Davide Castel Davide Castel
Recommendations: 39

'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when we first start to deceive!

Harry Wells Harry Wells
Recommendations: 15

From the author. I know the last word should be 'whom' but that's not how people talk, is it?

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Harry Wells Harry Wells
Recommendations: 15

The Allotment Gardener

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She had a friend.

A farcical comment on life

At 45 and married, Fred had never been a philanderer though recent events at the office had made him wonder if this was more to do with lack of opportunity than virtue.

It started when Karen from the next office who was in her mid-twenties began to come and see him with work problems a little too often to be genuine. Soon she had begun to talk about some personal difficulties and Fred had tried to be as sympathetic as he could.

It wasn’t long before Karen made it perfectly clear that she wanted Fred whether he was married or not and would welcome advances on his part. He could come round to her flat at any time as far as she was concerned.

Fred was sorely tempted but his ardour was frustrated by the problem of finding a way to explain his absences from home to his wife if he were to take advantage of Karen’s generous nature.

Going to work one day Fred saw a council advertisement about vacant allotment gardens and a little seed of opportunity germinated in his brain. An allotment garden would give him just the cover he needed but it produced another difficulty. He knew that Alice, his wife, would expect the vegetables from the plot to further her cause for healthier eating. That meant that he would actually have to work on the garden.

Fred was coming to believe that an extramarital affair was not all smooth running. If he gave the plot enough of his time to enable eventual harvesting to take place neither Alice nor Karen would be pleased at his spending more time on it than he gave to them. At the same time he knew that failure to do anything at all in the garden would mean its becoming overgrown with weeds and this would make him unpopular with other gardeners. He took a plot anyway and bought himself a cosy shed.

Sitting one day on a bench outside the shed he began to ponder his predicament and came up with what he thought was a perfect solution. He would regularly go up to the allotment on his bike and do a minimum of work just to keep the garden tidy. Alice couldn’t expect any produce just yet but he could tell her he was preparing the ground and then spend a little time round at Karen’s flat.  

All went well until Alice asked when she was going to get some vegetables for the kitchen. The love affair, if not his garden, was in full flower and Fred needed to get round this delicate situation and keep everybody happy.

As usual Fred discovered a solution. He bought organic vegetables that he saw growing on other plots from the supermarket. Back at the allotment he carefully removed all the sticky labels and took the bogus harvest home for the kitchen. His wife was very impressed and thoroughly endorsed his new hobby though she had noticed that he was looking very tired these days.

Coincidence has a long arm. One day, Alice, finding that she was short of some minor though essential household items took herself off in the car to the supermarket. It was a warm day and after making the dreary round of the aisles she went back to her hot car and flopped into the driving seat. She closed her eyes momentarily and thought how nice it would be just to sit and have a nap. Then, opening her eyes, she was astonished to see what she felt sure was Fred’s bike chained to a post outside the shop.

Sure enough but even stranger, she saw Fred come out and tie a bunch of vegetables to his bike’s carrier. Alice decided that she would tackle Fred about this back home.

What she didn’t know was that Fred had seen her in the car as he left the shop. He thought how lucky he had been not to bump into her while he was in there and decided he would bluff it out, get back to his allotment and think of an acceptable reason for buying from the supermarket.
‘What on earth were you doing buying stuff in the supermarket this afternoon and why all those vegetables?’ she demanded.

‘How did you know I’d been to the supermarket?’ asked Fred, all ingenuous like.
‘Well, I saw you, didn’t I?’

Fred had spent sufficient time in his think tank garden shed to have evolved a method of muddying the waters.
‘Oh, yes. I’d been boasting to a mate at work how abundant the allotment is and he asked me to sell him a few items. I didn’t really have enough to supply him and us as well so I thought why don’t I just buy some organic stuff and pretend it’s my own? He’ll never know and it’s not as if we’re hard up, is it?’
Alice didn’t look too convinced but decided to mull it over. A few days later she said ‘Look, Fred, it’s not right that you should have to bring all those vegetables for me on your bike. I’ll come down in the car next time you go and carry them back for you. After all, you’ve done enough hard work in the day already, haven’t you?’

Fred needed time to deal with this fresh development. ‘Well, er, I’ve nothing ready this week’.
‘That’s alright I’ll come next week then’, said Alice.

It was obvious that Fred would have to spend some time in his shed again down at the allotment to think his way out of this one.

Then he had a lucky break.  He heard a polite tap on the door of the shed and Brian from plot 7 walked in. He said that he had a favour to ask. He was taking a month’s holiday in Malta and wondered if Fred would keep an eye on his allotment. If he wanted any vegetables he could help himself.

‘Do you want to come down to the allotment on Friday then? Fred asked Alice. On the day Alice duly arrived and found Fred digging up some potatoes. She picked up all the greens he had put in the wheelbarrow for her and went home thinking how she had misjudged him.

Like all Fred’s solutions this one was short lived. He realised that not only would he be obliged to see to the needs of two women but he would have two allotments to keep in order and hold down his regular job. Fred was already feeling a little debilitated and he realised that this wasn’t a situation that he could keep up indefinitely. He would have to bring it to a close. In any case he was by now getting fed up with Karen whom he had discovered was a high maintenance woman.
This simply left him with a further problem. How could he rid himself of the girlfriend without there being an almighty row and the prospect of a kiss and tell battle? 1 comment

Fred stiffened up his resolve and went round to his girlfriend’s flat for a preliminary skirmish.  Her mother met him at the door and told him that Karen wasn’t available as she’d gone off for a holiday in Malta with a bloke called Brian.

Fred went back to the solitude of his shed, greatly relieved, thinking that Lady Luck is a fickle creature and that he had been wise not to expect too much from her.
Just the same, he couldn’t help asking himself just who had been fooling who. 2 comments

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