You are arrogant.
This definitive statement blesses my email with its twinkling wonder on my cracked smart phone. The note is from my friend, and I should say, my only friend. Please know this about my friend. He is unstable and remarkably simple… bald, full figured, degenerative. His words reflect that, but you might not agree with me-yet. Allow me then to offer some proof.
This is how it is. I have a garden. Pure, simple, bliss. You’ve read the clichés, sun kissed and peaceful. There are no hidden agendas or buried treasures in my garden. I worked with just plants and damp soils that surge up an aroma of sweet serenity. My garden has no monsters like many other gardens do. And my garden has a use. I use my garden as a social affair both while I am in it toiling with regrettable plants and while apart from it, say at the store or church, places where pleasantries overshadow purpose.
“You’re tomatoes are dead,” my friend says while wiping a speck of dirt from his unnaturally clean hands. “You didn’t maintain them or water them. You’re a fool out here. Little wonder your wife is dead.”
“I don’t see the relation between those two things,” I explain slowly so that my friend can absorb the words correctly on the first try. “Besides my wife is not dead, she simply left me. You know this and you know it’s a painful subject.”
“As your only friend, I am telling you plainly-you are lying. Your wife is so dead not even Jesus can bring her back.”
“You’re a terrible friend, why do you keep showing up in my garden. You are worse than my enemy.”
And then, as if a plot point changed gears, in to my garden enters this person who all knows to be my clear enemy in life. I welcome my enemy though. At least I know who is arrayed against me without wavering. If only a friend could be so steadfast. My enemy is discolored in the mind, disquieted in the head, and disfigured in attitude. My enemy promptly tramples my thriving tomatoes spilling out the drenched dirt, still damp from the morning dew.
“Your tomatoes are really dead now!” Laughs my dim friend.
My enemy smiles weakly at me, tapping its chin thoughtfully, its menacing countenance hidden under the guise of humanity.
“Sorry. I didn’t see your suck-ass attempt at agriculture.”
“That’s ok,” I swallow. “Your fat feet are clumsier than a blind elephant trying to mate a lion.”
“God you’re dumb,” my enemy hisses while my stupid friend chuckles.
I mutter, “You are forbidden to come here anymore. Both of you.”
“Oh come on, the plants been dead a week. Same as your wife,” my friend foolishly adds.
“I didn’t mean to step on anything. You just can’t grow plants. Your soil is bad and that’s the foundation of a good garden.”
Then my enemy continues after pausing to catch its wheezing breath, “Your plants never bear fruit.”
“Slow down. Slow down,” I stammer. “Let’s clear up two misconceptions. One: my garden doesn’t have to produce to be considered successful because consumption is becoming more agreeable with each generation of these regrettable plants. Two: my garden is a sanctuary that both of you are jealous of since you have nothing of your own.”
“But what will we eat!” shouts my enemy.
“And every sanctuary has a monster,” snorts my friend.
“Poor soil is the only monster here and if you don’t like it, then why do you keep coming back?”
And then, as I had denied, but as my limited friend had feared, and as my enemy had prayed for-out of the corner of the garden came a great rumble, a piercing cry, and horrid chill coupled with a stench that rotted my tomatoes instantly. It rose out from under some spinach, the super food angling away from this awful creature, this writhing freakish imp that must dwell in a subterranean hell. It rose up, claws menacing from mutated limbs, pinchers sucking at the sun filled air with distain, glittering eyes, too numerous to ignore-and then it landed with a thud in front of myself, my friend, and my enemy.
Bless this freak. My friend cringed and dove behind me. My enemy stood firm, planted with fear. I smiled at the monster because I knew we would beat it. Not with a knife, we don’t have one. Not with a gun, I can’t afford it and my simpleton of a friend forgets his. We beat it with brains.
I rush to the monster as is threatens us with a claw and throw a rock at it! My friend sees the effect and races to gather his own. Wonderful friend, so brave that it is with sadness I eagerly hope the monster lashes his side and spills out his fat to fertilize my garden.
But the monster will never get the chance! Can it be… my enemy has gathered my hose and is spraying water at this hideous beast. It squirms away, the water having no ill effect.
Then the monster lunges at me, I dart to the side. I am quicker than this beast.
I find myself behind this soil Satan. It focuses its hatred on my friend who is meekly pelting it with rocks. My enemy comes up beside me and points to a shovel. Of course!
The beast has a weakness, as all good beasts do. The monster’s gills are fluttering in the wind right along its back. My enemy grabs the shovel and strikes the beast! Once on the gills! Once on the side! But she is too weak.
I take the shovel from her, and just as the monster is about to lance my friend through the face, I strike firmly on the back gills, suffocating the demon with the flat metal. It gasps, its mucus spewing air pipe crushed and held firm with its own ooze. It struggles vainly for a few moments. We three back away and gasp as it disintegrates back into the garden’s common dust.
“The garden monster is dead!” my favorite friend exclaims.
“Wow!” Struggles my enemy.
We embrace, we cheer, we wonder in awe at our own achievement. We trade stories, we trade perspectives, we nod, cajole, we smile, and best of all, we breath freely.
United were we three: a friend, and enemy, and me!
And before the monster died I saw it grin fiercely. It would be back, soon. I know it.
It has to be. Because once my friend and enemy leave, I quietly stroll across my garden and poke at the corner, lifting up some dirt. And there, as God has ordained for each of us, I plant a monster seed so that tomorrow we three can breathe free again and not be enemies and not be friends.