When you're not home.....
By day, all is calm in a beautiful garden behind a two story Victorian house in a quiet neighborhood. The brightly colored Koi swim happily in their little pond. The lillies and daffodils grow placidly in neat rows in their plots. The roses bloom on time, at the same time every year. The lizards laze on their rocks, baking in the sun and waiting for lunch to fly by.
The owner of the house is an award winning gardener of no small repute. A perfectionist at heart, he reads horticulture journals for fun. He sings to his roses. He dances for the lillies and daffodils. He holds converse with the sunflowers. His name is Maestro De Fleur.
Maestro De Fleur was famous for two things, his garden and his stomach. A Jovial heavy set man in his late forties, Maestro had won awards in seven countries for his way with plants. But that was about to change. And it went like this.
On Saturday mornings, his neighbor Mrs Poppyseed liked to go to garage sales. She went every weekend and picked up whatever caught her eye, whether she had a need for it or not. Mrs Poppy liked to give things away to she could buy more things. This Saturday morning Mrs Poppy waved hello to Maestro as he was taking out the garbage.
Mrs Poppyseed was carrying a brown paper sack filled with things from the garage sale she had just left. She talked excitedly about everything she had seen and everything she had bought. Poor Maestro could not get a word in edgewise. With Mrs Poppyseed, she didn't need anyone else to speak, she did all the talking. She reached into her bag and pulled out three garden gnomes, handed them to Maestro and then flitted away.
Maestro stood helplessly at the end of his driveway and stared down at the three gnomes in his hands. They were heavy. What was he going to do with garden gnombes, really? "Just put them in the yard dearie and they will keep the creatures away from your pretty plants." Mrs. Poppyseed said as she went into her house and closed the door with a resounding slam.
Well, Maestro did as she said and put the three gnomes in his garden. One to guard the roses, one to guard the koi and one in front of his tomatoes but behind the sunflowers. Because Maestro talked to all his plants and his koi and sang and danced to make his plants and flowers happy so they would grow and be healthy, he felt that it would be rude to ignore the new residents of his backyard. He spoke with them as well and gave them names.
The gnome by the koi pond was called Mack, short for Mackarel. The gnome by the tomatoes was called Tom. The gnome by the roses was called simply Rose. Maestro spent much time telling the gnomes that they were now as his children and there were rules to abide by at his home.
Rule number 1: Always be well behaved. Rule 2: Do not be rowdy near the plants, so they would not be trod upon. Rule number 3: No Wild parties. Maestro talked long into the afternoon on this Saturday explaining to his plants and his gnomes why the rules were so important. He hoped they would respect his rules and not be rowdy.
Maestro's cat, Petals, meowed and then walked away to lay on the back steps, as if to reinforce her master's lecture. Petals was a beautiful white persian, spoiled and petted. As a result, she had a huge ego and acted liked she owned the place when Maestro was not at home.
Maestro went into the house to get ready for a party at the Botanical Gardens downtown, with Petals right behind him. Now, Petals had a cat door in the bottom of the back door so she could go indoors or outdoors as she pleased. This is important for later.
The sun set in the sky, leaving dusk to drop slowly over the peaceful quiet of the suburbs. "Is he gone yet?" a voice could be heard in the darkness. "I don't think so, I haven't heard he garage door open yet or his car."
Five more minutes passed. "Is he gone yet?" the third voice piped up, with some irritation. Then, in the silence of the yard, they heard a garage door open. They heard a car start, then move slowly, then drive off.
"He's gone now. Where's that stupid cat?" Mack came out of hiding from the rear of the koi pond and ran quickly on his short stubby legs to peek in the cat door. No sign of Petals.
"She must be taking a nap. Good. She's no fun." Tom came out from the tomato patch and met his brother by the cat door.
"Nice yard! He obviously takes very good care of his plants. I like it here!" Rose said. She was the only gnome who did not have a beard or silly green overalls on. She actually looked more like a smurf then a gnome.
"Great place for a party!" The three gnomes stood lost in thought in the middle of the yard. A party?
"Didn't Maestro say no wild parties?" Rose asked her brothers. They shrugged.
"It doesn't have to be wild. We'll just invite a couple of our friends from other yards. It's been ages since we had a good hoe down."
At the mention of a party, the gnomes in the other yards came streaming over the white picket fence, all of them exclaiming at the beauty of the yard and how inviting the swimming hole would be, referring of course to the koi pond.
