“A Garden for Higher Authorities” by Elinor, Paris

BLOG,Crime and Punishment July 14, 2011 00:39

topic: CRIME & PUNISHMENT medium: TEXT


A large palm tree stood near the entrance of the garden. Beneath the tree was a vast carpet of flowering plants, but there were gardeners of an Indian or Pakistani origin busily transplanting the small white flowering shrubs for a similar red flowering species.

Alice thought this a very curious thing. White flowering lantana camara blanca, a South American native flowering plant had been prescribed on the drawing specifications and she
could see no good reason why this last minute transplantation was taking place. The White Rabbit had spent a good deal of time sourcing this specific white flowering species, besides
which, the red flowering cultivar was a rather vulgar alternative, and clashed completely with the surrounding planting colour scheme.

The garden was complete, with the higher authorities expected at any moment to arrive and make their inspection. Two red carpets had been rolled out to welcome his highness into the
gardens, and through to the prototype which had been installed of the future air-conditioned bus shelter.

The task before the three gardeners seemed rather suicidal. Alice went nearer to watch the gardeners, and just as she came up to them she heard one of them say :

“Look out now, Abdul, don’t go dirtying the clean paving with the soil like that!”

“I couldn’t help it!” said Abdul in a sulky tone, “Amir jogged my elbow.”

At which point Amir looked up and said ; “That’s right Abdul, always lay the blame on

“You’d better not talk,” said Abdul, “Only yesterday I overheard his highness say you desserve to be beheaded.”

“What for?” said the one who had spoken first.

“That’s not of your business,” said Amir, “and I’ll tell him it was for giving the Philippino cook tulip roots instead of onions.”

Amir flung down his trowel and had just begun : “Well of all the unjust things!” when his eye chanced to fall upon Alice as she stood watching them, and he checked himself suddenly.

The others looked around also.

“Would you tell me, said Alice, why you are transplanting those flowering plants?”

Amir and Abdul said nothing, and looked at Azis.

Azis began in a low voice: “Why the fact is, you see, Miss, we have news that his highness has a distaste for white flowering plants and prefers the red flowering species, and if his highness were to find out,
well, well, we could all have our heads cut off, you know, so, you see Miss, we’re doing our best afore he comes!”

At this moment the White Rabbit came running accross the garden :

“Oh dear, oh dear, we shall all be too late!” the White Rabbit looked at his watch, took it out of his waistcoat pocket and hurried on.

“Oh his highness, his highness, oh my dear paws, oh my dear fur and whiskers, they’ll get me executed as sure as ferrets are ferrets ! What are we to do, I wonder ?!”

Very soon, the rabbit noticed Alice and called out to her in an angry tone :

“Why Mary-Anne, what are you doing here ? Hide behind the garden wall this instant! The higher authorities will be here at once ! Do you want you head cut off?”

Just as Alice ran and hid behind the garden wall, a convoy of stretch 4×4 vehicles with blacked-out windows pulled up. Alice shuddered as she considered that her feet were firmly planted on the ground of a country where the death penalty was still in force and reminded herself that this was not a curious dream. She would not be waking up on a lovely summer’s day next to Dinah.

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