Rod, now deceased hubby-dear, had been transplanting what he thought was a “pretty vine” throughout my garden in a historic neighborhood with an ever-watchful garden society.
Rod phoned earlier in the evening.
“The guys are going to made a night of it. I think I’ll come back tomorrow,” he said.
“Super. Don’t throw up on any more strippers,” I said, chuckling (a story for another time). He promised to somewhat behave.
I gathered my supplies.
In the dead of night, or what approximates for it in a neighborhood that never sleeps, always watches, spies, informs, I walked into my garden with a rough idea of where the transplanted poison ivy lay. I carried with me a flashlight, dim–running out of juice, and the appropriate plant-killer.
Fumbling around, I was able to kill a dangerous batch in the rock garden, another by the gazing ball, and a third next to my side door, when a shot gun blast pierced the night. I dropped to the ground, hoping my face was clear of the disastrous vines. My flashlight rolled into the hedge.
“Hands up, mother-fucker!” a voice boomed into the night.
“Don’t shoot!” I yelled in the direction of my otherwise sweet and meek neighbor who weighed all of 100 pounds soaking wet. But this was ‘hysterical Ookwood’ as we called it, nestled against a not-so-desirable section of town known for miscellaneous gunshots in the night and drug deals resulting in burned-down buildings.
“Throw away your weapon.”
“What weapon?” I yelled back.
“I can see the weapon in your hands,” he said.
“It’s Round-up, and I’m going to throw it at you if you don’t drop your gun. It’s me. Your neighbor,” I said, spitting out a mouthful of dirt.
“Trudi, is that you? What are you doing out down there?”
“Killing the transplanted poison ivy. Please point the gun away from me.” I rolled my eyes.
“Well, let me help you up and get you some medicinal bourbon. Then I’ll stand watch while you kill the rest of the poison ivy.”
The killing spree continued but now I felt… safe-ish.
The next day, thinking I was none the worse for wear, I went about my business—keeping up a good façade for the gun-toting and bourbon-drinking neighbors. I swept the front porch and wrestled the dogs off the bed, tying them to a pole outside for a bath. Immediately, 90-pound Ellie howled, 50-pound Bridget found a dead bird to chew on, and 70-pound Spot began to eat siding off the corner of the house. I rolled my eyes again, decided against a gulp of bourbon, for now, and went inside to strip and remake the beds.
That afternoon, Rod returned. We had a lovely reunion, walking around the garden, in the daylight, and laughing about an abbreviated version of my nighttime adventure. I would never tell him about the poison ivy. Preparing for bed, Rod asked me, “How did you get that rash on your bum?”
“I have a rash?” I asked. “Well that explains the itch.”
I went into our miniscule bathroom, stood on the toilet to get my bum at mirror height so I could have a looksie, and promptly fell into the tub.
To be continued.
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