Alina’s father has let the garden go to hell, and it exasperates her mother, who loves to cook. The blueberries barely produced.  There are no tomatoes, no eggplants, no snap peas.  The weeds are 3 feet high in the vegetable beds.  She says, “Arman, if you’re not going to take care of it hire a gardener.”  But he won’t hire a gardener because a gardener is an outsider. He is fearful of outsiders, always has been.  It might be particular to him, or a cultural, age-old paranoia.   Why would he be afraid of a gardener?  I can’t think of any gardeners who have been mass murderers, except of snails.

I do occasionally fantasize the perfect larceny.  I have so many keys to front, side, and breezeway doors, know so many garage codes.  I’ve been trustworthy so damn long.  I take my shoes off not to track, and slip in, and grab…what do I filch? Here the fantasy flops.  None of my clients has anything I want.  I know that can’t be true.  Surely there’s something.  Something.

The plot faileth, as does Arman’s.  Ditto with my novel, which now has 48 chapters.  I tell my friends I’m going to write until something happens.


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