Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Autumn/Fall (08/27/09)
TITLE: Confessions of a Felon's Fall Cover
By Francy Judge
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“Murderer! You did it again…and you can’t hide.”
Ah…but I can. As long as the golden brown leaves shower my lawn, I’m as innocent as any neighbor who hasn’t yet raked. And who would rake before the last of the leaves descend?
Approaching my house, I slip my shades on, pull my hood down to my eyes and race inside, the leaves swooshing under my feet. Maybe my disguise worked? I pretend I don’t live here at what could be called the Adam’s Family’s twin house. It’s that bad.
Flattened tuffs of tan grass cower next to alien weeds. Flowers gave up and moved elsewhere. Only wrens like our lawn for dining purposes–millions of juicy invertebrates that I’d rather not think about.
I can’t remember when I killed my lawn, but it’s definitely dead–not sick or dry, just dead, worthy of a funeral. Like many people who commit crimes, I had an accomplice–my husband.
We could label our lawn an experiment: How many varieties of weeds can grow on one lawn? How tall? How fast? Sometimes I dare to glance out my kitchen window and witness weeds growing into small trees. Who knew that could happen? I vaguely remember a time green grass grew in its place. Thank God the cool weather is coming to slow the weeds down. It could be a forest if we have an Indian summer or global warming.
You ask: why don’t you mow it while your husband is at work? You see, in order to give our lawn a trim, my husband must wear goggles and wield a heavy weed wacker. No other tool can do the job. Call me prissy, but that’s just not me. I have enough excuses to keep me busy indoors.
My husband attempted to trim some monstrous bushes to allow a path for the mailman, but I think he killed them too. Leafless shrubs line our house with sawed off branches stretched like arms reaching for help. Our poplars are begging to win a landscape makeover. I wouldn’t be surprised if we’ve been nominated by a disgusted neighbor.
Now that we’ve moved into autumn, our naked branches look normal. Every home resembles the Adam’s family’s home to some degree. Of course, our neighbors cheer up their landscape with fall flowers, warm yellow, purple, and burgundy red chrysanthemums, marigolds, and pumpkins. We don’t. We could apply make-up on a corpse, but it would still be dead.
So the leaves conceal my crime until I have to rake…then I’ll hope for snow. The police shouldn’t discover the evidence until April. But when they come knocking, I worry that my defense is shaky…
We can’t afford lawn service.
…won’t work; many people handle their own lawns and keep them presentable.
I was never taught about gardening.
…I’d be accused of perjury if the prosecutors saw my father’s beautiful self-maintained lawn straight out of Home and Gardens Magazine and discovered my grandfather wrote a newspaper column about nature. Why didn’t I listen to those gardening lessons?
I’m too busy.
…no sympathy with that one; who isn’t?
I have five alibis.
…might work; my five kids deserve more attention than my yard.
But they can’t sentence me for life. Some day I’ll be acquitted by the Supreme Judge, and He’ll toss me keys to my mansion set on a perfect lawn. I won’t need fall anymore to bury my mistakes…I’ll run through butter soft grass, pick daisies from my garden, and hang up my rake…forever.
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