The McMurray Garden by Rob Queen

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SUMMARY: In a quiet neighborhood in rural England, a man is terrorized by the gnomes that have taken over his lawn.


Old Angus McMurray had a saying that went: "What goes around, comes around, but it's of little use watching all the happenings of the world ‘cause like as not, it'll sneak around an' nip ya in the kipper." Mostly he made this statement after getting a good thumping upside the head from his wife, and always with the most distressing news: "Yer late f'r work, ya half-hearted git!" or "Ya done threw up all over the floor!" or, even, "Git outta the hedges agin, ya daft idjit!" The missus never could quite grasp the medicinal value of late nights with his good old 12 year old Scottish companions. Single malt variety.
Madge's idea of a good time fell more into the garden variety, in that she thrived in her role as goddess to the diminutive species of porcelain gnomes who lived on her lawn and who scowled at Angus every time he returned home. After a long day of smelting plastics, the last thing he needed was a home-coming to munchkins threatening him with pickaxes and trowels. In the daytime, they were not so bad, in fact many a kind soul commented upon the adorable manner in which they seemed to pop right out of Disney World, but once nighttime fell... A Community Watch law erected a safety light at the end of their lawn, where their small hedgerow separated the gnomes' domain from the public sidewalk. It was under this single amber light – hardly more than a 60 watter – that the gnomes traded in their Disney smiles and rosy cheeks filled with laughter on a golden platter for an overabundance of sneers and sinister smiles threatening of nighttime prowls and devious sock thefts.
As Angus never arrived home before the sun dropped into the Atlantic for the night, it is small wonder that his best friends came in long-necked bottles?
He was not afraid of the gnomes, per se, but found their mischief misplaced. The sock thefts were the start. Then the crafty painted dolls moved to his drawers, and the worst were his trousers, purloined after one overly adventurous night out with his boys. When Madge rolled him awake some time after noon, he had missed his chance to catch the little trolls in the act, but the wads of cloth dangling off several of the gnomes' tools only nourished his hunch that they were out to get him.
"Don't be ridiculous, Angus!" Madge screeched at him with a roll of the eyes. "The gnomes no more took yer trousers than they spill yer drink all down yer shirt all the time. More'n likes that ya took ‘em off afore ya came back las' night. Now get yer paranoid arse in the tub, yer reek worse'n a weeks' rubbish."
"I ain't paranoid, woman," Angus sulked, skulking his way into the house with a suspicious backwards glance at the platoon of happily smirking lawn ornaments. "If'n I slunk back here wifout my knickers, the Bobbies'd have rounded me up and tossed me in the clink f'r failing the standards o' decency inspired by her Majesty the Queen."
"An' don't forgit the soap!" Madge hollered after him, fanning a pudgy hand before the aquiline nose so out of place in her round face.

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