Short Story: Delicious Avenue


Genesis 11:6-9  And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.  So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.  Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Delicious Avenue

Living in one and renting the other was just a way to eat, a gift of gear to get by with. Central air and heat, vinyl siding with a clay tile roof, the house was a little duplex one dune back from the waters edge. Built like all the rest in the neighborhood to be permanent low maintenance, both he and the house blended in with everything around them.

The neighbors watched him take his evening walks in bare feet, jeans rolled up to the knees. He stopped for moments at a time to stare out to sea over the clouds and speak.

“There’s something wrong with that man.” Clara said, letting go of the curtain. “It ain’t normal–ain’t right not to speak to your neighbors. Just ’cause we rent don’t mean we’re not people.”

Franklin pulled the top off his homemade greenhouse and inspected the plants. “He just seems to want his privacy. Why not?” He pushed the glasses further back onto his nose. “It worked.”

“What worked?”

He pulled out a pot with a tiny plant. “See? Our new tomato.”

Clara came over and squeezed his arm. “Didn’t I always say my Frank could do anything?”

“What’ll we name it?”

She went into the kitchen without saying anything.

“Well?”

“I’m thinkin’. Give me a minute.” He heard the cabinet open and close. You got any ideas?”

“Well I had thought about…”

“Now it’s got to be something that screams ‘tomato’. Names have power. A good name will help out in the competition at the fair.”

“The Tasty One.”

She laughed. “Baby, you can be so simple sometimes. That won’t work.”

“Why not? It’s got to be something about eating.”

“Well of course it does. But more.”

He sat slowly by the table. “Tasty Treat Number Two. I know it really ain’t our second. But the name sounds like more, you know? People trust experience.”

“Oh, honey. You mean well. But that’s more like a pepper name.”

“Why?”

“That’s just the way it is.”

“Hmm.”

“See, people know pepper names from tomato names–they just don’t know that they know it. So we take advantage of that by the name we use. The most tomatoee of tomato names is the one that’s gonna win at the competition. Think of the Red Delicious apple. I mean, who thought of that one? A fairt tale name full of temptation. “Here, have a red delicious apple my pretty!’ That kind of name is cheatin’.”

“It’s the taste…”

“Well that counts too. But the name sets the tone of the taste. Now it’s got to be a name that isn’t anything else but a tomato.”

“Why can’t we just..”

“Now tomatoes are round–and red.”

“Most of them. Everybody knows that.”

“Yeah,” she dropped her voice, “But everybody isn’t aware they know that to eat a tomato is a deeply spiritual experience.”

“No it isn’t.”

“Of course it is. And our tomato will grant them their most secret, intimate desire.”

“I just want to win. Not all this.”

“Hold on. I’m good at this. I know the rules other people have to live by– but don’t know themselves. I snagged you didn’t I? Give me somethin’ round and red.”

He took the tomato magnet off the refrigerator door and handed it to her.

She closed her eyes and nodded, holding her breath for a minute.

“Is this right?” He looked at her uncomfortably. “I mean, for a tomato? It’s like we’re puttin’ the whammy on ’em before they know what’s comin’.”

“But it’s a good whammy.” She said without opening her eyes.

“Maybe we should tell ’em the rules they don’t know. It’ll be good PR for the tomato. Like a public service thing. You buy our product, we’ll tell you how it is.”

“No way! That’s our edge. Besides, they wouldn’t believe us.” A few seconds later, she smiled, opened her eyes and looked at him. “Delicious Avenue.”

“A racehorse tomato?”

“Of course not. Delicious Avenue is where they’ll be when they take a bite into one our tomatoes. It’s great!”

He slowly smiled. “It does have a little somethin’ to it, don’t it?”

“Told you I was good. Besides, if you had a head for these things you wouldn’t be still workin’ for somebody else and we wouldn’t be rentin’.”

“It wasn’t my fault. ”

“It never is.”

*******

Franklin sat at the table looking over the bills. He pushed his glasses back and frowned.

“What’s wrong?”

“We’ve got too much money in our account.”

“That’s nothing wrong, honey. I didn’t pay the rent yet. Last month either.”

He took his glasses off. “Why not? We’ve got the money. If there’s something you want…”

“I want him to say somethin’ to me. Do you realize I have never spoken to him and neither have you? He’s gonna have to come over here and get it and speak like a normal person.”

