Monday, April 1, 2013

It's Beginning to Look a lot like....

I'm a terrible gardener. I've got a black-thumb. I can even kill cactus and succulents, two kinds of plants I'm told are "damn near impossible" to kill.

So spring time doesn't usually fill me with tons of joy to get out there and dig around in the garden. I've managed to raise a couple pots of cherry tomatoes - at least until the squirrels got hold of them. But mostly, I've just ended up with pots of mulch and dead plant.

But - and here's the wonderful thing about being a writer; I don't have to have experienced something to write about it. I love doing research. I have several SME's (Subject Matter Experts) that I consult for information. And one of my best friends is a research librarian (probably the best friend a writer could have, aside from an editor. Oh, wait! I have one of those, too!) and she's always delighted to help me look stuff up if my research skills fail.

Which is how I came to write a story about a woman who loves her garden. Really, really loves her garden.

Garden Variety Excerpt

The carafe of wine slipped, unnoticed, from Jackie's hand and smashed onto the patio.  Shards of glass and splatters of Chianti barely registered as she stared, gape-mouthed, at the wreckage of her garden.

Before work, Jackie had checked the seedling beans, twining tomato plants, and a few decorative flats of strawberries, and everything had been pristine.  She'd plucked a few weeds from the warm soil, bound up a falling tomato vine, relocated a few bugs, and discussed the latest celebrity news with the attentive bean sprouts.  After a day of manning the phones at East Agency Collections, being called multiple names – as if she were the one who'd run up thousands of dollars of credit card debt and then tried to default on it – and being bitched out thoroughly by her manager, Jackie had been looking forward to a glass of wine, a book of poetry, and the company of her pleasant, non-meddlesome, non-annoying, quiet plants.  As far as Jackie was concerned, plants were much better company than most humans.

Especially now.

All four vertical trellises that Jackie had painstakingly put together herself lay in shattered ruins.  There was potting soil all over the patio.  Her budding garden, lovingly tended, was torn asunder; the plants yanked rudely from their clay pots and shredded.  There was seemingly nothing that could be salvaged.  This was no act of a careless child, not the destruction of someone's dog that had slipped their leash for a few short moments.  This was wanton, cruel desecration.

“Who the hell would do such a thing?” Jackie was barely aware that she spoke aloud, tears of rage and grief spilling over her lower lids.  She turned her head from side to side, as if seeking answers, but there was nothing.  With all the potting soil scattered all over the patio, she would have thought at least that there would have been some tracks, but the earth gave up no trace of the murderer of her garden.

All she saw was one flicker of life, one tiny, tenacious plant that clung to life.

She dropped gingerly to one knee, avoiding the shards of pottery and glass, scooping up the runner bean sprout. She’d bought them just last week – very expensive – from Garden Variety nursery.

“I'll make it right,” she promised.  Jackie pulled together a handful of soil and pressed it into her empty wine glass.  It wasn’t the best solution, but perhaps it would be enough to keep the one plant alive until she was able to get to the nursery.  “I'll make everything all right again.”

“I promise.”

Just not today, she thought as she closed the porch door on her savaged plants.  Maybe things will look better in the morning.

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