What the hell is that doing there? I wonder, as I look out onto the front lawn and see a shiny red and white gnome nestling in the flower bed under the rose bush. I have my hands in the washing-up bowl and am looking out of the kitchen window.
‘Darling, you didn’t – um – put something out in the front garden, did you?’
‘Not that I’m aware of,’ Dan replies, with amusement in his soft, Irish voice. ‘Such as what?’
‘Come and have a look,’ I say.
Dan trundles to the window and pops his head out. When he sees the diminutive little chap, looking perky and innocent, he bursts out laughing.
‘Where did it come from?’ He asks.
‘I have no idea. That’s what I was asking you. How strange! Are you sure it wasn’t you, playing a joke? ’
I was, of course, quick to accuse but my husband has form on this score: he has been known to play practical jokes at the most inappropriate times. Unfortunately, he is often the only one who thinks they’re funny. I dry my hands and we both go outside, and head to where the gnome is – and crouch down. Dan picks it up.
He places it back where it came from. Ever the practical one, I can’t resist whipping out my phone and taking a photograph. Click! There we go: recorded for posterity.
The following day, on my return from work, I notice that the gnome has disappeared. Perhaps I am mistaken and it wasn’t the rose bush that it was under? I cast my eye around the front garden. Alas, no gnome to be seen anywhere. When I get inside I check my photos and see that I was correct: it had been under the rose bush. Okay, I think, so someone’s having a laugh. When Dan arrives home he notices it too.
‘I see it’s gone, then! Perhaps its owner came and collected it? Or perhaps it walked off?’
I grin at him, still not convinced that he is completely innocent. The following day Dan and I leave the house together. It’s he who notices this time.
‘Ali, look! There are two of them now!’
Lo and behold, under the self-same rose bush, the first gnome had reappeared along with a second one, a female gnome.
‘Oh yeah,’ I say.
He looks at me quizzically. That’s okay, I think, you can carry on looking.
Over the next few days the strange game continues: gnomes of various shapes, colours and sizes appear and disappear and then reappear again. Each time I photograph them. By now, it’s amusing me. But what’s making me chortle more is my husband’s reaction.
‘Have you figured out who’s playing with the gnomes yet?’ He asks.
‘Aren’t you bothered anymore?’
‘Not really, no. I think they’re quite cute.’
And I give him the sweetest smile. My bluff has worked: given that he knows I think it’s him, he can hardly suspect me. Revenge is sweet!
© Vicky Newham 2012. All rights reserved.
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