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Adams: A Natural Born Killer

Posted: April 30, 2017 - 2:12am

I initially dismiss it as an innocent remark. But a twinge of something sadistic rises on his words. "Are you a member of Garden Club?" he says. Though he obviously casts his interrogation in my direction, I check over my right shoulder. Surely this man does not speak to moi, the keeper of a resident dead plant on my front porch depressingly greeting the mailman every afternoon. Surely the hedge of jelly-jar flowers growing thick in my strip of grass between the street and the sidewalk has not gone unnoticed.

"Didn't I see you at the Camellia Festival?" he keeps grilling. Only on a Most Wanted poster, I think. That nauseous out-of-place-in-my-own-environment feeling churns in my stomach. Why is he saying these cruel things to me? Is he bent on uncovering the totality of my crimes against nature? Is he trying to force a confession about my sinister underpinnings? Is this a trap?

Annually, petunias, impatients and geraniums quiver in the face of my firing squad of spades and shovels. A more compassionate executioner would blindfold the trembling lilies. Not I. I'm the Hannibal Lector of the lawn and garden, only my victims are inedible once I finish with them. Anything green within my reach and radius eventually dies of toxins or thirst, including the shrubs, excluding the weeds.

Squash and cantaloupe fearfully watch as I till their final resting place. A trail of tears weaves through my tomatoes, while butterbeans bear out a Bataan Death March. Cucumbers despairingly whisper, "Corn, you believe this?" as all prepare for concentration on the futile task of reaping enough moisture from the arid soil to survive until first frost. It won't take long before the patch of ground resembles an inhospitable Hiroshima wasteland. The ruthless carnage, I suppose, inspires men to speak of lighter topics, like Garden Club.

My husband impresses upon me the iniquities of my cycle of soil corruption.

The veins in his neck still bulging from the exertion of pushing my front porch planters into the open air, he accuses, "Your arrangement isn't working. It's never worked and it isn't ever going to work."

He has a soft spot for the hostages in my pots and thinks the humane approach to keeping them is to give them a chance to at least collect some rain.

Deep down I desire to retaliate with a description of how he, the Chemical Cowboy, blitzkrieged the front yard with a poison one molecule shy of Agent Orange.

Two weeks later, as if he made a formal decree of land availability on our estate, weeds claim-jumped the decimation, moving their entire extended families into the expansive brown patches left in his path of destruction.

But I'm a grown woman. I'll bring that up later, when we're arguing about his erroneous response to "Does my butt look big in these jeans?" Instead of going for the jugular, I mention the possibility of turning on the sprinkler system.

His arms wave toward the party of weeds in the front yard, reminding me of the senselessness of our sprinkler system.

I pat his hand. Without remorse, I tell him, "It's okay if I kill the flowers in those pots. Walmart has more."

Forgetting my husband, I consider the man launching Garden Club accusations at me. He plays the good cop well, intimating that I would be welcome at a Camellia Festival. He weakens my resolve to plead the fifth. I boldly waive my Miranda Rights and deliver a shocking admission: I rather like the weeds.

They're wild, like me. I even spent $2.82 on a container of three weeds posing as cilantro at Walmart.

^

Lucy Adams is the author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny and other books. She lives in Thomson, Ga. Email lucyadams.writer@gmail.com.

 

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