Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

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ChellusAuglerie
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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby ChellusAuglerie » Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:46 am

Cold, I thought to myself as I push the flat of my hand against the window glass, my breath frosting plumes out from the line of each digit as I lean ever closer. Eventually things are going to collide, as they eventually do, and eventually my thoughts will be nothing but a smudge in the icy condensation until I, eventually, see fit to extricate myself, having drained all potential from cause and effect. Through the window I can see the neighbor’s yard next door. It still sports jagged bleached-green clumps of chloroplastic rapiers; frost perches on an occasional savory short burst of bruised and withered mums, browning creams and golds and washed out pinks, the battlements of someone else’s triumphant lawn. There by the mailbox -the banged up, rusty thing!- is Jolene’s most prized possession, standing in his tuft of blue-green fescue grass as though he pwns, as the kids say these days.

Sir Reginald Bell is no longer the most handsome yard ornament, having seen countless summers full of basset hounds and lazy cats and lawnmowers. His soft blue coat is powdered with age now, instead of nicely brushed hues of cornflower paint; his stout flop-over brown boots are strikingly bland, lined with bits of mud and grass from years ago. Even his fancy green breeches are dusty with the varnish of old winters and the occasional light coat of white mold. Still, I fancy he might toss pebbles at my window one night.

I wipe at the window as I think of him, suddenly grateful that I didn’t clean the glass with my face like so many times before; I’m just that clumsy, and… what?

What was that?

I stand up and shrug into my fuzzy pink coat and house slippers, then pull the door handle.

The cold air hits me like it’s supposed to, an avalanche of northerly persuasion, and I shudder as I stare at a diagonal across the yard. Sir Reginald is staring back. And he’s blinking.

I reach him, eventually. There is snow in the corner of his droopy red hat. I brush it out.

“Miss Jolene is old. She’s moving away,” he says softly as I take his hand and lead him to a cluster of bushes, so we can discuss things, “I like it here, Miss Emily. I like you. Miss Jolene likes you. She watches you brush my hat off for me and smiles.”

Then his fingers uncurl and grasp my stomach, pressing to the round, warm swell that hides beneath my robe. “Who will look after this little one with her gone? There are hawks and rats. Miss Jolene goes to be with her family. May I…”

A blush colors his pale peach chin, and he bats what’s left of his lashes.

“May I stay with you, in your yard?” he murmured, suddenly bashful.

I find myself smiling. It’s easy to smile.

“My husband Freddy likes you, you know… keeps saying how he ought to give you a fresh coat of paint, for Jolene’s sake. How would you like a nice spot by the birdbath in the center of the yard? Would that suit? I’ll call Jolene as soon as I’m inside.”

He nods, but his eyes follow me as I retreat into the warmth of the house.

Once my coat is off I pick up the phone, dial Jolene’s number from the card file near my desk. Of course, I know she won’t answer. She’s been dead since Monday.

I pretend to speak. My upraised thumb makes a silhouette on the window glass so Sir Reginald can see. The deal is made. A little thank you to dear old Jolene lingers on my lips as I write a note to my husband, telling him to move our friend to the dry warm place under our birdbath when he wakes up. I slip the note into the pages of my latest picture book, Sir Reginald and the Beehive, and smile again, patting my stomach.

“Oh, Lucy… wait till you meet him,” I say, resuming position by the window seat with another wave out at the new fallen snow, “… he’s good for the neighborhood.”

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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby kimberlyd » Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:46 am

“Excuse me. Hello?” I looked up from the leaves I had been raking expecting to see one of my neighbors, but to my surprise no one was there. Strange, I could have sworn someone had spoken right next to me. Shrugging it off to fall cleaning boredom I resumed raking, until something tugged on my pants. I looked down to find a small garden gnome with its little plastic hand wrapped around my pants leg.

“What the hell?!” I shouted jumping back away from the gnome, knocking it over in the process. I looked around for my neighbor Tom, keeping one eye on the creepy little gnome lying face down in my pile of leaves. I knew the lawn ornament was Tom’s and with his penchant for playing pranks around the neighborhood I could only surmise that I must be the unlucky recipient this week. “You can come out now Tom. I know you’re here,” I said, still searching for some hint of his hiding place.

“Actually, Tom is not home right now, it’s just me.” I stared in horror as the plastic lawn piece began to move of its own accord, righting itself in the leaves. This wasn’t possible. It had to be mechanical, remote controlled, or something. “Sorry to have scared you,” the little gnome continued. “I have been trying to get your attention for a while, but you weren’t hearing me.” I was speechless. What could I say to it? Sure, no problem, you’re just the first piece of plastic come to life that I’ve ever met. No, that would definitely call my sanity into question.

