Monday, November 2, 2015

The Plum Burglar

There were seventy-three plums missing from my plum tree. It’s a dignified tree with purple leaves that casually stakes its claim to the far corner of my backyard. I’ve pruned, fertilized, and watered this tree for over fifteen years and, for at least twelve of those years, the tree has been named Mrs. Spiegel. The lovely, grey-haired Mrs. Spiegel admired the tree from its inception and requests a small bag of plums every season, “Just enough to make a nice pie.”  I’m no plum hoarder and willingly give Mrs. Spiegel a generous share at harvest time. And when people come to my door asking for donations for various causes, they always leave with a handful of fresh plums. Nope, you couldn’t call me an uncharitable plum miser.

But when someone (Sandra Prickett) sneaks into my yard and picks a couple bucketfuls of plums....that’s overstepping the plum-hospitality boundary. So, I began leaving notes on a clipboard attached to the tree. Included was a pen affixed to the tree with a small they do in banks.
The notes commenced on a daily basis:

–Me: Dear Sandra Prickett, There are 73 plums missing from my tree.
–Sandra: Are you accusing me?
–Me: Your cigarette butts, lipstick-covered Camel Menthols, litter the crime scene. There’s now an ashtray next to the tree for your convenience.
–Sandra:  Who counts their plums, anyway?
–Me: Me.
–Sandra: I just needed some plums to make a pie.
–Me: 73 is enough to make ten pies.
–Sandra: Do you want them back? I’m not especially fond of  purple plums anyway. I prefer the red ones.
–Me: No, your cooties are all over them.
–Sandra: Are the plums organic?
–Me: They are radioactive.
–Sandra: Not funny, and what's with the mousetraps hanging from the branches?
–Me: They’re merely decorative reminders to the occasional kleptomaniac.
–Sandra: Pretty goddamn stingy, aren’t you! Some things are meant to be shared!
–Me: Good Point. My porch light burned out so I walked over to your house and took your bulb. I’m not especially fond of those swirly CFLs. I prefer the warm glow of tungsten.
–Sandra: Your nuts!
–Me: Now you’re getting it. But they’re plums, not nuts.   

The notes have ceased, but the ashtray in the plummery is bent over, cattywampus-like. Two additional plums have gone missing, but I’m giving Sandra the benefit of the doubt and chalking it up to a larcenous squirrel. Just the same, her continual lurking around Mrs. Spiegel gives me the heebie-jeebies.