“Why? If the man wants to be private what’s wrong with that? Besides, we really pay the real estate agency.”

She parted the curtains and looked out over the front yard. “I sure wish we had grass instead of gravel. And some plants and flowers. A little bird bath maybe and a feeder, like back home.”

“We can ask him. He probably won’t mind. Might even pay for some of it.”

“I’ll do just that when he comes.”

There was a knock at the door.

She went into the kitchen.

Franklin frowned and went for the door.

Opening the door, the man was smaller than he had imagined at a distance. He was wearing a sweat suit and sandals. Franklin knew immediately the man hated being a landlord.

“Come on in. Uh, I’m sorry about the rent. Hang on and I’ll write you a check.”

The man came in and closed the door.

Clara came from the back and leaned against the counter, watching.

He said nothing but waited quietly by the door, looking at the interior of the apartment.

Franklin handed him the check.

The man smiled and walked outside on the deck. “Agapanthus and Aspidistra in a garden of shade. Gladiolas and periwinkles in a daisy neighborhood.” He smiled. “And Centipede grass.”

A look of horror, so sudden was the shock, spread over Clara’s face. Franklin was dumbfounded.

In front of them, instead of gravel and asphalt was a garden in full bloom, shaded and cheerful.

The man walked through the shade, inspecting the life around him.

Clara closed the door quickly. “Did you see that?”

He nodded.

She went to the window and looked out. “It’s still there.”

******

Franklin looked for a time to know, to say; a place to say it in and watch it be. He thought about the man and how impossible it would be to hold a conversation in that speak, that language that sounded so identical to everything he had heard before. He wondered what else might have been created on the saying of the words. Though he had grown tired of checking and rechecking to make sure the plants and grass were real, the shock wouldn’t go away in the middle of all that needed to be done.

The tomato was larger now, with its first set of blooms. Taking a larger pot he had saved for the occasion, he filled it with potting soil to one third full. Gently shaking out the tomato by the roots from the old pot, he placed it in the larger pot. It occurred to him he was being overly carefully with a robust piece of life. After he finished filling the pot with the special mix, he pushed it roughly over for balance, smiling, as it lay there unbroken.

She watched him from the chair. “I love you.” she said quietly and turned on the TV.

He knew in that moment as at a distance: she didn’t love him at all. It wasn’t that she loved someone else. She didn’t know love, yes or no. She

“ “-ed him. He “ “-ed her in return, with kisses and all the rest; maybe even in children one day.

She hit the volume.

Suddenly erupting into the room, it was a sound that jumped all over him. Human voice in a continuous affirmation with a music of emergency reacting to an event already past in surprise in clear, acoustic notes was in his ears before he could blink. It was a thing made of experience played by fingers and picks on strings held in place by metal, wood and ivory. With a little reverb and electric in it, it made him think of dollars, big spaces, real “ “ and her. It made its own space in which to be heard. But when it was over, it was gone for good and the only thing changed was time.

She smiled and held her knees. “I always wanted to play. Or sing, you know? Just to do it once and have somebody understand.”

“Honey..”

“Shh. They’re playin’ again.”

The pronunciation was easy and seemed to rhyme with almost everything he had ever thought or said. They seemed to hold the notes exactly on all his hopes.

It was too perfect. But nothing was created and the music itself was an alarm against a supposed absolute scarcity.

He walked outside to smell the flowers and hear the insects. And remember again the fear of that speech.

******

Franklin came in and sat in front of the air vent, unbuttoning his collar and blowing the cold air on his shiny neck. After a few minutes he sat back and breathed a sigh. “It’s so hot the air conditioner went out on the delivery truck. They had me out of the office and in this heat all day trackin’ down a mechanic.”

“I’ll bet those plants aren’t salt tolerant. And we can’t afford to water them. They’ll be ugly if they turn brown in this heat.” Clara said from a nearby chair. “But it’s too hot to even worry about that.”

“I can’t get it out of my head. I mean he just spoke–and there it was.”

Franklin heard a commode flush. The guest bathroom door opened. A young man came out and headed for the fridge.

Franklin looked at Clara.

She got up and began cleaning the kitchen.

The younger man sat down in the chair next to Franklin and extended his hand. “Billy Thomas.”

“Franklin.”

They shook.

“Yeah, your wife told me. We met down at the community center.”

