The Yard Gnome
By Mike Stevens
It was perfect; a huge house with a big yard, a privacy fence, a deck, and a swimming pool. Sara Sponge was ecstatic. This would be their first new house in her and her new husband’s new life together. She had everything she had always dreamed of. A new husband with a body to die for; a six-bedroom house; from which they could see their bank, a huge yard which only needed a couple of minor touches, a deck to use for sunbathing, and a swimming pool to cool off in when they got too hot sunbathing. She had said yes to Sam not only because of his good looks, but because he held a great, upwardly-mobile job at a luxury car dealership, and could support her in the manner to which she was accustomed. Her mother and father had approved of her choice. They had always told her that spousal income was the most important thing. Her mother told her, if her mate had a great body, it was only an added bonus, but how loaded he was, was the key to a long and happy union.
Then, Sara remembered that Sam was due home from work soon, and they were going into town to buy some things to decorate the house and yard. Sara told herself to go for a quick swim to cool off a bit before Sam got home. She got out some champagne, changed into her bikini, and dove into the aqua heaven. Sam should be home any second. The blue water felt so relaxing, and she was soon lost in a daydream. She was so lost in her daydream, she failed to notice Sam arrive home. She was startled by Sam diving into the pool. He swam for awhile, then said,
“What do you say to getting dressed and hitting the home improvement store in town to by some things to spruce up the house a little?”
She replied, “Sure.”
“Great!” he said. “I’ll make us a couple of martini’s , then we should get a move on.” While he made the drinks, she walked to the shower.
After making the drinks, he hosed off the pool s**t with the garden hose. That ought to hold me until we get back, and then I can take a proper shower, he told himself. If they didn’t hurry, the store would be closed for the night. Sara returned, dressed, after her shower, and as he got dressed, they both guzzled their martini’s, and headed to the store.
As soon as they arrived, they grabbed a cart and found the items they wanted, which included a yard rake, a hand trowel, several expensive plants, some artwork for their house, and a pool rake. They had almost reached the end of the yard tool aisle, and were about to head to the check-out counter to pay, when something caught Sara’s attention, and made her go back up the aisle. Suddenly, she seemed drawn by some strange force, to a display of clay yard gnomes. She thought to herself, how odd! But she soon forgot the odd feeling, as she was standing before the coolest-looking yard gnome she had ever seen. It was about 2 feet tall, and the eyes seemed to follow her every move. She knew it was only an illusion, but, somehow, he seemed much more alive than the three identical yard gnomes right next to him. She knew it had been there before when they had passed by, and she didn’t know why, but suddenly, she just had to buy this particular one.
“Sam, look at that yard gnome; isn’t he the most adorable yard gnome you’ve ever seen? Can we buy him?”
He started to say, “Man, you’re crazy!” when something gleamed in the yard gnome’s eyes, and he instead replied, “Wow, honey; that is an adorable yard gnome. Sure, we can buy him.” Now, whatever had possessed him to say that? Oh well, no sense wondering about it. He wanted too hurry up so they could hit the pool. He picked it up, and set it on their cart. He said,
“I think we’re done shopping, and we can head for the register. Is there anything else you want to look at?”
She replied, “No, nothing else.”
They headed to the registers, and when their total was announced, the total came to a lot less than he thought it should have.
He exclaimed, “Say, that doesn’t sound right; shouldn’t it come to more?”
The clerk flashed him an annoyed look, and re-rang everything again. She said, “I knew I was right; everything’s accounted for. Now, would you mind paying? You’re holding up the line!”
Sam was hacked off, “Sorry, lady; we were only trying to be honest. Excuse the c**p out of us for trying to be honest!” And with that, he wadded up a $100 dollar bill, and threw it in her face, saying, “That’s close enough; keep the change. We wouldn’t want to hold up the line!”
The rude clerk was on the phone immediately, “Yes, security? I have a customer here who’s becoming violent!”
But, by the time security got there, Sam and Sara were already pulling out of the parking lot, and were heading home.
Sam said, “I know that total was low, please, let me see the receipt.” After he had looked at it, Sam exclaimed, with a puzzled look on his face, “Everything seems to be there, everything but the yard gnome!”
As soon as they got home, they hurried to change clothes for the pool, first setting up the sharp-looking yard gnome in the garden, which faced the pool.
