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The Man Who Loved Flowers

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"The Man Who Loved Flowers" is a short story written by Stephen King. The story was originally published in the August 1977 issue of Gallery, and was later included in King's own 1978 collection Night Shift.

Plot Summary

The story begins in New York City, during an early evening in May of 1963. The main character is an unnamed man who is walking up 3rd Avenue. It's a gorgeous evening, and the sky is just changing color from light blue to violet. The man is wearing a light gray suit. He looks like he is in love. The people around him all seem to perceive and respond to this feeling. The man stops at a flower vendor.

A transistor radio drones on about a war brewing in Vietnam. Also mentioned is a story about a woman's body that was found in the local river and a hammer murderer that was on the loose. Based on the conversation the man has with the vendor, we learn he is buying flowers for a girl named Norma. He buys half a dozen roses, and leaves. He continues up the street, and the people on the street continue to respond to him and the lovestruck look on his face.

He then turns into an alley. By now it is getting darker, and stars are starting to appear. We learn he is on his way to meet Norma. He sees a woman walking down the alleyway, and he rushes up to her. He calls her name, and she looks around. He says: "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. The man kills the woman because she isn't Norma, just as he has done five times previously. After an unspecified amount of time, he leaves the alleyway. Through the narrator, we find out that 'Norma' has been dead for ten years. The young man says that his name is Love. He feels optimistic, sure that he will find Norma some day soon.

He passes a middle-aged couple on the street. The woman turns to her partner and asks: "Why don't you ever look like that anymore?" "Huh?" "Nothing," she says, while thinking that "if there is anything more beautiful than springtime, it's young love".

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