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Spadework (standard:drama, 751 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Jun 12 2005Views/Reads: 2527/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Lesley finished filling in the entry form for the Kent Village of the Year competition. Should she tell the full story?


©2005 Ian Hobson 

Lesley finished filling in the entry form for the Kent Village of the
Year competition.  Should she tell the full story?  She laughed out 
loud at that thought. 

'What are you chuckling at?' asked Betty, looking up from her
encyclopaedia of garden plants.  Betty was Lesley's sister.  The two of 
them lived together in a cottage in the center of the village and were 
two of its oldest residents. 

'Oh, I was just wondering what the judges would think if they knew the
secret of our success.'  Lesley slipped the entry form into its 
envelope and then looked out of the window.  It would be getting dark 

'They'd probably all have heart attacks,' remarked Betty, reaching to
switch on the standard lamp.  'Though if they did, we'd do even better 
next year.' 

Lesley laughed out loud again.  'Betty, you're incorrigible!' 

'I think,' said Betty, as she reached for a pen and made a note on a pad
that rested on her chair arm, 'we should have more Salvia Splendens 
Compacta in the borders next year.  They did really well this year, and 
they flower from June to October.' 

'Oh, yes.  They're a lovely shade of red.' 

Suddenly the telephone began to ring, so Lesley walked through the hall
to answer it.  'Hello...  Oh!  Another one, already?  Just a moment...  
Betty! Harvey's got another... you know what.  Are we free in about 
fifteen minutes?' 

'Of course,' replied Betty.  'We can have a late supper.  Where does he
want us?  Suggest the rose bed opposite the church.' 

'Where, Harvey?  Betty thinks the rose bed opposite the church...  Yes,
okay, see you there.'  Lesley replaced the receiver and walked back 
into the lounge.  'We better wrap up warm; it's supposed to get chilly 
this evening.' 

The two elderly, but sprightly, sisters put on their coats and scarves
and Wellington boots, and left the cottage by the back door.  Outside, 
the sun had just set, but the sky was almost cloudless.  And even in 
poor light, the garden looked beautiful, with its manicured lawn and 
hedges.  Betty stopped to smell one of the standard roses.  By rights 
it should have stopped flowering weeks ago.  She wondered if it was due 
to the superior feed or to recent climatic changes. 

'Oh, what about our spades?'  Lesley asked, as she opened the garden

'We won't need them.  Harvey always carries spare ones.'  Betty closed
the gate behind them.  'He did say just the one, didn't he?' 

'Oh, yes, just the one.  Might be heavy though.' 

The village was one of the smallest in Kent, and as the limited street
lighting came on, the two sisters made there way through it; proud of 
its cleanliness and of the dedication of their fellow villagers; almost 
all of them keen gardeners and, of course, all non-smokers. 

That was where it had all begun really: The need to keep the village
free of litter, as well as in full bloom, for the judging.  Smokers had 
often been the worst culprits, but banning smoking in the village had 
improved the situation enormously.  Though the masterstroke had come 
after Betty had had an argument with a visitor who had ignored the 
prohibition signs and blatantly thrown a cigarette butt into the 
gutter.  She hadn't meant to kill him; just to whack him with her 
umbrella and make him see the error of his ways.  But because the idiot 
had fallen backwards over a plant trough, and fractured his skull on 
the stone paving, things had taken an unusual turn. 

Burying the corps under one of the new rose beds had been Harvey's idea.
 And the resulting blooms over the following years had been 
breathtaking.  So when three years later, old Tom Bankcroft shot a man 
for fly-tipping, the villager's policy towards offenders changed for 

'Here we are,' said Betty, as they reached the church and crossed the
road.  On the other side Harvey was waiting beside his estate car with 
his brother, Gordon. 

'Big fella, late fifties, I'd say.'  Harvey gestured with his thumb
towards the back of his vehicle.  'Caught him emptying his ashtray in 
the pub car park.  I got Richard and Mary to drive his car away and 
loose it.' 

'How did you, err, dispatch him?' asked Lesley. 

'Garrotte.  Old army trick I learned when I was younger...  Right then,
there's spades in the back of the car.  If you ladies get the roses up, 
we'll dig the hole and get him planted.' 


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