Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)
TITLE: Garden Gnome
By joe hodson
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You know how shaken up I was about the garden gnome thing: first, when some jerk vandal took a hammer to it in the middle of the night, smashing the tip clean off its red, cone hat. Then, how the next night that same someone (or someones) up and stole it all together. It still burns my blood how they plucked it from our dark lawn, right out from under our snoring noses. The criminal audacity!
Well, then I set up watch – as we agreed -every night in the garage between eight and eleven, after the kids had eaten their Golden Grahams and you put them to bed. You said it was fine if I stood inconspicuously, lights-out, in the shadowed places of the garage, peering out the garage door windows for any suspicious activity.
Then you started going back on our agreement. Your reason: you ‘missed me at night.’ I said that I missed our gnome. ‘What in the world is wrong with you?’ you asked.
‘What’s wrong with you?’ I replied. With a huff you slammed the door. I went back to drilling spy holes in the garage walls (all of which could easily be spackled by winter) to cover the perimeter of the lawn, including a special fist-sized hole fixed on the new garden gnome I had set earlier that day for bait.
Yesterday morning before work you approached me again. I was in mid-watch, which you could care less. ‘Your supervisor called,’ you said, ‘He said you’ve been missing more work than usual. He wanted to know if everything was okay.’
‘Just taking a little personal time until this whole thing blows over,’ I said, ‘Thieves steal in the daytime, too, you know.’
‘You look terrible, exhausted. When’s the last time you shaved? The kids and I are going to Mother’s until you regain your senses.’
You didn’t understand. Later I realized how could you understand? There are certain innate duties of defense a man is involuntarily subject to by nature. It is very complex, and is hard-wired into his DNA even before birth – a TV special last week explained it all.
See? What’d I tell you? Basic Biology! Our marital problems are just a classic textbook case of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. Now, you’re able to stop being mad and come back home! So that’s that.
Now, about the mishap. Before I go on, I must confess to something. Please don’t get mad, because I don’t approve of it and have, in fact, sworn it off already in my head half-way through this conversation. I took up smoking. But only to see through the eyes of a criminal. All bad guys smoke, right? It was necessary, I assure you, and I took no pleasure in it whatsoever. It left a bitter, ashtray taste in my mouth, and in order to extinguish the flavor I resorted to sucking on lemon drops.
So last night from inside the garage, in the smoke-filled dark, crunching on lemon drops, I saw someone. A shifty figure with obvious criminal intentions emerged from the mid-night shadows, like a mangy cat from a dark alley. On the uneven sidewalk in front of our house, his devious silhouette stood dead still against the unseasonably cool breeze. A flimsy hood hid every angle of his nameless face.
I held fast to the two year old taser I had ordered off EBay, ‘used no more than fifteen times.’ Quietly, I sneaked out the door to surprise him, keeping the lawbreaker in careful view. He was crouched, probably trying to get a level-eyed look at the garden gnome, sizing up his loot.
I crept up on the bent body and aimed the taser right where the instructions said: ‘AIM THE TASER WHERE THE ATTACKER IS EXPOSED. PULL THE TRIGGER.’ I stuck him directly in the nape.
Now, get this. He was a she, and she turned out to be Joyce Winters – you know, our neighbor - on an evening jog, pausing to tie her shoe, unwittingly interfering with my crime watch. Anyway, there might be some charges.
So, Lois…do you mind coming down here to the station and bailing me out? But first, can you check on the gnome?”
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