“Me and Billy were talking about what happened. He says he did it with mirrors.” Clara called from the kitchen.

Billy picked up the newspaper and scanned the front page.

Franklin shook his head. “Wouldn’t that be nice to know? But not likely.”

“It could happen. When’s the last time you looked out at the front yard?”

“Not long before he did it.”

“But honey, what that man really did, no matter how he did it, was just make us feel something. I mean, think about it. We were amazed. That’s really all that happened. And I can feel that washin’ dishes.”

“But you were there! You saw it!”

“Watch this.” she grinned from the kitchen. “Say something Billy.”

“Under the cypress and the pine we wait with sun in yellowed shafts of silence. Like a honey flow or an even dollar amount you go on in never enough, an evangelism of later manufacturing distance from event, from now for the time of laughter, a stolen child saved from the hell of pride for free. But a calm excitation of life, forced into the open past the tears, saying like they do in Ireland, wearing hats as in Marrakech, finding voice in laughter up out of the throat and through the lips into the world as us.” He cleared his throat. “They find against us in our place with thoughts alien to our life. But we’re still here, outfitted for the place where we stand with the words that came and stayed, music that goes on leaving a song behind of our austerity in the light of a different understanding. You speak your past in a present toward my golden clarity…”

“Okay that’s enough.”

Billy folded the paper and looked over the back page.

“He’s an artist.”

“Where’d you learn to talk like that?”

“That doesn’t matter. It’s that he can–and did.”

Billy smiled apologetically at Franklin. “It’s a knack I got. My sister says I’m special that way.”

“Oh.”

“But,” she came back in; smiling at Billy, “without being vulgar, see the effect? That’s really all that man did. He amazed us. Maybe even confused us for a little while.”

“But its still there. It’s real flowers and ….”

“Well of course honey. He has to leave it there now to keep pushing the feeling on us. Every time we see it, we feel again. That’s all that really happens. He probably means well. I’m sure he’s a nice man. But we’re nice people to understand.”

“Do you mind?” Billy asked as he pointed the remote at the TV.

Franklin shook his head slowly.

“I told Billy it would be alright to stay with us for a while. He’s new in town. It’s okay isn’t it?”

Franklin was lost in thought.

“I said it’s okay isn’t it?”

“Huh?”

“If Billy stays? We’ve got the extra bedroom.”

“Yeah. Sure. Why not?” Franklin gave Billy a quick smile before going outside into the garden.

Billy followed him a few minutes later. He sat on the grass and looked over the flowers. “Nice–if you like the vegetative look. Kinda’ retro, you know. Thick, no space between the plants.”

Franklin stared at the banana trees.

“You just thought he did it by speakin’. But that can’t be. That ain’t even what words are for.”

A breeze came in from over the water, blowing in a silence.

******

Franklin took the registration card from Clara and filled out the form. “Delicious Avenue. I like that. It’s a good start. We’re tomato artists!”

She frowned. “Uh huh. Well be sure and get it in the mail today if you can make it past the jungle. Friday’s the deadline for the entry forms.”

Franklin took the form and walked out to the mailbox, smiling as he dropped it in. Children at play laughed from the street. Their voice was a rest, an in-between of all the other speaks that wouldn’t stop.

A ball struck him in the back before bouncing into the birdbath. He threw it back to the nearest little girl, catching sight of the man next door turning the corner a block away as he stood up.

The man was walking to the beach.

Franklin followed.

He had stooped over to roll up his jeans and take his shoes off.

Franklin walked cautiously several yards behind him, planning to catch up before they got to the place Clara could see the water from the kitchen window. They continued down the beach.

The man gestulated softly as if in conversation and shrugged.

Franklin walked faster and drew closer without hearing anything. Finally he gave up and walked up beside the man.

So intense was the silence Franklin began to be afraid the man would actually speak and what would happen would be horrific.

The man stopped and turned toward him. A panic he had never felt before, a response he only vaguely sensed was fight or flight in the face of mortal danger came over him and he knew to run as fast as possible. He tripped over his own legs and fell.

The man smiled but didn’t laugh. He extended a hand to help Franklin up. There was nothing to do but take it.

Standing looking at him while brushing the sand off his pants, Franklin said, “I just wanted you to know. I mean..the rent. I’m sorry about that.”

The man nodded and turned to go.

