A Story by R J Fuller

The need for a fair chance at competition can truly take some very bizarre turns.

"Hey, Marjorie!"

"Oh, hi, Helen!" 

"What are you doing?"

"Sprucing up my flower garden."

"Neighborhood flower-judging next week, right?"

"Uh huh."

"Roses look nice."

"Thank you, Helen. Are yours coming along well?"

Helen laughed. 

"As well as they are going to, I suppose. I worked on sprucing things up a bit more by adding the guinea squash and some marigolds," she replied. 

"I'm trying to do the same with these violets," Marjorie said from where she knelt on the ground. She sat quietly a moment, then spoke again. 

"Did you say guinea squash?" Marjorie asked. 

"Of course. Got some beautiful specimens hanging on the vine," Helen replied. "Don't tell me you don't have any guinea squash, Marjorie."

"I've never heard of it."

Helen looked disappointed. 

"Oh, Marjorie," she said, "you've got to have guinea squash in your garden if you want it to have a chance next week during the competition." 

Marjorie stood ot her feet. 

"Well, where did it come from?" she asked Helen. 

"Well, you can get the seeds from the local gardening supplies. Everyone is including them in their gardens nowadays."

Marjorie brushed the dirt off her knees, then straightened back up. 

"Can I see these guinea squash? What do they look like?"

Helen moved toward her own yard. 

"Sure, come on. I'll show them to you." 

Marjorie followed behind Helen as they walked across the property to take residence in the other one. 

"I can't believe you don't have guinea squash," Helen carried on. 

The women stood on the edge of the flower bed and Helen extended her arm over the assortment of colorful petals from all sorts of flowers intricately arranged in neatly placed rows and patches. Helen walked around the flowers to get closer to where Marjorie was referring. 

"They really do just set off the blooms in contrast, don't they?" Helen chirped. 

Marjorie stood silently, looking at the guinea squash, then slowly turned to face Helen. 

"Helen," she said quietly, "they're egg plants."

"Uh huh," Helen responded. "Nice, aren't they?"

"You've got egg plants growing in your flower garden," Marjorie stated, ending with a bit of a flabbergasted chuckle. 

"They're very trendy," Helen said, detecting the need to be defensive. "Everyone is doing them. Too bad you don't have any."

Marjorie smiled as she spoke. 

"I wouldn't want egg plants in my flower garden, Helen. They're really not beautiful."

"Now, Marjorie, how can you say that? They're all dark and opaque and according to Today's Garden-dot-com, they compliment any flowers they are near. Look at what they do for my daisies."

"Helen, they're still daisies without the egg plants."

Helen seemed a bit miffed. 

"Well, Marjorie, it doesn't matter now anyway. You won't have any time to get guinea squash in your garden by next week, so you'll just be graded on what you have."

"That's the way I'd want it, Helen, and without any egg squash."

"Guinea squash."

"Whatever," Marjorie concluded, stepping away a bit, then starting up again. "They look like they need to be eaten," she said with a bit of a chuckle. 

"Nobody better not eat my guinea squash," Helen said, coldly. 

"I don't want to eat your guinea squash," Marjorie responded. 

"I didn't say you did," Helen snapped. 

Marjorie was all but snorting. 

"Well, she said, "good luck next week, Helen."

"You, too," Helen replied as Marjorie turned and made her way back to her own yard. 

"The nerve of her," Marjorie said later on to her husband. "The very idea that I'm supposed to have egg plants in my garden simply because they seem to be all the rage."

"Why would anyone want an egg plant in their flower garden?"

"I don't know, Fred," Marjorie stated, then added, "but I'm going to find out."

Marjorie checked online bringing up an assortment of flower gardening sites. She quietly looked a bit, then seemed to grow more sullen. 

"Well, I can't believe this," she flustered. 

"What? What's wrong? What does it say?"

"Flowers Today can't say enough about egg plants in a flower bed, and Flora Growth says egg plants really elevate the appearance of a flower garden," she said, turning to Fred. "This is ridiculous!" 

"It seems everyone is doing it, tho," he replied. "I wonder why?" 

