Wednesday, August 21, 2019

WEP & For Max


Jeannie filled the red wheelbarrow with the fresh soil and trundled it over to the new garden around the maple tree. Another couple of trips ought to do it.

Max had always had a thing for red flowers, so she’d gone a little crazy with the colour.

Not only the wheelbarrow but her new gardening gloves and trowel set. And the flowers of course. Impatiens, peonies, mums, poppies, dahlias, and geraniums. All in beautiful red.

Such a happy colour. This entire area of the garden was going to be all about Max. 

After filling the new garden with soil, Jeannie brought out her kneepads and went about setting the plants in place. She should have bought new knee pads as well, but the raggedy green ones would have to do.

There was something soothing about gardening. Max had never understood it, although he liked the results.
“Your knees aren’t getting any younger, Jeannie.”
“What are you doing messing with that dirt again, Jeannie?”
“Why bother? You’ll just be down on your knees weeding again next week.”
“If you’re going to do it anyway, you know I like the red ones best.”

Jeannie smiled and tucked the dahlias gently into their new home. Different shades, different textures, different shapes. All in Max’s red.

The sun neared the horizon when Jeannie tossed all the empty flower containers into the wheelbarrow. No sense in leaving a mess. Max hated messes.

After tying up the garbage bag and putting it on the curb for pick up, Jeannie rinsed off her new trowels and hung them up on the cork board then headed back to check out her hard work.

In only a few months, the leaves of the maple tree would turn red and add to the drama of the scene. Max did love his drama.

As the sun rose higher in the sky, Jeannie leaned down and patted the soil.

“Sleep tight, Max. Sleep tight.”


***


This is my entry for the WEP & IWSG August Challenge. Hope you enjoyed!

How about you? Any gardeners out there? Anyone use a garden for nefarious purposes lately? 

54 comments:

  1. Hi,

    For some reason, I knew Jeannie was decorating Max's grave. it was her way of going through the valley a grief. A very touching story.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thanks Pat - I wrote it with 2 intentional ways of reading it - you found the nice one! :)

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  2. She was either doing it to honor him or maybe...there was a sinister reason for it, as in his death!

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    1. I do like including the sinister bits in my FF :)

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  3. I have a spooky feeling this could continue as a real suspense story. Questions abound within my over-active imagination: What happened to Max? Was it at Jeannie's hand? Was she planting flowers on his grave? ooohhhh the possibilities

    I really enjoyed the visuals - yes, red is a very happy colour indeed.

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    1. Thanks! Writing it with an ambiguous conclusion is always fun!

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  4. This gardener is smiling broadly. How nice of her to celebrate Max's death with the only bit of her gardening he appreciated. I am assuming he met his death at her hands and think non contributors and crtics should fertilize the flowers...

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    1. LOL - yes! I think Jeannie's planted more things than flowers :)

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  5. Oh, I don't know. It might be a story about love and grief, or it might be a story about a murderer. I wonder what really happened to Max? Was she mourning him or celebrating his death with all that red? Questions, questions...
    Well done!

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    1. Thanks Olga!
      I'm so glad the 2 possibilities came through! :)

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  6. You are one naughty writer, Jemi. What a great juxtaposition of sweet, diligent gardener and clever killer. She just had to have done him in with a flower pot to the head. Great.

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  7. I think I've been reading too many creepy stories about warped people. It never once occurred to me that this could be anything but a clandestine grave, the place where she'd stowed an inconvenient corpse... Nicely spun tale!

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  8. Sad and brave. I must say I agree with Rebecca - I did wonder where this was headed, whether she'd bumped off the beloved but maybe slightly annoying Max. Was she covering up the grave with the flower beds? Perhaps the body had never been found. well done.

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    1. I tried to keep it fairly ambiguous with some hints to her nefarious deed :)

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  9. That was some twist at the end - and opens up so many possibilities! At first I thought it was sweet and touching but is there a sinister edge - what's he doing in the garden?! Very well done.

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    1. Thanks Nick! Glad I could toy with those emotions a bit! :)

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  10. I got the more sinister vibe on this one. Just the way she was taking such care and patting the dirt, making sure her work is complete.

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    1. Yay - wasn't sure at first if it would be too subtle. :)

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  11. I love how you wrote this with two very satisfying possible readings. A story of love and loss is always wonderful. However, I'm feeling in a sinister mood today, so that's how I read it. Wonderfully done!

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    1. Thanks LG! I wanted those 2 slants to the story - glad it turned out!

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  12. As I'm an OTA (older than average) writer, your story immediately connected with my feelings about love and loss, so evocative with the images of those red flowers and the narrator's strong feelings about Max. I also liked how you brought Max to life (!!!!) with dialogue.

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    1. Thanks Beth - Love OTA as an acronym - may have to use that one!! :)

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  13. A sad tale, poignant and emotional - whether sinister or not.

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    1. Thanks Sally! I wanted it to be a subtle sinister twist at the end - so I'm glad it worked!

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  14. Maybe it's wicked of me, but I do think Max was asking for it. He was an awful nit-picker.

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    1. Yes he was!! It's definitely not just you :)
      I tried for dialogue that could be taken 2 ways

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  15. Not sure Max was ready to die and be buried in her new garden. Loved the subtleties and innuendo.

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    1. Thanks Donna - it was fun to write - I hoped it wasn't too subtle :)

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  16. Hi Jemi - well told and yes ... it could be for love, but I suspect she was fed up with him ... and so the earth covered him up - I think I might look on red in a different way now - take care - cheers Hilary

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  17. Something tells me that something bad happened to Matt...

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  18. I don't think Max will be complaining or critisizing anymore! Good for her! Well done!

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  19. I like it.
    www.rsrue.blogspot.com

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  20. This is a fun little mystery.
    Did she or didn't she? Is this garden an homage or a cover-up?
    Nicely done.

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  21. Hey Jemi. I know I commented, but where has it gone? I'm doing a second read through for the shortlist and noting comments, then, argh, none from moi.

    I remember saying that you were deliberately toying with us - you foreshadowed that Jeannie was giving Max a satirical send off. You don't usually bury loved ones in the garden. I saw the sinister side. But I'm happy to be proven wrong LOL.

    Now let's see if this comment is still here when i return.

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    1. This comment arrived and stayed! Gotta love when things disappear into the ether!
      Don't think Jeannie is telling!

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  22. My detective is coming to ask Jeannie a few pointed questions - about her tragic loss. I loved the double implication. I'd err on the side of grief, but RIP - Rationally Investigate Procedures.

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    1. LOL - love the RIP!
      I think Jeannie better prepare some answers! :)

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  23. Fitting tribute to the dearly departed Max! I always enjoy subtle but creepy. Nice job

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  24. A tragic tale interwoven with how someone can use gardening as a cathartic device for mourning a loss. Well done.

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    1. Thanks Christopher - it was fun to try a few twists with this one :)

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  25. I loved the slightly unsettling ambiguity of this red flower orgy. I've a feeling she is not so much grieving as gloating...superbly done!

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    1. Thanks Nilanjana! I was sure a fun one to write :)

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  26. I like how this can be interpreted either as a sweet memorial for Max or as something much more sinister. Since Max 'loved his drama', I'm going with the latter. My flash was on similar lines and in fact, your piece could follow on from it quite well!

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