieces of froth for which he had nearly emptied his bank account. It was a good thing that he had bought the ring before he had rented the machine.

Lizbett squatted lower. On a leaf, of a sticky geranium, she spotted a small bug. Again, she tugged at Albert. “This plant’s protocarnivorous. The fly’s doomed.”

“Did you notice the heart-shaped puffs?”

“Saw them. Someone’s probably courting.”

“Lucky fellow.”

“Could be a girl.”

“That’s backwards.”

“Or modern.”

“Or lesbian.”

“Or not cisgender. Ugh. You’re so limited. Aren’t you disturbed the fly’s going to die?”

“Not really. I’m bothered that you don’t care about those clouds.”

“When have I ever cared about such nonsense?”

“Good point. Might you care about this?” Albert kneeled next to the still squatting Lizbett. “Would you mind standing up so I can do this properly?”

“Yes. I want to see what happens to the fly”

“Whatever.” Still kneeling, he pulled a small, velvet box from one of his trouser pockets. “I paid two thousand pounds to rent that foam machine.”

“The clouds are yours?!”

“A token for you.”

“Oh. I guess the fly can wait. You must have paid a lot.” Lizbett stood up. “Wait a minute, if you’re here, who’s getting those things airborne?”

“I hired someone.” Albert stood up, too. “This ring is also for you.” Albert opened the box and pulled out a piece of amber mounted on rose-colored gold. “There’s even a bug trapped inside!”

“Oh! My!”

“So, you like it?”

“Oh! My! It’s perfect! Can I wear it?”


“Forever! But only if you promise that we will plant sticky geraniums and leadwort in our flower boxes.”


“Deal.” The young woman leaned forward to embrace the young man.

A few sweaty minutes later, he continued, “with just two entomology courses ‘til you graduate, I figured it was okay to propose.”

Additional sweaty minutes passed before the young lady surfaced for air. “Can we rent a similar cloud machine for our wedding day?”

“That’s a yes?”


“So glad.”

“You shouldn’t have worried; my morphological adaptations are such that even though I caught you, I could never digest you.”


“You’ll be forever stuck on me. Look! Another heart is floating up.”

“Must be mine.”
©KJ Hannah Greenberg

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