It was a violation of all he had ever known that was himself and only after he had done it could he believe he ever actually would: He tackled the man as hard as he could.

A sound escaped the man’s lips in surprise. Franklin drank it in as proof the man was as himself. But he was surprisingly agile and strong. Franklin found himself on his back with the man looking at him as if he were crazy.

Franklin grabbed the man’s leg. “I won’t let go until you say something. But not to me. Over there. Say something at that spot over there. Just one more time.”

The man looked directly in his eyes and shook his head. “Be satisfied with the speech you already have.”

“I can’t tell you why but I’m not. It seems worthless to me.”

“He said ‘Let there be light’. There was light. He says through me to you, believe in Jesus Christ.” He gave a little smile. “And there you are.”

Franklin waited for a second or two. “Nothing happened.” He felt of his chest and arms. “I’m still the same.”

“No, you are not.”

“Sure I am. They were right; you just made us feel something. That really is all that happened!” He backed away from the man and laughed nervously. Suddenly stopping and standing there he whispered, “It didn’t work! I’m still here.”

The man turned down the beach and walked away.

******

“We’re goin’ down to the Bookshop Pub over on Thirty First Street. Go with us. Billy’s gonna do a monologue on the open mike. Some of those career ladies almost passed out last time when Billy took off his shirt!” Clara laughed. She went in search of her purse.

Franklin looked at Billy with skepticism.

“They lack the emotional ignorance of true zealots. They smile. Sometimes their words abrupt the silence in tiny acts of skinny praise. Sometimes not.” Billy chugged a beer.

“Wow.”

Billy shrugged good-naturedly. “It comes and goes. Got to have a complete repertoire, you know? Give the people what they want. Can’t just do long sayings. Sometimes the short piece gives a better effect.”

“Must be hard.”

“Not really. It’s always been easy for me.” Billy grinned. “And people pay for it! Who’d a thought it, huh?” He sat the can carefully on the table. “Check this out: I saw validation in girlfriend salutation, a slender human beautiful girlfinger tender and caressing the air just where a soul meets its border in subtle intimation of a knock, smoothing back a hair.”

Franklin could only stare.

“I said that the other night–just came over me. Had my shirt off–I take it off ’cause it gets hot under the lights. I’m no stripper for gods sakes!” He popped the top on another beer. “One o’ them ladies stuffed a fifty–a fifty dollar bill in my jean pocket.” He laughed. “Didn’t want to let go!”

There was a silence.

“Sometimes its scary. I wonder about it all. You know, where it comes from and where it goes? Why? What is it?”

Franklin sat staring at the greenhouse.

Billy took a long swig of the beer. “I mean, what’s the real connection between words and sex?”

“There’s a connection?”

“Yeah! Got to be. I mean I get up on stage, an unknown. I’m not THAT good lookin’, everybody’s talkin’ to each other–not lookin’ my way. Then it comes over me again. I speak.” He looked at the beer and swirled the can absently. “In a few minutes all the women are lookin’. A few minutes later they’re handin’ me money. I see their eyes. The want me–and more than me. They want what’s in me, the spirit of the words.” He lapsed into silence.

Clara came through. “Have you seen my purse? You didn’t hide it did you?”

“Check the car, honey. Maybe you left it there.”

“My God I hope not! It’s raining!”

` The door slammed.

The rain pelted softly on the banana trees outside the window. Images moved in silence of a helicopter rocketing a machine gun position on the TV.

“I took a big mama the other night just for a change.”

“Hmm?”

Billy grinned. “Made love. Had sex with. Got my rocks off.”

“Oh.”

“I wish I was a simple as you.”

Franklin shook his head absently. “Any kids?”

“Lord no! I wouldn’t bring any rug rats into this world.”

Franklin appeared perplexed. “But how do you do it?”

“I don’t know. That’s the truth.” He lowered his voice. “Sometimes I think it isn’t me. Like I’m bein’…used.”

Franklin nodded slowly to show he was listening.

“But that don’t really make sense. I mean we’re the source of what we say, right? There ain’t no gettin’ outta’ that. We’re responsible. We have to be..we’ve got free will.”

Franklin shook his head again. “A fat lady, huh? Damn.”

“One trick I learned is to read. If you say some of the stuff that olden people used to say to the gods in their prayers, you know, like in the bible? If you say some of that stuff to women? Man, it makes ’em go crazy.”