" I think Maestro keeps the karaoke machine in the tool shed. I'll go get it." Mack and Tom dragged the karaoke machine out of the shed and plugged it in to the socket by the side of the garden hose, using an extension cord they found in the shed.
Rose and some of the other female gnomes started dancing. They formed a line and did a kickline on the bridge across the koi pond to the harmonious strains of Kenny G. Mack made a face like he was going to be ill and ran through Petals' cat door.
He darted his head this way and that to make sure he would not be caught by that cat. Petals was asleep on the sofa. Mack looked up on the shelf above the tv and saw a selection of cds. AH HA! He took a running jump on the sofa, landed on one cushion and flew high up in the air to land on the right shelf.
He walked along the shelf looking at the cds. Celione Dion. Nah...Whitney Houston...hmmmm, maybe. Something more lively. Kool and the Gang. Oh YEAH. Mack grabbed four cds including Prince and Leo Sayer and leapt from the shelf to a table and then jumped to the floor. He looked at the cat, still asleep.
Still holding the cds, Mack ran across the living room carpet to the kitchen and then out the car door again. He shared the cds wih the other gnomes. THey were not pleased with his choices. "What? No Katy Perry?"
"Who is Leo Sayer?" the other gnomes made faces. They all wanted to go in and pick music. Mack stood in front of the cat door.
"No one goes in or out of the house except me. Remember, he is going to come back and we have to make sure everything is in the same place as when he left. Now who wants to party like its 1999?" they all cheered and the karaoke machine clicked on, rather loudly. Somehow Petals slept through it still.
Some of the gnomes complained that they were all sweaty from dancing and they dove into the koi pond. Cannonballs too. It was the splashing that woke up the cat. Petals walked outside the door and saw nearly a hundred gnomes. Some were floating in the pond. Some were on the bridge. Some were on the brick paved patio. They all looked to her like plastic garden gnomes, painted plastic faces. She blinked several times like she was seeing things and went back inside the house to lay down.
Once she was out of sight again, the splashing continued and they decided to have a karaoke contest. All the gnomes were dancing, on the bridge, on the patio, or in the water. Some of the gnomes were doing back flips off the bridge into the pond. Lots of yips and yaps and hoorahs. It was the best party of the year! Wild and crazy.
Again, the cat came outside and she saw gnomes everywhere. Now there were more of them in the water. There were more on the bridge, more on the patio. Gnomes, gnomes everywhere. Then, one gnome decided to have some fun. He came to life right in front of Petals. He smiled at her while she stared at him and then he jumped up and yelled Boo!
She hissed loudly and batted at him with her claws and ran back into the house and up the stairs to hide under Maestro's bed. She was shaking and shivering. Some of the Maestro's dirty socks were lying under his bed with a flurry of dust bunnies. Petals wrapped herself in the socks and dust bunnies and went to sleep.
All the gnomes laughed. "Nice going Larry!" Mack guffawed and slapped the taller gnome on the back. They went back to their party. Petals did not come back out after that. But what did happen is this.
They were so busy having fun, they almost missed the sound of the garage door opening again. They turned off the karaoke machine and four gnomes quickly carried it back into the shed with the extension cord neatly wrapped into a coil.
The other gnomes helped clean up the water on the patio before hopping back over the fence with promises of getting together to do it again soon. Tom, Mack and Rose nearly forgot where they were supposed to be. Mack stood by the side of the koi pond, facing the patio. Tom went back over to the tomato patch just behind the sunflowers.
Rose ran over the patio to the roses but she slipped and fell just as Maestro appeared in the glass window of the kitchen. A little piece of plastic broke off her left foot. She managed to crawl into the foliage just as the patio door opened and Maestro stepped out into his yard, still dressed in his evening finery. He faced the koi pond, and saw Mack standing guard over the koi. He turned and saw Tom by the tomatoes and sunflowers. He turned around to see Rose by the Rosebushes.
Rose was a little crooked. Maestro walked over and picked up Rose. He saw that a little piece of her foot was broken off. He took some glue from his utility drawer and glued it back on so she would be in one piece. Then he kissed her on the forehead and set her gently back down into the soil. "Good night children" he said to his plants, his fish and his gnomes. Maestro never dd guess what happened at his house that night.
Petals never entered the back yard again. Maestro did wonder at that but cats were moody creatures so he shrugged and let her go outside in the front. The gnomes winked at each other.
The Roses weren't going to say anything.