“As I stated before, Tom is not at home at the moment, so I thought I would come over to your neck of the woods and let you in on a few things.” All I could do was stare. What could a garden gnome possibly want to tell me? And why? “I see you’re a touch confused, well that’s to be expected. I don’t talk to just anybody you know.”

Gee, I wonder why, I thought to myself. “What do you want?” I finally asked.

“Exactly what I said, to inform you of a few things. The first of which is that Tom is not the one who has been stealing your newspaper. I know, it seems fitting with his personality that it would be him, but truly it’s not. If you’ll look to the house on your right, you’ll find the culprit. Sneaks out every morning, right after the paperboy delivers and skulks over here. It’s embarrassing really.”

Well what could I say to that? I’m not exactly current on my gnome neighborhood watch conversational skills, so I went with, “Um, thank you?”

“Of course dear girl! You are one of the good ones, keeping your lawn nice, your garbage taken out, and you’re kind to your neighbors. That’s why I decided to talk to you. People have been taking advantage of you, and I want to help you.” I quirked an eyebrow at that. Wow, a garden gnome that not only walked and talked, but apparently had a heart too.

“Help me how?” I asked suspiciously.

“Oh, well by keeping you up to date of course! I see all around here and no one knows it. For instance, I saw who ran into your car and left that nasty dent on your bumper last week. You’ll have to look to my owner for the culprit of that crime. I think it’s time you had the upper hand in this neighborhood girl, and I am going to help you with it.” And with that it winked at me and began walking back in the direction of Tom’s house.

I was flabbergasted. What just happened? And how could Tom hit my car and not even leave a note? This was too much for early morning gardening, so I retreated back into my house for a reprieve…and some time to think.

IN A HOUSE DOWN THE STREET…

Emma put down her binoculars and microphone so she could control the gnome and get it back to Tom’s lawn. It was about time someone helped poor Katie instead of taking advantage of her.

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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby j.a.s.gorsky » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:56 am

Thanks for sharing, I could not stop laughing! Judith

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Re: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby kellysaid » Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:32 pm

Nice work everyone! :emoticon:


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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby Still Magnolia » Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:44 am

There’s Magic in the Air



It’s just a wooden lattice box, eight foot square with a 2x4 floor that is tucked into one corner of my garden. English ivy, with its curling tendrils of vines and leaves, has completely covered the ceiling and two walls while the front is open so that I can view my garden. It has long been my get-away; my private place. I go there to be alone, to think; to meditate. When I go to my gazebo, I step into a quiet, deep dark green cave alone with nothing but my wee little fairies and elves and gnomes for company.

Inside, I am totally relaxed and away from the hustle, bustle and responsibilities of the real world. I listen to the music of the breeze and songs of the birds. I watch as butterflies float, gracefully, through the air as hummingbirds balance their tiny, ever moving bodies on the edge of the bright red feeders, I put out just for them. I dream the dreams of my inner soul. I even talk to my fairies, elves, and gnomes. I suppose folks would think me eccentric, or worse, if they came in to my garden while I was talking, yet, saw no one there for me to be talking to. I’m not eccentric or crazy. I’m just in a magical place where contentment flows like water over a pebble creek.

The fairies dance and whirl around me, as if they were dancing to the music of The Sugar Plum Fairies. The seven dwarfs who live in my garden are ever busy tending the flowers and the rose bushes and lavender. I have six garden gnomes who visit me often. They have established themselves as ‘The Garden Gnome Brigade’; keepers of the Gazebo Garden. Dedicated to their responsibility to protect and serve, on guard, wherever I have set them.

While sipping my tea and enjoying my solitude, a voice interrupted the quiet time by making a sound, similar to clearing one’s throat before speaking. There, in front of me, stood the most handsome gnome I have ever seen. He was tall, for a gnome, about 18 inches high. Dressed in painted on clothes, pants in bright glossy blue, topped by a grass green jacket, black boots with a curled tip at the toe and wonderful yellow pointed cap from which stood a tall red feather. He looked resplendent standing with one hand inside the buttoned jacket, the other hand at his side.

“You’ll excuse me, ma’am, for the interruption, I pray. I am Gilbert, King Gilbert of the Garden Gnomes next door, at your service.” I smiled at the slight tilt of his head as he introduced himself to me.

