Jacqui Bennett Writers Bureau



Snake In The Grass


Rob Wyatt

Email: grumpit@carolina.rr.com

How could I have been so stupid?  I mean, really – what was I thinking?  If I only knew then what I know now – I don’t suppose I’ll be the last person to say that – still, that’s really the point, isn’t it?

It wasn’t that we were terribly unhappy before, exactly – it was certainly simpler in those days - it was just so boring.  He spent all his time working out in the garden, not that he seemed to have any idea about time - if it hadn’t got dark at night, I’d have probably never seen him at all, and if there was a full moon, I usually didn’t.  Oh yeah, sure, he told me I was the only one for him, but he certainly had a funny way of showing it. 

God only knows what he used to get up to out there.  I asked him once what he did all day. 

“Kumquats don’t grow by themselves, you know,” he said, all hurt.  I ask you! 

“I rather thought they did,” I said, “and what sort of name is ‘kumquat’ anyway?”  He gave me a superior look and told me I didn’t know anything.  “I wouldn’t mind," I said, "but they taste like…”

“Kumquats?” he said snottily.  Huh, men!

And when he did take an occasional day off, he’d slouch around and wouldn’t lift a finger. 

“What’s up?” I’d ask him.

“Don’t know.”

“Do you want to talk?”

He’d just shrug.“What do you want to talk about?”

“Don’t know.”

We didn't have much to say to each other, and we never went out.  Of course, I didn’t really have anything to wear in those days, not that it mattered, but it would have been nice to get a change of scene now and again.  It didn’t seem to bother him though.  “I could stay here forever,” he used to say, gazing up at his wretched kumquat trees.

That was pretty much it: eat, sleep, work and, oh yes, sex – not that you could really call it sex exactly.  It was pathetic – he didn’t have a clue, and I wasn’t much better – neither of us having had what you could call a liberal upbringing.  We did eventually manage to work out where everything was supposed to go, but the earth didn’t exactly move, if you know what I mean.   He’d always ask me afterwards, “Was it good for you?”  Honestly, what was I supposed to say?  Anyway, I didn’t really have anything to compare it to.

Something had to change.  I was beginning to get bored with salads, not that I was any kind of cook, you understand, but there had to be more to life than this.  I wanted answers, even if I didn’t actually know what the questions were.  He was no help.  Whenever I told him how I felt, he’d give me his knowing smile, and say something like, “All in good time, dear.”  Well I’m sorry, but that wasn’t good enough – I knew there had to be an easier (and quicker) way.  If I’d waited for old Mr. Kumquat to make a move, I’d have been too old to care by the time I found out anything.

“I think I’ll go for a walk today - check a few things out,” I said one morning, all casual, you know?

“That’s nice, dear,” he said without looking up, peeling a kumquat.

“Thought I might explore the area a bit - see what I can find out.”


“See you later, then.”

“All right, love.  Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”  Yeah, right!

What an eye-opener!  I was right, the answers were out there, just as I thought.  The things I discovered – absolutely amazing.  I rushed home to tell him.  Of course, I knew he wouldn’t believe me, old Mr Stick-In-The-Mud.

“I don’t believe you,” he said. 

“There’s a surprise!”

“What’s got into you?”

“Come with me and I’ll show you.  It’s not going to kill you.”

“Oh I…I don’t know.  I don’t think we should.”

Of course, he was right, but what the hell!  We all make mistakes.

All in all, I suppose it didn’t turn out so bad.  Like I said, I was ready for a change, but he took it pretty hard. 

“But what about my trees?  I can’t leave them.  I can’t!”

“I’m sure there’ll be kumquats where we’re going, love,” I said, trying to sound reassuring, but hoping to hell there wouldn’t be.

If anything, he works even harder than he did before, poor love.  I do feel a bit guilty, but what are you going to do?  Try as he might, he hasn’t managed to get his beloved kumquats to grow.  It’s something to do with the climate, the amount of rainfall, or the soil, or some such – anyway, it’s my fault, he says.  Still, he’s been very successful with just about everything else - figs, grapes, pears, plums - lovely!  Although he says he’ll be damned if he’s going to grow any apples.

The other day he came in with an armful of big, round, orange-coloured fruit.

“Ah, big kumquats!” I said, trying to sound enthusiastic. 

He grunted and dumped them on the floor.  “Not!  Nothing like them.”

I picked one up and peeled it.  “Oh, it’s wonderful!  So sweet and juicy!  What are they called?”

“Don’t know.  Don’t care,” he sulked.  “Call them what you want.”

“No, dear.  They’re lovely, really,” much better than those disgusting kumquats, that’s for sure.  “That’s always been your job.  Go on love, choose a name.”

“Oranges then,” he said, and stomped off.  Oh well, be like that.

I got some nice new clothes – even a fur coat.  I have to make most of them myself, but I can’t complain.  I think it’ll be a while before I’m able to go shopping.

Sex is certainly a lot better nowadays.  I can’t get enough, assuming the lord and master isn’t too tired - which he usually is.  Mind you, I’m in no hurry to have any more kids.  To be honest, I’m not sure I’ll ever be.  I knew having kids wasn’t going to be a picnic - after all, that’s why they’re called labour pains.  Hah!  But really, if I’d had any idea what was involved beforehand…nothing could have prepared me for that!  Having said that, I wouldn’t be without my boys.  They’re a real godsend.

They grow up so fast though – shouldn’t really call them boys anymore.  They work as hard as their dad.  It’s thanks to them we even have a few animals now – I really enjoy a nice bit of goat now and again.  That reminds me, I’d better get busy.  They’ll be in any minute wanting they’re dinner.  In fact, I think I can hear someone coming now.

“Adam, is that you?  Oh, it's you, dearie.  Where’s your brother?  Cain?  Is that blood on your shirt?”

The End

©2000 Rob Wyatt

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