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9th June 2018
(Short Story)

          “I’ve had ’em all on here,” Rupert explained. One of my predecessors chainsawed through his leg doing a weekend guvvy job. Another insisted on convincing clients that they should plant dahlias everywhere. Despite my first impressions of Rupert, it is worth noting that the man was a fully-qualified, time-served wizard when it came to matters horticultural. What he couldn’t do with a rake wasn’t worth doing. In his hands, it was as fully formed and functional as a third limb. I could wholly imagine him picking locks, or combing someone’s hair with it. A few strokes of his trusty ‘Bulldog’ turned the most unyielding ground into surfaces fit for billiards. It was something to emulate, but I produced only occasional flashes of genius.

          That first day on the flower bed was spent dragging dust bins full of soil and rubble up and down the steepest of gradients. The slope we were marooned on was once a toilet for tramps, but now it was a flower bed that smelled like a tramp’s toilet. It overlooked a block of student accommodation that used to be a YMCA. It was not ‘fun to stay at’. My second day was a baptism of fire: a ninety minute drive to the site, a crash course in everything, a visit from the clearly annoyed architect – “Is that turf? Looks ****ing dead if it is,” – and a flat battery. I left the van lights on when we arrived, which spurred a quest for jump leads in the surrounding housing estate before we could leave. I was so pleased when one man lent me a pair without fuss that I gave him one of Taggart’s plants as a thank you. I cannot recall an occasion when the exchange of a hedging shrub for some jump leads brought about so much joy. They gave me possibly the greatest freedom ever bestowed upon mankind: the opportunity to leave Worksop.

          I bet Graham Greene didn’t have to put up with all this. 

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Will Nett
Will Nett
(United Kingdom)

Gonzo-scribbling, Francophile road roamer, cum-meta-fiction story collector.