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  • (Lily)

    I looked forward to greeting the lilies each day. “My my, aren’t you looking dainty today? You’re absolutely dazzling! Those tiny pollen filled stamens are so intricate. Your cousin is so white, her skin so soft, with the right number of dimples.” They and other beauties of their ilk make wonderful imaginary friends.
    Unlike women, you can compliment them on their stunning beauty without getting an ugly stare of, “You dirty old man, trying to pick me up with such lines!”
    One sad morning about a quarter of them had their heads cut off. At first I imagined some unscrupulous midnight flower thief and a few cheap bouquets for a French wedding. Would have been a nice wedding – especially the flower arrangements along the sides of the church beneath the stained glass.
    Then I saw the telltale remnants of behaviour – that unmistakeable two toed mark of those stealthy but cruel ones, the real criminals – deer.
    Don’t get me wrong – I like deer. But why can’t those %$#!?s stay in the %$#!? ravine where they %$#!? belong?
    So it’s off to consult with experts: hardware store guys, the internet, my cousin Bob the know-it-all who occasionally does, and the lily rancher I’d bought the bulbs from.
    “Fox urine,” said the hardware guy. Three days and they learned to jump it. Ain’t no foxes in these parts.
    “Scary dangly things on strings. Works like a scarecrow, especially at night,” advised the internet. Not even one evening. Some extra string tickling pretty deer noses.
    “A deer repelling water hose and siren attached to a motion detector,” said Cousin. Next morning some little kid set it off, and I got scolded in a foreign language by his Mother, and nearly fed a fist by his overly muscular father.
    So I phoned the lily guy. Something in his tone indicated he’s been asked before.
    “Build a fence. A big one.”