Jimmy B.'s Garden

April 5, 2012
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Mid-spring, it was, and old Jimmy B. was just finishing his garden with it’s sweet-smelling earth between his gloved fingers, The carrots, onions, and radishes all stashed below the earth in snug caverns he had dug, were basking in the noon sun while the peppers he was contemplating whether to organize them from the crimson-orange to the yellow and green or the other way around, or just to put the spiny artichokes there and put the peppers where he had them last year. Pondering this decision he stretched his aching back after a spasm of familiar pain had encompassed the lower region followed by a rare flood of relief as he twisted into a more comfortable position.
As he came to a conclusion about the placement of the peppers a shadow passed over him. Puzzled he turned only to find nothing there. “Strange,” he thought. “Could’ve sworn that something was there.” Though alarming that he hadn’t seen anything this wasn’t anything new. In fact the same thing had happened every day for two weeks, and each time he was left wondering about what the previous owner of the house had said to him. He shrugged off as he always did and continued with moving the sweet tasting peppers into holes dug to the precise requirements he had been taught by his mother in his childhood. Right after he was done he went over to the dark green artichokes he had ecstatically bought after reading a recipe online.
He took a few steps and then tripped, cursing as he plummeted towards the spiky plants he landed right in the middle of them face first. Flopping away clutching his face cursing as his mother would at slow moving traffic, he screamed at the ground while furiously wondering how his face had been pricked. He eventually calmed down and walked over to where he had tripped. He saw a small rotting piece of wood protruding out of the tilled ground. Bending down he whispered, “So that's what tripped me, might of guessed, been there forever only a matter of time...” He left his statement unfinished because he was stricken by and idea. An idea planted many years ago by the former house owner.
He took his dirt caked gardening shovel, walked over to the offending wood, and proceeded to dig around it. After five work filled minutes, he squatted down and pulled out the decaying wood to find it was a chest. A small chest, about fist sized, that had scrapes and holes from accidental drops from careless greedy men after the contents.
“This box,” he thought. “This box, it’s dangerous, no deadly. I wonder why?”
Then every thought, every cell, every molecule in his ageing, wrinkled body was screaming “OPEN IT! OPEN IT YOU FOOL! IT’S YOURS NOW!” Then in the garden he had worked so diligently in for forty years through all the hardships, death of his wife, children, and parents, the garden that had become his oasis from his strife. In the garden with its elaborate design in the alignment of colorful peppers that had become sweet salads, the carrots and onions that had become earthy soups. He slowly opened the box, peered inside, and shuddered. Not so much from the sight of what it was, no certainly not from that. His shudder was his last breath leaving his body, it was his final effort to live, taken from a knife wielding shadow that had plagued that house for years.

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