Shifting forward in my chair just a tad, I smiled, just a tad, and sat my teacup on the table at my side. “Hello, Gilbert, I’m Cara and I’m pleased to meet you. I don’t remember seeing you in my garden before today.”

“No ma’am, you have not. As I said, I live the yard next to yours. I have come to request the honor of your female gnome, Drusilla, in marriage. We have visited often, in the evening hours, and have become quiet enamored of each other. I vow to you that I shall keep Drusilla well and be true and faithful to her, alone, and none other.”

“Well, Gilbert, you are certainly a fine gentleman and I shall be honored to give you and Drusilla my blessings for a wonderful marriage. You’ll be taking Drusilla to your yard after the wedding?”

“No, mam, I shall not take Drusilla nor I will not leave my yard. I have a duty, there, as King.”

“But, Gilbert how will you be ‘married’ if you do not live together.”

“Aw, Madam, do not fret about a minor point as that. We are not human; but Gnomes. We are magic. “Quite magic in deed.”

And with that, he tipped his hat was gone. I think I heard the tinkle of tiny giggles as he disappeared. Yes, quite magic, indeed.

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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby dragonflydaze » Fri Nov 19, 2010 10:03 am

Liked the ending :)

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Re: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby candcross » Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:31 pm

"Hey Chris, Hey." Startled, I turned around. "I thought they would never leave." A little man sat on my porch, grinning and staring at me. He said "Did you know that William goes out every night at 2 A.M., and runs around his house, whispering 'I am a beautiful butterfly ' over and over again."

"What?" I reply "Who are you?" I checked to see how many beer bottles I had emptied in the last two hours. "Three" "Well, I am not drunk."

"I can hear you," said the little man. "Yes, you are not drunk."

I spun around again. This time he is balancing on his left foot, with his arms stretched out parallel to the porch.

He said, "I saw this one through the back window, on the TV several years ago, when Lisa moved me to the back porch." He launched himself into the air, landing on his hands, and then tucking in to a roll. "Did you know, when William goes on business trips, Lisa drinks a fifth of rum every night? Then she dials up all the TV preachers pretending to be sick and needing prayer." Coming out of the roll, he stood up right in front of me.

"My name is Finnegan Bill Arundel StCloud. You know two years ago when your lawn mower was stolen? William gave it to his dad for his birthday."

"Is this a joke?" I asked, picking him up, searching for an on/off button.

Meanwhile Finnegan is screaming "Ok, Ok, put me down, I took your lawn mower not William."

"Hold on. Finnegan, right?"

"Yep"

"Where did you come from?"

"China, I was made in China. You know on friday nights when Lisa used to go "bowling?" One time William had her followed by a private detective."

"Stop, stop, stop. Finnegan, why are you telling me this?"

"Can you put me down first?"

"Sure"

"Because I have held it in for years and years and," he paused "well," he paused again. "They threw Betsy away. Just because her hand broke off. She was the love of my life and I used to tell her all that went on in that crazy house."

"Who was Betsy?" I asked

"IS IS IS Besty. Who IS Betsy?!!! She is the love of my life. You know that pretty Geisha they had in the little pool by the side door? "

"Her name was Betsy?" I asked.

"Hey, stay focused," he growled, snapping his fingers at me. "That little boy on the other side of you. He broke her hand off with a baseball. William threw her away and now I have no one to talk to. She was the love of my life."

He finally broke down and sobbed.

It took him a few minutes to recover. And when he did "Did you know that William and Lisa aren't married? The rings were her idea, the stigma of shacking up, you know. He calls his mother every night and asks her to read him a bedtime story. She gets all of their dinners delivered early in the afternoon, and then pretends that she slaved all day over the stove. One night he fell asleep early and Lisa left and..... And like a machine gun, he fired off story after story. He finally stopped after an hour and thirty-seven minutes and 42 seconds.

"I am going to look for Betsy." he stated. "I am tired of hanging around here. It is quite boring." As he strolled off, William and Lisa pulled into the garage. A few minutes later I could hear bits of an argument from their house about a note, a ransom and a Garden Gnome.

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Re: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby Brenda K » Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:11 pm

Black Bread

No, please don’t let it start again. I always know when it’s coming. When they’ll start talking to me again. It usually comes from an inanimate object, but sometimes the voices will take over another human. They will talk out of their eyes to me as they stare. I always know when the voices are coming because everything becomes still and quiet and I am overcome with the sounds of the inside of a conch shell, the whooshing of the waves, whirling of the wind. Like bees trapped in my ear canal. It’s too much to fight, I give in. The voices. They come regularly.

