We have a flower-garden with nice trees and flowers that my father has been neglecting over the past few years, but last week he started pulling weeds. He told me to dump the wheelbarrow in the back and collect all of his clippings and weeds he pulled. I’ve cleared the aria the past few mornings after walking the dog, “Chance” around the block in the morning.
On Saturday I thought I would help my father out and suggested that I could use a strong metal rake over the arias he cleared to clean it up. The next morning’s I’ve raked out all of the clippings and thin vines that were covering the ground. He had found some fall flowers that had grown some leaves in the next aria he cleared.
My father told me to watch out for them the next time I raked the garden. The next morning after walking Chance I went to the front and saw the nice leaves and started using the rake. After the first raking I looked around to avoid the new leaves, but I couldn’t find them and without another thought I raked the rest of the aria.
Later that day my father called for me and with his graying black Irish hair and blue eyes, said, “John you, there are just stems where the flowers were, I asked you to look out for.”
My first reply was, “Sorry, I saw the leaves?” Then I said, “But after my first swipe with the rake, they were gone.”
The next day I was taking Chance for his afternoon walk, but before I got to the end of the long driveway I saw my father pulling weeds, and he called me over. I thought he wanted help, so I let go of the leash and guessed Chance would stay close. He pointed out some plants that he didn’t want me to disturb tomorrow morning.
After he was finished pointing out each plant, Chance was nowhere to be seen. I said, “You made me lose Chance.”
He shook his head, and said, “I didn’t make you do anything. Why did you let go of the leash?”
“I thought you needed help.”
“I just wanted to show you the plants, so you don’t pull them out.”
Chance was in the neighbor’s yard eating freshly laid mulch. I pulled him away and took him for his afternoon walk.
The next morning my father had an early doctor’s appointment, and I heard him stirring as I let the house with Chance for his morning walk. After the walk I fed Chance, had a drink, and changed the long sleeve shirt for a sleeveless one. I started gathering the clippings and big weeds when my father slowly pulled down the driveway to where I was.
He lowered the car’s window, and said, “You know which the good plants are.”
“Yeah, I’ll be sure to pull them out.”
He grinned, because it’s usually him who uses that kind of humor and then drove off.
I was raking the aria and avoiding the plants my father wanted to keep, when three black SUVs with tinted windows pulled in our long driveway. I dropped the rake and thought, this can’t be good, and I picked up a fist size rock I found in the garden.
I’m not a big man standing at five foot six, but I am stronger than most would think. Even-though I am thirty eight years old, I look like a punk kid, because of my height and the Irish baby face I was cursed with.
The first SUV stopped when it reached me, and I raised the rock as the door opened, and said, “Stay in the car. What business do you have with me?”
“We are looking for John Manning.”
I look down the driveway thinking, of reasons why they would send three trucks of men, and said, “Why are you looking for my father? If you’re trying to sell him something, he’s an 80 year old man, and he doesn’t need any more junk.”
My fathers’ name is John also, so I’m hoping they decide they have wrong information and drive off. The man closes the door and turns to the back, and I raze the rock in my hand as a tall man steps out.
This man isn’t just over six feet, he almost reaches seven. Looking down at me he said, “Drop that rock John. We aren’t looking for your father.”
Two men of all different shapes came out of each of the other SUVs, and were closing in on me. I figured a rock wouldn’t scare these guys, so I dropped it and transformed myself into__________.