“I don’t know what to say most of the time.”

“You got Clara.” Billy drank the last of the beer. He opened the door and looked out before taking a step toward the car.

******

Clara looked up from the television at Franklin. He had made a terrarium out of an old whiskey bottle and was tying a fork around a piece of bamboo to use as a spade. She watched him work the string around the handle and tie the end off.

“That an official knot?”

“Half-hitch.”

“Hmm.”

“Seen Billy around?” He adjusted his glasses.

“Not today. He was out early I guess.”

The television spoke softly. “…author Jimmy Wright on his new book, Poetic Catharsis: A View from the Street. We can take your calls at nine nine nine, fifty..”

“He has this brooding ambivalence about his own emotional intelligence. It’s charming. A kind of paradox…of strength. You know?”

“Hmm?”

She turned toward him in the chair. “You don’t like him do you?”

Franklin sat back, twirling the bamboo in his fingers. “Well I…I don’t understand him. He’s an okay kid. Maybe he can make a living at it.”

“There’s more to life than just money.” She clicked the TV off. “Like the other night. Do you know what he said? I mean, down at The Pub?”

“No.”

“Somethin’ like “a joking fashion, a frenzied forgiveness to kiss again in the guerilla warfare of hearts.” It was very real.”

“We fight sometimes. But warfare?”

“Of course you wouldn’t get it. Not much poetry in a tomato.”

There was a silence.

She smiled. “a joking fashion, a frenzied forgiveness.” He said it just like that. I think its his verbs,” she reached out to the air around her, from the elbows, a slight effort made more in her attempt to hide it. “…the action of saying it combined with the substance it brings.” She nodded. “It was …beautiful.”

“It was all that?” He went back to the terrarium.

“You could do better?”

“I don’t remember anything he says after he says it.”

She clicked the TV back on.

******

He was never early, always working a little extra past five. But today, driving up to the curb, Franklin parked and waited.

It was 4:15.

A knock on the window brought him out of a short nap.

It was Billy. “What’s up?”

Franklin rubbed his eyes. “What time is it?”

“I don’t know. Fivish.”

Franklin didn’t know what to say.

“What are you doin’ here out in the truck? You okay?”

The man next door came out. Franklin hurriedly rolled the window back up and got out.

Billy followed his eyes.

“That him?”

Franklin nodded. “I might be late.” He didn’t wait for a reply but followed the man down the street and out toward the water. Several yards into the sand the man turned and watched him approach until they were face to face.

They stood staring at each other. The wind came in from off the water, blowing in the scent of water. Gulls behind them in a small flock spread their wings and lifted off the beach, circling leisurely just off the surf.

Franklin searched for something to say.

The man was silent.

Franklin opened his mouth to speak. But nothing came out.

The gulls circled around again before settling one by one back down on their spot and staring out over the water again.

The man turned to go.

“She’s all I got!”

The man turned back.

Franklin reached out. “I just need some words. They don’t have to make nothin’–or, or maybe they do. But I need…somethin’.”

The man shrugged. “You’ve got all you need in you. Even now Jesus Christ is alive in you. He’ll speak through you the same as he speaks through me.”

“I don’t have time for that. See…they, that kid. He’s got all the words. I just need a few. Even one. Just one good…”

“No. The boy is dead. What is said through him is sorcery. You will not speak the same.” The man turned down the beach. The gulls parted but didn’t fly as he walked away.

“She’s all I got.” Franklin said quietly. The wind blew away the sound.

That night he got out his Bible.

“You’re not gonna get religious on me are you?” Clara joked from the kitchen. “That’s the last thing I need!”

He turned the pages in silence, looking for an entrance into whatever he would find.

“I’m the one taught you how to name things, remember? You was gonna be dishonest and pretend we had more experience than we really did. Remember that?”

“That was before.”

“Before what?”

He kept turning the pages.

“What’d you do?” She came around from the kitchen.

He stopped and looked for a place to start on the page.

“You let that man speak to you didn’t you? Didn’t you?”

“What difference does it make? You don’t believe…”

“And now you think you been born again or somethin’, huh? Like you’re more than Billy and m…”

He looked up quickly. “No! I mean, maybe…but.. I mean yes. But its not what you…”

“Billy was right. That man’s a con. And now he’s conned you. Don’t be such a damn simple simon forever. For once have some smarts, some depth.”