There she was! She was so hot; he had to have her for himself. But he was stuck here, in the damn garden. The first chance he got, he would kill the humanoid male. The advantage of surprise would be his! They still thought of him as a cute little clay statue, unable to think, let alone move. He could hardly wait to see the look of disbelief, then utter horror, upon the face of the humanoid male, as a little 2-foot high clay statue stabbed him repeatedly, then filleted him just like a fish! The sight of her in a bikini was exciting! He looked down to see if his excitement was showing. The sculptor who’d made him had thankfully outfitted him with loose-fitting clothing, so no one would notice, and give him away by saying,
“Look everyone; the yard gnome has popped a woody!” He envisioned himself making love to Sara. Soon, very soon, he would be!
After they had finished a cooling swim, Sara happened to glance at the yard gnome, which sat in the garden, near the pool. Something about it didn’t look quite right. His little toy pants seemed to be riding way too high, but that was impossible. They were made of the same clay he was made of, and they were both made of the same molded piece of clay. Yet his expression seemed different, too. It looked like it had changed from a smile to sort of a lecherous leer. But that, too, was quite impossible; it was only a clay statue. She must be imagining things. She asked Sam if he noticed something different about the yard gnome’s look, but he just gave her a look and swam away from her. Maybe she was loony; ever since they had brought home the little clay statue, she felt like it was watching her. But that too was impossible. He was a statue made of clay. She excused herself, and went into the house. She was feeling a little unnerved. She couldn’t shake the feeling the yard gnome was evil, and she needed a drink She went to the wet-bar, grabbed a bottle of vodka, and took a long drink. There; she was feeling better already!
He saw his chance. His love was going in the house, and the idiot humanoid male had his back turned away from the garden. He had climbed from the pool, and sat in a lawn chair. This was going to be easy, and fun! He took out his knife, which he had kept hidden under his coat, waddled on his tiny legs up to where the idiot humanoid male sat, and said cryptically,
“She’s my woman; it’s time for you to say goodnight!” The horrified, non-comprehending look on the humanoid male’s face was hilarious to the yard gnome, as he plunged his knife into the dude’s neck. He wanted the woman for himself, and the sooner this jerk-weed was out of the way, the sooner he would have the woman he loved! He heard a strange, gurgling sound, and the dude’s eyes clouded over, as he stood up and toppled over, face down in the pool. His leaking neck stained the water crimson, but there was nothing the yard gnome could do about that.
Sara was feeling a little tipsy as she left the house, on her way back to the pool. She felt much better. She had been a complete fool to think that a harmless clay statue was watching her every move, and was somehow evil; boy, did she ever feel stupid! She approached the pool, and didn’t see Sam. She assumed he was still swimming. As she approached the pool, she said,
“Sugar, race you to the far end. I---aahhh, holy s**t!” When she looked into the pool, she saw his lifeless corpse floating face down, a huge trail of blood dripping from the chair he’s been sitting in, a crimson swath that ended at the edge of the pool, and a cloud of red staining the water, and had started to scream. The yard gnome was beside the pool, with a bloody knife clutched in his clay hands. Only he was no longer made of clay! He was now flesh and blood. Sara backed away, and told the yard gnome she was calling the police. The yard gnome replied,
“What are you going to tell them? That a clay yard gnome killed your husband? I don’t think so! Just give me a chance; I love you and I know once you get know me, you’ll fall in love with me, too. Come on, what do you say?”
All he heard in response to his declaration of love was a scream, and then her angry voice telling him there was no way in hell she would ever fall in love with a sawed-off, clay, murdering, b**t-ugly troll-man! He had killed her husband, and meal ticket, and as he was a yard gnome, how could he ever expect to find a high-paying job? No, she was calling the police, right away. They would have a hard time believing it, but it was the truth. His little clay heart broke! She had rejected him, after all he had done to win her, and now he would have to silence her by killing her, too. What a waste! They could have been so happy together.
Sara ran to the house and quickly dialed 911. She couldn’t believe this was happening. A voice answered, and asked her what her emergency was. The dispatcher heard a frantic woman’s voice say,
“It’s my husband; he’s been murdered by---aahhh!”, then the line went dead.
The yard gnome slipped the dripping knife under his coat. He’d had no other choice but to kill his love. He hung up the phone, kicked Sara’s lifeless body to make sure she was dead, and headed for the garden.
When Detective Jay Jones arrived at the scene, he was greeted by a grisly sight. A man was lying face down, in the crimson-colored water of the pool. In the house, a woman’s body was lying near the phone. She had been beautiful, once, but death had rendered he face a tortured, ugly mess. She had been stabbed to death. They hadn’t found any fingerprints, except small smudges, anywhere. They had no motive, and no suspects. It was going to be a difficult case to solve. He needed time to think about this. He gazed absently out at the empty garden, empty except for a small clay yard gnome.