"The Weed Whisperer" is a short story about a man, Simon Parker, with a prickly, weedy secret.
Simon is a gardening guru. Weeds never dare to grow in his garden or flowerbeds, but Simon learns that weeds will attack if provoked.
I actually thought of this story while pulling weeds in my own garden. Wouldn't it be nice to keep weeds out for good? I thought. It seems like no matter what I do, they always come right back and bring their friends!
So, with that in mind and the fact that people do talk to their plants, I came up with The Weed Whisperer. A man with a secret that has been passed down through generations about how to deal with weeds. And it worked for him for years, until a young couple bought the property behind his.
Here's an excerpt:
Simon Parker kept the most beautifully tended gardens in all of Jamestown. It was as if weeds were afraid to enter his humble grounds. Simon refused to tell anyone his secrets and became known around the neighborhood as a gardening guru. The town’s admiration of Simon and his magnificent grounds would have changed if they only knew his secret.
Simon had built a privacy fence around his entire yard. Neighbors failed to see a portion of his property behind the fence in his backyard. There were no houses behind Simon’s place, only a wooded area, so the neighbors had no idea his yard extended past the fence. This was where his green, prickly secret hid. Directly behind the fence and extending to the edge of the wooded area lay Simon’s ultimate disgrace. Weeds of all varieties grew rampantly. Crabgrass stretched the entire length of the area, poison ivy twisted and climbed and yellow dandelion heads poked up between the cloverleaves.
Simon’s secret remained hidden until the day a young couple, Bill and Susie Danforth, decided to buy the wooded area behind his home. The couple came to Simon one warm summer morning to request he kill the patch of weeds growing behind the fence.
Simon looked the young man in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do that.”
“Sir, we’re building a new house, we don’t want to look out our lovely bay window and see your ugly weed patch.”
Simon shook his head. “That weed patch is not even on my property.”
Bill pulled out a map. “Look, your fence is not even on the property line.” He pointed out the difference in distance. “You can move your fence back a good six yards, and then you can keep weeds on your side.” Simon looked over the map. He knew his property line extended beyond the fence, but he had his reasons for it. “I see what you mean, young man.” Simon scratched this prickly chin. “I will see what I can do.”
Bill offered his hand. “Thank you, sir. And by the way, you have lovely gardens. You’ll have to give Susie some tips.”
Simon glanced at the fence. “I don’t give away my secrets.” Simon lumbered up to his house and went inside. He climbed the stairs to the attic and took out the book of gardening secrets that had been handed down through generations of the Parker family. “Let’s see, how do I reason with these earth loving creatures?” He thumbed through page after page describing the personality of each weed. “Ah, yes, we have something. He scrunched his nose and squinted, trying to read the worn passage. “Ground ivy is the most rational of the weeds. If a problem arises, explain the problem to the ivy and ask them to help in reasoning with the other species.” Simon placed the book back in its hiding place. That was the answer, after dinner, he would go visit the weed patch and find the ground ivy.
You can read "The Weed Whisperer" in Flashes of Fiction: Volume 3
Happy Reading! (And Listening!)