“I want to!” he cried. “I’m lookin’ for it! Leave me alone! I’m tryin’ to get it–for you!”

She was dumbfounded, backing away from him toward the bedroom. “You’ve never yelled in your whole life. This guy’s really got you goin’.”

He turned the page again. “Just let me think. It’s here somewhere. Right here. I just have to find it.” He picked up the bible and held it up to her. “It’s right here!”

“I deserve more than this.”

He sighed. “What is it you want?”

“What do you think? I want what all them other women want. I want to feel amazed a little more often. Not all the time.” She went back into the kitchen. “Just a little more than now.”

He sat looking in desperation at his Bible hoping to find something. He would interpret it into Billy’s speech. She would like it and see it as an understanding, an ultimate saying of power that both destroyed the “ “ and made true love appear in a place or space in them without mentioning Christ. There had to be some way around the necessity of saying his name.

******

It was late when he heard the car drive in. Franklin leaned over and looked at the clock, then turned the TV up as they came in the door laughing.

Clara was a little tipsy and threw her purse onto the couch.

Billy came in a few minutes later. “Watering the jungle.” They both broke up into laughter.

Clara sat down in Franklins lap. “Say something Billy.”

He nodded and began, slurring some of the words. “You forgive against me in a jungle of words…no wait.” He stopped and pointed at Franklin. “It’s like a rule. You never, ever, say the word word.” Nodding to himself, he began again. “And the horses are walking and walking and walking with their heads hung low searching for grass. But the, uh, technical facade of beauty eludes their hungry eyes from their youth. A few days, just a few like theirs, a few days of our eternity waiting on the truth in our exile from location of the event. In simple lineations of accidental remnant, topiaried words, er..oops!” He laughed.

Clara squeezed Franklin’s neck and kissed his ear.

“My casuality comprised of not finding you surprised. Should I give a faster smile? In a little while? Maybe? Maybe yes!” Billy grinned.

Franklin squirmed under the weight.

“The offings of the outside, the brutality of honesty in villages or on plains, fragile chips, roughly barked, a safety zone with the softy grip—and how could I forget? The place between us where I don’t understand your face. A direct stare but something in the air in front of us like…silence. And then I said NO and then YOU sort of mumbled something and walked away…”

“Okay, that’s enough.” Clara kissed Franklin again. “Say something baby.”

Franklin took a breath. But nothing beautiful fell out. He gave up and whispered, “Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.”

Billy laughed. “No point in cussin’, Frank.” He stumbled off to bed.

Clara found her way to the couch and dropped off to sleep immediately.

Franklin watched TV.

******

There wasn’t a note.

Some of her things were gone. A used condom had been left on the bed. Excepting those, everything appeared the same.

The tomatoes had turned a deeper shade of red.

Several days after the county fair he filed a missing persons report.

“I was sorry to hear about Clara, Frank. That boy coulda’ been her son.” The deputy handed Franklin the pen. “Nothin’ official–I heard they were seen down in Broward County—got in some trouble down there. We’ll file this. She may come back. But I tell you the truth. I’d let it go.”

Franklin said nothing as he wrote out his signature.

“These things happen. Sorry it had to happen to you.”

A tug sounded from out in the bay.

“Say, how’d your tomato come out? Win? Place?”

“Disqualified.”

“What happened?”

“They did a test. DNA You know, so you know if you really got something unique? Turns out our Delicious Avenue was really somebody else’s Sun Glow.”

“Wow.” The deputy shook his head. “That’s too bad. All that work and patience. The waiting. Good name and all” The deputy sat back in the cruiser and closed the door. “Sun Glow, huh? Not very flashy. Definitely a tomato name.”

“Tastes good. They crossed a Big Todd with a Carolina Pink Stripe and got a Sun Glow. Our plants from the nursery were mislabeled.”

“Big Todd, huh? My dad plants those. Big, meaty tomato. Not much juice. Makes a good tomato sandwich.”

Franklin watched the gulls out on the beach, staring out to sea. “Who’d a seen that comin’? You can’t…” he struggled for the words. “You just can’t.”

The deputy drove away slowly; glad to put some distance between him and the moment. He always hated these situations: never knowing what to say to fix it. Another call came in. He hit the lights and siren…

The End

 1Peter 1:23-25  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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