Loco Viewpoint

The Zucchini Gang


I’m in trouble. Not with Cupcake, for once, but almost as bad. Apparently, the latest woman to find reason to loathe me (Sorry, ladies, you’ll have to take a number…) is my tiny but fiery neighbor, Cecelia, or Cec, for short (although we don’t say “short” around her due to sensitivities). The kerfuffle is because of Cec’s mischievous mate, Cam. I swear I’m innocent but in fairness, I’ll explain what happened so you, gentle reader can decide.
Cec and Cam are sun-worshippers. They love sitting by their patio table in the driveway, soaking in the rays. Libations occasionally come into play to replace precious bodily fluids lost to the blazing sun. It’s ideal for a break after an intense hour of weed whacking or whatever.
Therefore, accustomed as I am to my visitation rights, following a particularly heated encounter with our lawn mower, (I burned myself twice on the exhaust dealie) I was ready for a beer break.
Cam wasn’t alone when I sauntered over. Although Cec had apparently gone inside temporarily, our buddy, Grant was ensconced on a lawn chair beside Cam. They both had grins on like they were Sylvester and they just ate Tweety.
“Okay,” I plopped onto my chair I keep there for such instances. “What are you  up to or do I really want to know?”
“You’ll want to know,” Cam snickered conspiratorially. “Grant’s getting Cec good. This will be hysterical.”
“Cec is the target?” I gasped. “Include me out, buddy.”
“Oh, don’t be a donkey,” Grant piped up. “What are you… a chicken? You’re not scared of Cec, are you?”
I was stuck. The fact is I am terribly frightened of Cec. She’s friends with Cupcake. Women stick together.  As a gender, females are so vengeful, they make Moby Dick’s Captain Ahab seem like a piker.
However, not being a “wing-man” for your buddies is a major guy sin. Punishment is being considered “womanly”.  You’re almost better off being thought a creeper than that, according to the Guy Manual. Going along with your buddies is right up there in the Guy Code of Suggested Voluntary Ethical Guidelines. It follows “True guys don’t date their buddies’ sisters unless they’re homely and it’s a favor.” And “With a group of guys, if anybody brings up ‘feelings’, everybody gets to punch his arm.”
I made a decision I regretted even as the words left my mouth.
“Okay,” I sighed. “What’s the prank?”
“This guy at work gave me this zucchini,” he began; his voice a hoarse whisper as his eyes darted to their door, alert for Cec’s return. “So I gave it to Grant and asked what we should do with it.”
“I take it you weren’t talking zucchini cake,” I sighed.
“So Grant takes it to the part of the garden she hasn’t weeded yet, where it’s still a little wild,” Cam continued. “He stuck it between some carrots or beets or whatever, in amongst some weeds. Now we’re just waiting for her to discover it. Shh! Here she comes!”
After pleasantries were exchanged, Cec went to work in the garden; weeding away industriously. As she got closer and closer to the zucchini, my heart was getting closer and closer to my toes.
“Cam!” Cec hollered excitedly. “You’ve got to see this! I didn’t plant zucchini. The seed must have blown here.”
We went over and made noises of wonderment. This was because we were terrified of bursting out in laughter if we actually tried to speak.
“Aren’t you going to pick it?” Cam asked before succumbing to a “coughing fit”.
“Oh no!” returned Cec. “I’ll pick it Monday after our big Fairly Annual Ladder- Golf Tournament Weekend in the backyard with all our friends. I want to show it off!”
Suddenly, Grant and I were seized by the same cough fit that was afflicting Cam.
“Are you guys okay?” Cec asked concernedly. “It must be all the pollen in the garden.”
We used that as an excuse to flee Zucchini Central so we could convulse with mirth without raising suspicions.  I knew if we three members of The Zucchini Gang kept this secret until after Tournament weekend, we were dead meat when she found out.
On Tourney Day, Cec would delight in taking new arrivals over to her garden to show off her prize zucchini. It didn’t appear to bother her, nor any of the impressed observers that the zucchini had no zucchini vines, tendrils or leaves associated with it. When Cec was distracted, Cam would let the freshly impressed in on the secret. It was the joke of the day. I admit I joined in with the hilarity as much as the next person but I knew the poop would soon hit the propeller. Cam decided it was time to let Cec in on it.
Cam got everyone’s attention, then asked Cec if she noticed anything odd about her wonderful, magical zucchini.
Her face was the instant picture of suspicion; her brows furrowed deeper than the ones she’d planted radishes in.
“We just stuck it in there,” he chuckled. “I got it from work.”
There was a prolonged silence as Cec took in the fact she’d been thoroughly taken in. Over a dozen people waited in silence for her response. 
Then she laughed. The relief was palpable.  At least until she sidled over, smiled at me sweetly, looked at me right in the chin and said, “You… will… regret… this…” Laughing evilly, she walked away, searching for the other gang members.
As  you can see, gentle reader, I’m an innocent man; a mere dupe. At worst, I’m an accessory after the fact. Cec seems uninterested in facts currently, however.

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