This piece was written for OLWG#151
In the high deserts of New Mexico sits a small town in Lincoln County. You’ve heard of Lincoln County, haven’t you? Billy used to hang out there. Leastwise, his friends used to call him Billy. Other folks would call him Mr “the Kid.”
Now, this town is called Carrizozo, and it’s named after the Carrizo grass that used to grow on the high desert plains there. It can get windy there and if you are visiting during the summer you are advised to roll up the windows and lock your automobile when you park on the street. Now this is not because of the wind kicking the dust up, although it does. This is because of something completely different.
You see, it takes about 4 plants to feed zucchini (aka Courgette) to a family of four for the duration of the season. In this small town people living alone usually plant about 12. The result is a tremendous surplus of squash. If your car is left unlocked on the street; people will fill it with bags and bags of zucchini. When this happened to me, the first time, I went to the Sheriff’s office to report it.
The Sheriff’s office in town there is a pretty intimidating place. There’s a big, grand, round entry foyer. Lots of high windows, brick and linoleum; it’s designed to make you feel insignificant. At the end furthest away from the street side is a high wooden desk polished till you can see your reflection in the wood. I know now that the stern looking woman behind the desk is Luella. Luella is a really sweet lady. She’s related to half the town, has about a hundred grandchildren, and is a volunteer firefighter; but I didn’t know any of that at the time. She has steel grey hair and looks like she don’t take shit off of anybody. She’s all sitting there under this bigger than life portrait of Pat Garrett, who’s staring down at me. Sheriff Garrett is the most famous Sheriff of Lincoln County ever. I mean, he’s the dude who shot Billy.
Remember Billy? I talked about him earlier.
Anyway the whole scene made me feel small and I was about to turn around and leave when Luella smiled at me.
“How can I help you?” she almost sings with a soft Spanish accent. She drew me in.
I told her the whole story. I told her that I had parked my car on Fourteenth Street and run into the coffee shop. I told her that I hadn’t been gone for more than three or four minutes and I watched my car the whole time, except for a brief moment when I was actually ordering my triple doppio with added frothed frozen chai in a plastic cup and extra whip cream.
Luella listened to me whine, nodded her head and smiled even bigger.
“How about that?” she said and nodded her head.
“Can’t you do something about it?” I asked, “Isn’t that against the law to fill someone’s car with unwanted vegetables?”
“Naw, honey, it’s really not. I recommend you take your 15 bags of squash. Go home and make zucchini bread with it. Give it to your neighbors. They’ll appreciate it and they’ll appreciate you too. That new family that moved in two doors down… hell, they might invite you over for a barbecue, where you’ll meet the girl of your dreams, marry her, and live happily ever after.”
“OK,” I responded.
The prompts were:
- how about that?
- when the dust clears
- four on the floor