by JC Reilly ~ Atlanta, Georgia, USA
You bring home packets of seeds, for cucumbers and pumpkins, but also for pocket watches, pencils, and Pigmy Apes. You say it’s cheaper to grow them ourselves. I take the seeds, plant rows of watches and pencils, go to sow Pigmy Apes between the sunflowers and the corn stalks, turn soil with a red spade.
The sunflowers, angry, drink in the spade’s hue, reduce metal to ash, and turn a shade of drunk sunset. They pull the dirt closer in on themselves like girls wrapping themselves in coats. “Don’t you dare plant those apes here,” they cry. “They are very ill-bred.”
(The back of the seed packet claims Pygmy Apes will grow between 4 and 6 inches when mature, and that they are known to whistle frequently. Of their behavior, however, there’s no mention.)
I look at you for guidance – you can always reason with the garden – but you are busy preparing the soil for the pumpkins while singing the sauerkraut aria from a faux-Wagnerian opera you’ve written. You pay me no mind. You hit the aria’s high C as with a billystick. The sunflowers and I wince.
“Could they be any worse than the Dobermans?” I ask, reminding them of last year’s crop. (Rather than growing to a nice size to display in our Waterford crystal vase, the mob of Dobermans, still green on the vine, harvested themselves early and marked the trees at the edge of the property before escaping forever into the woods. The sunflowers were badly trampled in the fracas, and clearly have not forgiven me.)
The sunflowers cross their leaves in front of their stems like folded arms, and sigh. “Probably not. But if you must plant primates in the garden this year, place them by the fence. They won’t bother us so much, if they grow over there.”
I would ask your opinion of this arrangement, since you usually have set ideas about garden geography, but you appear to be arguing with a vole over access to some dirt. The vole seems to be winning. Typical.
The sunflowers are waiting on me to make a decision. I bow to their request, knowing that at least Pygmy Apes can take directly to the trees once ripe, and spare me another year of the sunflowers’ resentment in full-bloom. ■