I expect to find a lot in my garden: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, zucchini…that kind of thing. What I didn’t expect to find in my garden this morning was Jack Nicholson.
I was getting ready for work and thought I’d pull some fresh vegetables for snacks. So, out I go wearing nothing but my cotton robe and bi-focals.
“Jack?” I ask, stunned. “What brings you here?”
“Well isn’t this just something,” he drawls. “A middle-aged hausfrau grilling me in my own goddamn garden.”
“This is my garden Jack,” I say. “And I”m not German.”
“German? Who said anything about being German?”
“A hausfrau is a German housewife,” I tell him. He grunts and continues to fill his basket with cruciferous produce. Apparently, he really loves cauliflower.
“I’m about to get ready for work Jack. You can’t stay here.”
“Do YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” he shouts.
“Jack, we went through this yesterday when I found you sneaking off with my shears.”
“So you DO know who I am?”
“Jack, give me the basket. Nobody can eat that much cauliflower,” I say gently because he frightens easily.
He hands me the basket like a petulant boy and I tell him to go wait in the car.
“Fine,” he says. “How long are you going to be? I don’t like to be kept waiting you know. Do you think you could be on time for once? I mean, what does someone like you have to do to get ready? Seriously. Do you think you’re going to pull off anything that looks remotely human? Can you just be on time? That’s what I want. For you to be on time. Are we gonna have a problem with that?”
I just let the old man ramble. He’s not hurting anybody. And, for the record, I was on time that day, but when I got in the car he had opened a ketchup packet and got it all over my seat.
“What the hell Jack?”
“Oops,” he says. Typical Jack. I run back into the house and grab a rag, scrub the seat, then get in.
“Where am I taking you today Jack?” I ask.
He doesn’t answer.
“Jack, we’ve been through this. I can’t take you to work with me!”
“Where’d you get this lemon anyway?” he asks while poking the dashboard.
“You’re not answering the question. Where am I bringing you today?”
He makes a big deal of “thinking about it”. He counts his fingers in the air, mutters a few things, rubs his temples, sighs, and finally says, “Walmart.”
“Okay,” I say. “I don’t have time to drive you out there. How about I drop you off here?”
He looks outside as if it’s the first time he’s seeing the world.
“Here? What is this place?”
“It’s called Frenchy’s. It’s a used clothing store.”
I thought his head would blow clear off his shoulders.
“Get out of the car Jack. I mean it.”
With a huff, he climbs out of the car. I look in my rearview mirror as I drive away, waiting for the inevitable.
Yup, there it is. Jack Nicholson gives me the finger.