This time it’s the neighbor’s garden gnome. That little cherub always looked like an oxymoron to me. A sweet, smiling murderer. He’ll never admit it, but I know he’s the one that murdered my husband and children. I saw him with the garden hoe. Chopped. And then he made me eat the black bread. That little faerie with his weapon stole my life, my hope, my happiness.

“Betty, you see me. You see what I did. Aren’t you proud?”

“No,” I murmur, “I loved them.”

“No, you loved what they stood for, the thing that you wanted to want but never could,” he said.

“No, I loved them. But they did not want me to be happy.”

“You are the one that killed them, Betty. Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember your entrapment?”

My head spins. The bees come again, this time louder and whirling around my head in a crescendo. The sky spins above me. I toss my head back in a gurgling, boisterous laugh. I smile in remembrance. Yes, the gnome is right, he speaks the truth. It was me. It was me with the hoe. Freeing the knots, releasing the bees. It had to be done. I had always believed that Harry had loved me. He always brought me home nice things, kissed my cheek, picked me flowers, gave me two precious angels—one boy, one girl—the ends to my rainbow. Every day he wore a bow tie and a smile. I know he loved me, I just know it. Until he started at the bottle. Or the bottle started at him. He fell in and lost himself—drowned in the brown oblivion. And I came home one night to find him hovering over them with dizzy eyes slashed with confusion and rage. He had curtailed both of their lives. With the hoe.

“Why?” I shrieked through my tears. I shook my head. He mirrored my shaking.

“I didn’t mean it,” he sobbed. “They were in my way. I was just trying to plant you some flowers. They were in my way.”

The bees took over my body, possessed my hands. They made me pick up the hoe and steal his last breath. If I couldn’t have them he couldn’t have me.

And now the gnome was kind enough to remind me. To remind me of my vengeance, of my recompense. To remind me it was I that ate the black bread.

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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby ksuesz » Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:05 pm

My intention was to soak up as much sun as possible as its presence was a rare occurrence. My hopes were quickly diminished as I stepped onto the back deck and realized my neighbor’s towering peaked rooftop sheltered the sun’s delightful rays from reaching my yard. My eyes fell and I let out a defeated sigh. The recent move was certainly taking its toll on my mood. After my moment of vanquish, I lifted my head determined to at least enjoy the warm weather after I had gone through the exhausting effort of trying to find a bikini to that didn’t accentuate my pasty skin, which was getting lighter by the day.
I trudged off the deck and made my way towards one of the lounge chairs that was sprawled out in the back of the yard. I eased my way into the weathered vinyl and immediately felt its coolness against my back. Obviously it hadn’t seen the sun in months. I opened my book, hoping to quickly be drawn in and able to escape from my unfortunate reality. Just as I was settling into the story, a voice broke my concentration.


“It’s nice to finally see so much skin. That color suits you nicely.”


The voice was very soft, yet I felt like it came from right next to me. I sat up and glanced around the yard, but saw nothing. I immediately shook it off as one of my annoying delusions that had presented itself upon the move. I slowly returned my gaze to my open book and tried to refocus. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw something moving through my neighbor’s lilac bushes. I kept my body frozen in the position it was in but slowly turned my head to face the oncoming object. I was expecting a rabbit, or squirrel, or at the most my neighbor’s strange cat that seemed to follow me everywhere and appear from nowhere. Tiny petals and leaves fell to the ground on the account of the rustling and I soon heard a hushed shudder which resembled a tiny sneeze.


I watched with curiosity as a tiny, pointed forest green hat appeared from the bush. Dark chestnut hair poured out in large curls from under the hat. The hair framed a round, doughy face that I could cup perfectly in my hands. Two beady eyes that matched that color of the hat were focused on the path ahead. A bulbous nose sat underneath the eyes with nostrils flaring slightly. Puckered ruby lips completed the chubby face. A similar shaped body was attached to the full face, and covered with a beige floral frock that seemed to hug every roll. Pudgy arms and legs emerged from the floral ball and were complete with tiny fingers and toes. The figure stopped a few inches from where I was sitting, and stood less than a foot tall, even with the hat.


“Hi ya darlin’” a wheezy voice greeted me.


I watched the tiny woman brush the petals and leaves from her hair and attempt to straighten out the ill-fitting dress. I stared at this little creature in bewilderment. Obviously my delusions had taken on a whole new level as I was believing that inanimate objects were trying to converse with me. I made a mental note to make an appointment with a doctor on Monday.


