So, the travel recaps may come trickling in every so often, but I want to do other things here as well. So instead of waiting to finish them off before moving on to something else, I’ll just do some parallel processing.
If you haven’t heard of Chuck Wendig, go educate yourselves a moment. Aside from providing a lot of sound writing advice, his actual fiction work is a hell of a lot of fun. I’ll be snagging Blackbirds when I get a chance, probably in the next month or so.
He also offers weekly flash fiction challenges. I’ve watched a number of them come and go and have never quite gotten around to doing one, until today. His challenge for this week is to visit this site and pick one of the five silly military operation names to use as the title for a 1000-word-or-less story. Mine, then, is:
Unproven Privet Bush
The war started over bad oranges, falling from a tree that reached just over the property line. The Framptons (sadly no musical relation) were fastidious about their yard, and about everything in and around their humble home.
The oranges were just foul.
Never mind that the Davies explained patiently that they were Seville oranges, that they were supposed to taste like battery acid, and that they were best suited to marmalade and you’re welcome for the free fruit.
The Framptons were having none of it.
The neighborhood association forbade fences. Too unsightly. Not in accordance with the enforced familial atmosphere demanded by this lovely housing development just twenty minutes from downtown. On a good day. On a very good day with most people out on vacation. No, a fence was simply not tolerable. And certainly not a fence that would reach high enough to stop wayward fruit from following Newton’s laws onto their hallowed lawn.
Ah, but there was a loophole. Gardening was encouraged, as it showed love and care by families for their homes. It was what all decent people did, wasn’t it?
Enter the privet bush. The Framptons were a family of action, but they were also a family of immeasurable patience. And a solid investment in powerful fertilizers. They planted the privet hedge late one spring, a little off season, but the idea had struck in the middle of the night after Mr. Frampton watched some lovely British period drama featuring Victorian gardens and other horticultural feats. And damned if he was going to wait a full year before putting his plan into effect.
The privet was touch and go that first year. The Davies originally encouraged the idea, saying it was a lovely way to bring songbirds and other animals into their yards, but the Framptons, a dour, sober, serious lot, said very little and watered very much.
Over the second year, the bush grew a foot in height. The Framptons were fiercely delighted. Mrs. Frampton even took a brief course on how to properly trim a privet bush, sculpting formidable 90 degree angles and sheer daunting faces. At least on their side of the bush. The third year was much the same, and the fourth required a stepladder to execute those precise corners.
Ah, but year five. The magic year, the year the privet bush started tickling the wayward boughs of the Davies’ Seville orange tree. It wasn’t clear, this early in the year, whether the privet bush would properly collide with the orange tree. And it wasn’t clear just how far along a branch those nasty oranges would flower. But this year would be the year that the unproven privet bush would finally come into its own. Bitter oranges and marmalade and neighborhood association rules be damned.