"Someone suddenly decided they had to have egg plants in their flower garden, when the flowers were fine the way they were before. Wanting to look like they are advancing." 

"Well, even if you wanted egg plants in your garden, it's too late to grow any."

"That's what Helen said," Marjorie answered, then stood quietly for a spell, finally saying, "I have an idea! I'll find a couple of grown egg plants with blooms and produce already on them and transfer them to my garden."

"Is that possible?"

"Sure," she said, checking the websites again. "It's no problem finding egg plants already growing in flower pots. I'll figure out the best way to do it later, but now I've got to find the plants. Guinea squash!" 

The flower judging was now even nearer. Marjorie suspected Helen was probably watching her from a window, but she wasn't about to care. All she knew was she felt she had outsmarted Helen and this whole guinea squash craze, whatever it was. She had two large clay pots, each filled with soil and growing the plant-in-question from within. She moved one heavy container toward her garden, deciding she would figure out later what way was best for the two potted plants, then began moving the other one toward the location as well. 

Helen walked up. 

"Marjorie," she started, then seemed rather unsure of her words, and then added, "that won't count." 

"How do you know, Helen?"

Helen lightly chuckled. 

"Marjorie, you're not including the guinea squash within your garden. You're keeping them excluded. The judges won't like that." 

"I guess we'll have to find out during the judging, won't we?" Marjorie said, straining to move another one of the big plants. 

Helen turned to leave, took a few steps, then turned back around. 

"Marjorie, why are you being like this?"

"What, Helen?" 

"Getting ticked off because you're not changing with the times like everybody else and attempting this futile endeavor to make it look like you are," Helen replied, waving the arm again as before. 

"I'm including the egg plants in my garden," Marjorie said, stepping back to look at the two planters. 

"No, you are not," Helen shrieked. "You're just trying to make it look like you are including them, but you're not. You can move them back out anytime you choose." 

"It's my garden, Helen." 

Helen turned to walk away. Without looking back, she yelled out, "not going to work, Marjorie."

"Not for you to decide!"

She watched Helen, stopping to admire her own flower garden, lingering for the longest time where the guinea squash were planted, as if to imply she had met the challenge whole-heartedly. Helen's antics made Marjorie feel as if she was trying to make herself seem as welcoming to change as everyone else must be, and if favor of the guinea squash should eventually fall out, Marjorie will have an easy departure by simply removing the planters again. Guinea squash? They're egg plants! Egg plants! 

Marjorie stood and stared and looked back to the exhausting, heavy pots she now must situate in some inane manner around her own beautiful blooms. They were ugly, and she didn't want them here. The egg plants were unwanted as well. She turned and looked to Helen's property once more.     

And now the flower judging was nearer still.

"Fred! Fred!" 

"Oh, hi, Bill. What's wrong?"

"I need you to come here, Fred."

Fred started toward where Bill stood with his wife. She seemed upset. 

"What is it, Bill? What's wrong, Helen?"

"Look at my garden!" Helen cried. 

Fred looked at the flowers and wasn't at all impressed, then he saw a vine seeming to stray off from the bed. 

"What happened?"

"Someone has damaged my guinea squash! They've all been picked!" 

"Well," Fred asked, "who would do that?"

Helen cried louder. 

"Now, Fred, it seems obvious what has happened," Bill stated calmly, "but do you think it is fair?"

"What?" Fred asked. 

"Fred, we know who is responsible for this."

"Bill, I'm late for work. Either tell me what you are talking about or I'm just going to go." 

"Marjorie did this!" Helen cried. "She was jealous of my guinea squash!"

"Oh, come on, Helen," Fred said. "Marjorie wouldn't do anything like that."

"Fred, don't talk to Marjorie like that, especially with the state she's in>"

"I'll talk to her however I please, and especially in regard to her being accused of this childish sabotage!"

"Fred, . . . "

"I'm going to work, Bill!" Fred yelled, then turned to head to his car. He opened the door and entered the vehicle, closing the door behind him. 

"The nerve," he said to himself. Then he checked to make sure nothing was behind him. 