“My name’s Mona and I’ve just been itchin’ to meet ya!”


“Umm, hi” I forced myself to respond.


“Well, actually the whole gang has been waiting eagerly to get you alone so we can get to the introductions.”


I couldn’t’ get over how this little face seemed to grow brighter and brighter as she spoke. Her emerald eyes were dancing. Her plump lips formed into a friendly smile awaiting my response.


“I’m sorry” which came out more of a question than a statement.


“We’ve waited a long time for you to come. Poor Mr. Lucas thought it was never going to happen, but here you are.” Her tiny arms lifted above her head in relief.


“Charlie’s been waiting for me?” I immediately remembered the awkward interactions I have had with him and the embarrassment on my behalf.


“He’s been watching you and you’re even better than he expected.” Her grin grew larger and for the first time I noticed her gleaming white teeth that looked like tiny razors.


My face flushed as I knew what she was referring to. It was the secret that I had desperately kept hidden from everyone my entire life. A secret I never understood. It seemed that I was soon to find out.


“Come dear, everyone is waiting.”


MollyCox
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RE: Neighbor's Garden Gnome - 11/16

Postby MollyCox » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:39 pm

It’d been one of those days that seemed to linger on like spoiled milk on the tongue. My temper was short-fused, the resulting aftertaste of a day gone awry. I come home from work to find our neighbor’s stockpiled leaves, have blown over into our yard. The weekend I’d spent raking, now seems to have been an exercise in futility. I kick at the encroaching pile on my driveway and send a flurry of crisp leaves into the frigid air. The release soothes me even if only temporarily.

“I wish she’d do a better job keeping up her side of the yard,” I mumble under my breath. “She used to have the nicest lawn on the block. Now, it’s as if she could care less. What’s the deal?”

“Here’s what is really going on, you inconsiderate ninny” a gnome, Mrs. Mason’s gnome, says as he leaps down from his speckled fungi throne and approaches me, wagging a finger in the air. “The Mason’s are struggling with just about everything their health, their finances, and their sanity. Mr. Mason had a terrible accident back in July and Mrs. Mason has been terribly depressed ever since. But you wouldn’t know anything about that now would you?”

Not comfortable with being accosted by a garden accessory, my face grows hot and tingly. I know my guilt is glowing like a street lamp. Jaw agape, I watch as this little man dressed in standard gnome attire, green pants, blue shirt and a red cone hat looms nearer and continues his rant.

“Every day Mrs. Mason waves to you, with pleading eyes. She aches for a friend to stop and listen, someone to lighten her load even for a moment. Mr. Mason hasn’t been getting out of bed for months now so Isabel does everything for him. It’s really taking a toll on her. Every day she looks more haggard than the day before. She used to love doing yard work but now, she spends her days inside waiting on Mr. Mason hand and foot. Rarely does she step outside the house except at night when she sits beneath the moonlight and lets her tears water the dead roses.”

“I feel so bad, I haven’t noticed. But now that you mention it, neither one of them have left the house in quite some time.” The instant remorse feels smarting. How could I have been so blind and why has it taken a gnome to point out my oversight?

“Sorry if I’m being too harsh, it’s just that I know Isi and I I’m worried she’ll do something unthinkable if someone doesn’t save her.” A gust of wind rustles through the desolate tree overhead and with it this little man’s demeanor transforms. He warmly introduces himself, “I’m Alexander, by the way.” Holding out his tiny hand I know I can’t refuse his attempt to make peace. I crouch down to meet his gaze and shake his miniature hand, no larger than the center of my own palm.

“Alexander, I’m glad you came to me. I have been blind and selfish going about my business without giving a second thought about my aging neighbors. I’ll do better, I can promise you that.” And with that confirmation, he turned and waddled back to the Mason’s yard and within moments he is in situ upon his mushroom stump. He is no longer flesh and bone, but once again just a figurine of rigid pewter.

Wanting to make good on my word, I walk up the moaning porch steps and knock on the door. A minute passes before anyone answers, but as soon as Mrs. Mason sees me standing before her, she embraces me in a desperate hug. I know in this instant that I’ve been wrong. It was not the lawn but she, a brittle leaf, needing the care.

Months later she will reveal to me that she had plans to end her life just moments before I first knocked on her door.

“Lisa, you saved my life,” she will say as tears splash down from the tips of her lashes.”I’m eternally grateful.”

And I’ll know she is right, I did save her life. But what I can never tell her is that we both owe a big thanks to Alexander, her garden guardian angel.

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