It’s probably time to move Fred & George’s little house to a safer location, ever since the Great Mystery Hunt. (I’ll tell you guys about that when the weather improves.) They might even have to share it with a horseradish, which will no doubt lead to many hijinks. As it is, Emphysema Joe is hiding behind the new spring growth of lavender, and is happy to remain so. I had a long conversation with him the other day while I was planting radishes–he wanted to be caught up on all the latest gossip, being a little bit of a hermit. I think only George visits him, and they only talk about green things and video games. “HE’S A SQUIRREL,” Zombie Joe says, quietly, puffing to light his pipe to his satisfacction. “THERE’S NOT A LOT OF PHILOSOPHY THERE.”
“Not a lot of philosophy in me either, buddy.” I was too busy scraping out a row with almost-raw fingers. The earth is a little chilly in spring, and my fingernails were already full of dirt.
“YOU’RE PLANTING RADISHES.”
“And carrots. And fennel.” I yanked a few more weeds. They get going early in spring.
“THERE YOU GO.”
“There I what?”
“RADISHES ARE PHILOSOPHICAL.”
“How so?” I seeded the row very carefully. Radish seeds are tiny little motherfuckers.
“A FIERY VEGETABLE GROWN UNDERGROUND. DON’T TELL ME IT’S NOT.” He puffed on his pipe, quite pleased. It smells halfway between skunk and lavender when he really gets going in that corner.
“SO HOW’S MIRANDA DOING?” He sounded very casual. If I didn’t know the entire backyard was in love with her, I might almost suspect he was disinterested.
“Fine. Urging the crocuses to store up against next winter, and trying to coax some of that sorrel up. She says summer’s going to be interesting.”
That perked him up. “INTERESTING HOW?”
“Just interesting. You know how she is.”
“MUST BE A DRAG, BEING AN ORACLE.”
“Sometimes that gleam in her eye makes me suspect she likes it.”
“THAT’S PHILOSOPHICAL TOO. SEE? YOU’RE HALFWAY TO AN ORACLE YOURSELF.”
“I’m a writer, dear. That’s different.”
“I’LL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT. WANT A TOKE?”
Norbert piped up from his vantage point. “WHY CAN’T YOU SMOKE THAT STUFF WHEN THE BIRDS COME? THAT WOULD SCARE THEM AWAY.”
Emphysema Joe shrugged. “OR MAKE THEM REALLY, REALLY HUNGRY. YOU WANT THAT?”
“Don’t fight, you two.” I patted some fine soil down. “At least, not where I can hear you.”
“HE’S RIGHT,” Norbert sniffed. “YOU’RE A PHILOSOPHER. A PRAGMATIST, TO BE PRECISE.”
“Must come with motherhood.” I rolled my eyes and began scraping a row for carrot seeds, too. Between the two of them, it’s a wonder I get any work done at all.
The favs are coming up nicely, and Miranda’s whispering to the crocuses seems to have paid off. I wish she’d talk to the dogwood and find out what’s ailing it, but she’s less interested in things that are taller than she is. Maybe I’ll ask her next time. Of course, I’ll probably walk out there and get waylaid by something else…
PS: *whispers* You can buy the Rose & Thunder ebook directly from the site now.