Nigel was a woodturner, he did this in his shed at the end of the garden. His wife, Rosie, didn’t get out much these days but enjoyed sitting in her favourite armchair watching the birds. Last Autumn, when Wilkinsons closed, she’d bought hundreds of Spring bulbs and enlisted her neighbours son Chris, a trainee PCO, to plant them. She sat through winter watching the barren stretch wondering when the burst of colour from the Tulips and Hyacinths would assault her eyes. January brought a lot of snow. She imagined the shoots kept prisoner under its thick blanket. February’s thaw revealed nothing and harsh frosts left the rest of the garden twinkling but the little spot remained hard, brown and bare.
By March she felt something was wrong so ventured up propped on two sticks. Sure enough the patch was empty. She teetered up further to see Nigel. The smell of fresh wood and tickle of sawdust greeted her nostrils. As they chatted she spotted a couple of punnets of bulbs under his bench. He saw her furrowed brow and explained he’d found the onions in their garden and had been selling them since just before Christmas at the Market. A very awkward conversation followed.
A week later Nigel answered the door to three policemen.
“We’re here about the bulbs”
Nigel stumble over his words. “I, erm. We, erm”
“Did you want to show your pals the fruits of your labour?” Sally interrupted, “Chris, sorry, there’s nothing to see. We think something ate them.”