At long last, it had come down to the two of them.
Ozzie squinted in the harsh afternoon sun. He tilted his hat to shade his eyes. Distracting glare would not be good at a time like this.
“So, it’s just you and me now,” said Ozzie to the figure about five paces ahead.
“Yup,” said the figure. “This garden ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
Ozzie nodded, mostly to himself.
He remembered the day when it happened. It began when one of the squash plants had crossed the path and silently smothered the neighboring radishes. It wasn’t his squash or his radishes, both belonged to rival gardeners, although he was silently glad. He never did like radishes.
That’s when the war started. First it was stampeding cantaloupe, then a ‘Big Girl’ tomato broke free of its cage and smashed a bed of infant carrots. Peas and bean vines were set loose upon neighbor’s spinach and chives.
Ozzie tried to stay out of the cross fire, but that all ended the day a troop of nasturtiums ambushed his strawberry patch.
He had wept upon the discovery of the bruised, battered, and crushed berries one foggy morning; red juice staining the dark soil. He remembered looking across the dusty path to the hostile garden and seeing old Mr. McCrawbriddle standing there, with a sly triumphant smirk teasing the corners of his face.
If that was how it was going to be, Ozzie vowed that the other community gardeners would rue the day they pulled him into the war.
Corn toppled, cabbage heads split, numerous varieties of flowers met their untimely ends; the battle for the garden was in full boom. Eventually all the gardens had been destroyed. All except Ozzie’s and Mr. McCrawbriddle’s.
They stood facing each other. Ozzie plucked a large blossom from his last remaining plant, a purple coneflower. He thoughtfully brushed the sharp spines of the flower. Mr. McCrawbriddle plucked a hefty foot long zucchini off of his last vine and menacingly thumped it against his hand.
“Prepare to feel the echinacea’s wrath!!” screamed Ozzie, raising the flower to the sky.
“ZUCCHINI HO!!!” yelled Mr. McCrawbriddle as he brandished the squash and charged.
No one really remembers what happened in those final moments. It’s still not completely clear how the coneflower beat the zucchini. The garden scripture lacks any definitive details. Some say it was a miracle, others insist that the coneflower really is mightier than the zucchini. Others still, say that the zucchini was just too slow to match the speed, agility, grace, and sheer viciousness of the echinacea. Whichever was the case, Ozzie found himself victorious.
To this day, a mound of purple cone flowers grow in the place of honor at the center of the garden. In fact, rumor has it, that plant is the very same noble herb that won the garden and brought a one hundred and fifty year (and counting) rein of peace to the gardeners.
On a side note, if it was coneflower versus artichoke, the artichoke would win, even if the coneflower was being wielded by a garden ninja. Just sayin’.
Aperture Value: f/4.8
Focal Length: 185mm
Exposure Program: Aperture Priority
Shutter Speed Value: 1/200 sec
Location: Vancouver, WA