Thursday, April 15, 2021

Communal Gardening by Stef Smulders

‘Gardeners Club every Wednesday, free to join!’ the note on the billboard read. Interesting, I thought. As I moved here only a few weeks ago, I wanted to become acquainted with the other inhabitants of the apartment complex. Time to take part.
As I entered the community garden, I saw what looked like a herd of pink elephants grazing. At my arrival, they all stood upright. They turned out to be my fellow residents, busy attacking the defenseless little plants. There were only women present, and they were all nude…

I wanted to flee, but one participant had already spotted me.

Shit, my next-door neighbour!

She came towards me with sturdy steps, her breasts flopped cheerfully as if they were happy to see me.

“Hi, nice to see a man joining us. It’s World Naked Gardening Day, so if you would like to undress, please go to the shed over there. See you in a minute.’

I left the shed a few minutes later, stark naked, hiding my private parts with the cutting scissors that I had brought with me.

“I notice that you brought your own ‘material’?” My neighbour glanced downward.

The quotation marks around the word material were clearly audible.

“But that isn’t necessary, love. We share our ’tools’. Everybody can ’grab’ what he wants. No private ’parts’ here, haha.” Quotation marks again.

I shuffled as discreetly as possible to the nearest flowerbed and spotted a wild plant that seemed in desperate need of pruning.

“No, no,” a fellow women gardener cried out. “That one has to stay, it's there to scare away the pests.”

“Which pests?” I asked, while persisting in my squatted position.

“The Limacus flavus,” she said, smiling.

“The what?” I asked.

She cast a glance at the cutting scissors and said: “The nude slug.”

© Stef Smulders

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