"Hey!" he yelled. 

Bill had made his way over to Marjorie's garden. He seemed to examine the arrangement, deciding where to begin. 

"Bill!" Fred yelled out the window, still sitting in the car, "don't!" 

"It's only fair, Fred," Bill called back. "You're wife ruined Helen's chances of winning, . . . "

"Bill, Marjorie didn't touch her garden!" 

Bill seized a handful of blooms and gave them a hearty yank. 

"Stop!" Marjorie called from the door, having just stepped outside to see what was all the commotion. 

"Bill!" Fred yelled one last time, in absolute anger to this challenge at his wife's clever way of having handled things being perpetrated. Instinctively, he threw the car into gear. 

The events played out in absolute simplicity; as common and as basic as imaginable. Marjorie screamed from the porch as the car barreled into her flower garden, running over the roses, the zinnias, violets with the greatest of ease. The only hesitation the automobile encountered was the two large planters with the guinea squash growing within. The first planter caused the car to rear up, with the sound of the planter crumbling underneath. The accelerating machine continued on its way into the second planter, striking this one headon and shattering it to pieces, with dirt and egg plant tossed everywhere. 

Fred Succeeded. Bill was no longer uprooting Marjorie's flowers. Helen gave way with an absolute cry of terror, the likes of which certainly out-rivaled her cry for her guinea squash. Shaking, she began to make her way to where once had existed Marjorie's flower garden. 

Fred stopped the car essentially on the opposite side of the road. A few other neighbors had heard the commotion and came out of their homes to see what was occurring. 

Marjorie staggered toward the destruction in front of her as well. Fred exited the car and leaned against the side, gasping for air. 


Helen knelt beside Bill as he twitched and made gutteral noises. He managed a loud groan, then seemed to gasp. Helen screamed. 

Fred was all but near to tears with Helen's scream, but as soon as she managed the accusations of guilt, Fred very easily became defensive. Over guinea squash. 

"You killed him!" Helen screamed. "Bill!"

"He should have stayed on his property," Fred yelled back as tho he were justifying his actions. 

Marjorie looked at her flower bed that was no more, completely flattened by the automobile tossed to and fro by the planters, which were now as broken as were the green stems she had nurtured with care. All destroyed in mere seconds over disapproval of how she participated in the guinea squash inclusion. 

The flashing blue lights turned onto the road. Fred was yelling at everyone, mainly at Helen. Marjorie could only stand and watch. Fred made his way by her and raced into the house. 

The police vehicles stopped and the officers who emerged from within began asking for details. Helen screamed that the man responsible for killing Bill was in the house, and pointed at Marjorie as if she had been responsible. A couple of officers made their way to the house and knocked on the door. 

"Ma'm," a police-woman spoke to Marjorie as she slowly turned around to the sound of the knocks on the front door. She opened her mouth to say something, but she never got to say anything. Two shots made their way through the door, fired from within. One of the policemen fell back upon being injured. The police-woman with Marjorie immediately grabbed her and flung her to the ground. Marjorie couldn't offer any resistance. She didn't know who she was anymore. 

"Fred!" she wailed as the officer put handcuffs on her. 

"Get down," other law enforcement yelled to the residents gathered around. 

Then Marjorie heard the exchange of gunfire.  

Marjorie closed her eyes, feeling only the grass upon her face. The need to be regarded as abiding to the sudden alterations to what was expected had proven to be more fatal than simply taking the failure to oblige for all it was worth, however little. She frowned up at the slightest detection that Fred might be dead from the shoot-out, perhaps wounded, but obviously going to jail. She had heard the ambulance also approach, but she didn't know if that meant Bill was still alive or not. She heard Helen, her dear friend Helen, screaming about her. 

The same officer as before hauled Majorie up to her feet. She opened her eyes to see the small motorcade belonging to the garden party judges, having stopped at the far end of the road, they stood around after having gotten out to see what was going on.  

© 2021 R J Fuller

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Added on June 17, 2021
Last Updated on June 17, 2021
Tags: flowers, guinea squash, feud, crime