Trimmed hedge


            She was a vegetable gardener.  She called her neighbor an “ornamentalist,” with his little box hedges filled with dollops of color.  Finicky, she thought, though she admitted the beauty of a slice of dahlia.  And he could praise her hearty Sampson Globe Tomatoes usually awarded first prize at the garden show.  That is, if she could conquer the greedy squirrel who had found a sudden appetite for tomatoes, just ripened, and just before she could pick them.  She bought fox urine–horrible, acrid–and sprayed a large circle to surround her tomatoes.  The squirrel approached, then literally backed away.  She laughed from her window. 
            A week later, her neighbor knocked on her door.  He demanded she come view the damage.  We have a fox in the neighborhood, he said.  The scent of box plants is sexually appealing to foxes.  He rubs his body through the center of my hedge.  His dahlias and begonias were tattered, his hedges collapsed.  She confessed to the fox urine.  He fumed.  She turned over the soil, promised no more spray.  At the end of summer, just before the garden show, he showed her the dead fox.  He’d shot it with a twenty-two.  He was off to the taxidermist.
            When her squirrel returned, she watched it eat one tomato, then another, while her neighbor worked to restore his box hedge.  Not being an ornamentalist, she went to her garage for the fox urine.

"War" first appeared in Little Balkans Review











Wedge of box hedge

Toy car

Baggie with plant clippings

Marigolds sprouting from potting soil


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