Discover more from Bad Environmentalist
only murders in the garden
a good ol' fashioned whodunit for people who eat kohlrabi
Editor's note: This post is entirely satire and not real. Please don’t call the cops on me you nerds!
After months of persistence, it finally happened. I became the proud owner of a community garden plot. All it took was seven emails to the city, a long Twitter campaign, and a few “coincidental” run-ins with the Community Garden Commissioner. You’re jealous, I know.
In cities across the country, community gardens are at capacity, with a waitlist as long as several years. Getting my own plot in this garden was more difficult than getting into college, and honestly way more fulfilling. About half of the U.S. population has a four year degree, but far fewer have access to a community garden. Basically, I was now part of the 1%.
With my seedlings in the ground, I daydreamed about being able to say, “Oh this Ruby Gem lettuce? I GREW IT WITH MY BARE HANDS.” If you thought I was insufferable before, just wait until I force fed you the fruits of my labor.
But, tragedy struck. Romaine Jackson, the community garden coordinator, turned up dead. The authorities found poor Romaine slummed over a bucket of water, with his head fully submerged. It appears someone drowned him, giving new meaning to the words “water is life.”
Life inside the garden was not as idyllic as it appeared. Romaine was an army veteran who ran the garden with a ruthlessness that sowed more grudges than daisies. He went to war with weeds, pests, and anyone who deigned to use MiracleGroⓇ fertilizer. Over the years, many gardeners turned against him.
I binge enough crime podcasts to know that everyday people are better at solving mysteries than the police. I’m conducting my own investigation. I gathered some intel already, so now comes the fun part: internet crowdsourcing.
Readers, which one of these suspects is the murderer?
Honey, age 68: The first thing to know about Dianne Honeycrisp, “Honey” for short, was that she’ll take your man … and your woman. Freshly retired, and from old New England money, she never worked a day in her life. Honey married rich several times, and her last wife was a prolific gardener, who made Honey the ferocious queen of perennials she is now.
Honey had the long, lean legs of a dancer, always donning a red lip with several necklaces dangling over an ample bosom. “These are all natural,” she said on my first time meeting her. “I’m talking about my breasts, not the squash,” she clarified. I averted my eyes.
eavesdropping investigating, I learned that Romaine and Honey were dating. I caught them sneaking a few handsy kisses behind the toolshed. They seemed like the perfect match: Romaine, the stern leader, and Honey, the sweet temptress who would absolutely cut a bitch for overwatering her Azaleas.
One day, something changed. I found Honey ripping all her plants from her garden bed, stewing in anger. When I asked what was wrong, she said only: “all is fair in love and war, baby.”
Did Honey kill Romaine because he broke her heart?
Dill, age 25: Dill Delano was the youngest member of the garden, and a mysterious figure—or at least he wanted us to think so. Having lost all his savings in crypto, he dabbled in “freelance merchandising,” and “unconventional revenue streams,” as he often put it.
The first time we met, I saw the smolder of a cigarette before the rest of his wiry frame. Always sweating profusely in a full suit — that night a lavender one — he said the strangest things. “The FBI doesn’t want you to know this, but…pine nuts come from pinecones,” he said, walking off before I could respond.
Occasionally, he solicited garden members for investments in his business ventures, the latest one being “chemically-enhanced containers that were impossible to destroy.”
“So, plastic tupperware?” I asked him. Y’all, he was running game!
Two weeks before Romaine was murdered, a slew of vegetables went missing from several garden plots. You didn’t hear this from me, but that same week, I saw Dill slinging veggies from his trench coat at the farmer’s market.
As shoppers approached, he popped open his coat to reveal pockets filled with eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and even a few Rolex watches. Days later, Romaine banished Dill from the garden, thwarting his veggie resale operation.
Did Dill go from scammer to killer, and murder Romaine out of revenge?
Bruce and Daisy, 51 and 53 respectively: Bruce and Daisy Cottonwood managed the garden's finances, and were Romaine’s second-in-command. Under the Cottonwoods’ tenure, the pool of donations and membership dues grew immensely, and paid for new garden improvements. A month before Romaine’s murder, the Cottonwoods announced that the garden had a healthy surplus: upwards of $10,000, bolstered by city funding.
Bruce and Daisy were incredibly devoted to the garden, but even more committed to their dog, Banjo, who they referred to as their “first born.” They also had two human children who competed in the Olympics, but Banjo was their real pride and joy.
With wide-set beady eyes and a goatee of white chin hair, he was the only dog I knew to pull off buck teeth. Banjo had a feral face only a parent could love, and love him they did.
“The vet says Banjo is in the upper tenth percentile of dogs who play piano,” Daisy blurted out at a garden meeting last spring.
Despite their accounting prowess, their personal finances were a mess. According to my sources, a pair of gossipy grape-enthusiasts, they frequently pestered garden members about a new GoFundMe effort. Not for the garden, but for their baby, Banjo. One month, it was braces to fix his teeth (the braces didn’t take), and more recently it was tuition money for an elite dog training school.
The last email Romaine sent to us reported some “discrepancies” in the garden’s bookkeeping. After the murder, we learned that the garden’s money had vanished.
Did the Cottonwoods embezzle the garden’s funds to send Banjo to canine college, and kill Romaine to cover it up?
Readers, comment your thoughts below. And, if you see me lurking around the garden wearing a fedora and smoking a tobacco pipe, no you didn’t.
Things I Like
While refreshing my wardrobe, I came across this funky UK clothing brand. Those Brits know their way around a jumpsuit!