8.11.21: The Great Dracaena Caper

Mrs. Wing is a wonderful cook. She brought out a plateful of paper-thin, super-crisp hot seasoned fried potatoes when I was hoeing the garden. I ate up the rest before taking the picture.

Scene 1. Internal morning monologue, Mary’s mind:

Off to work. 

It’s a hot and sunny day. We’re in for a three day heat wave, clear sky and soaring temperatures. Better get to the office and settle in good and early.

Here’s the garden, with the raised bed and the row of potted…

Say, what’s this here? It’s a whole new houseplant. 

This wasn’t here late last night when I did the watering.

Did somebody drop it off for the garden? 

People drop off stuff all of the time — plants dead & alive, planters all sizes, birdbaths, tools, statues, planks, on and on. It’s really generous, but… I wish they’d talk to us first. Usually they’re moving out and they just dump things and leave. Often I need to scrub the stuff and then tote it to the thrift shop on the bus or out to the recycle or dumpster bin.

But this, wow. A supersize gorgeous Dracaena.

Elegant pot too. Right up on a display pedestal where the full sun will hit it all day long.

Except Dracaenas are understory tropical plants. They can not stand direct sun.

And this is one very expensive decorator statement. In New York City this would cost a couple hundred dollars.

What to do, what to do… must catch bus… 

Whose plant is this? Is it really for us? It’s way early. Who’s around to ask?

Well, somebody has to rescue this plant right now, and find the owner later.

Neighbor D. is great with plants, and she has a deep shade covered porch 30 steps away. I’ll bring it there.

Gak, this thing is heavy. Struggle struggle struggle. 

There! Now it’s safe at Neighbor D’s, tucked way back behind her prize-worthy wall of potted Hosta plants.

Now to text her and explain that… Oh… I don’t have her number in my cell phone.

Well ok, texting Captain Wing instead. Captain! If anybody asks you — the Dracaena is at Neighbor D’s! I’ll bring it back later!

Anybody who’s anybody, if they want to know the neighborhood news they’ll go ask Captain. He’ll let them know.


Scene 2. Internal morning monologue, Neighbor P:

Nice news — my family brought me a beautiful Dracaena last night as a gift.

Spent the evening clearing and arranging the perfect space for it in my room.

I can’t wait to see how nice it looks.

Dracaenas can’t stand direct sun. But they brought the plant late last night. We knew that for those few hours in the dark, the plant would be safe and well. But itt’s sunup now. So I’ll go out and —  


Where is my gift? It was right here just hours ago. Now it’s gone!

Who was it? Who was lurking around at midnight watching our house and running off with a Dracaena?

Who could have done such a thing? In our neighborhood! This is so sad!


Scene 3. After work.

Mary is cadoodling home from work for a pleasant evening of garden putter.

Wait, what are these handwritten signs?

“PLEASE bring back my Fortune Plant!”

Oh no. So it wasn’t a donation for sure.

Gosh — what if somebody sees it at Neighbor D.’s? They’ll think she took it!

Hurry hurry. Here’s her porch.

Thank goodness. The Dracaena is still right here!

Gak, this thing is heavy. Struggle struggle struggle. 

Ok, it’s back on its pedestal.

Text from Captain Wing: Mary? I have no information about this plant. Will have to find out and get back to you later. 

Text back to Captain Wing: Not to worry! Situation under control.


Scene 4: All Together Now

Neighbor P, appearing outdoors: My plant! It’s back! 

Mary: Yes! This morning I saw it in the sun and didn’t want it to bake. I figured the relationships could be mended, but the plant would be Dracaena jerky if it stayed where it was.

Neighbor P: No, I was going to come out and get it super early! 

Mary: I am so sorry! This caused you a day of needless distress.

Captain Wing: Hello! What’s this about a plant? Was it missing?

P: Yes! I said to my family “How could this happen? It was only outside for a few hours!” They said “Please don’t be sad. We can always buy you another.” But I said “No no, it’s not just the plant. What kind of person could have done such a thing?”

Captain Wing: Mary could.

Neighbor P: Then I said a prayer about it at my altar to the saints, that the person who took it would decide to bring it back.

Mary: You have an altar? I have an altar too! 

P: Yes, I’m a Catholic.

Mary: So am I!

P: I’m an usher at St. Mary’s.

Mary: St. Mary’s? Father N. used to visit our building here to visit dear Mr. and Mrs. H. every single Sunday those last years to bring them Communion, when they couldn’t get out to church any more. 

P: Wow, Father N. did all that??

Captain: Who’s Father N.?

P: Father is home in Ireland for vacation right now.

Mary: With his 11 siblings. Or wait, maybe it’s 11 kids and only 10 siblings.

Captain: 11 kids??

Mary: Which saint did you pray to? It must have been Anthony, patron of lost things. Except — you didn’t lose it. More like it was swiped. You could have prayed to St. Dismas the Thief.

Neighbor D: Mary! Here you are. I figured you would know how that plant ended up on my porch and where it came from.

Captain: Mary took it for her altar to St. Anthony. Or something. But she gave it back.

Mary: Yes, when St. Anthony says jump, I say how high.

Neighbor L, arriving from work: Hey guys? There are signs posted around: Somebody stole a plant last night! Right from the garden! We should report this to Management. 

Everybody: It’s ok. That’s just Mary.

Neighbor D: She was looking out for people. And their plants.

Neighbor S: You know Mary, all this confusion wouldn’t happen if… Have you ever tried minding your own business? Except then I guess your life wouldn’t be very interesting.

Mary: No, it’s a pretty nowhere place. By interfering in the lives of others, you get to meet the nicest people.

About maryangelis

Hello Readers! (= Здравствуйте, Читатели!) The writer lives in the Catholic and Orthodox faiths and the English and Russian languages, working in an archive by day and writing at night. Her walk in the world is normally one human being and one small detail after another. Then she goes home and types about it all until the soup is done.
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4 Responses to 8.11.21: The Great Dracaena Caper

  1. wendyrud says:

    I enjoyed your story and the way in which you told it. Thank you for sharing it🌞🦋🌱

    • maryangelis says:

      Funny how much there is to report on when nothing is really going on. To maintain this pitch of excitement, next up will be a report on some windfall apples in the parking lot of the dentistry suite two blocks away.

  2. Robb Scott says:

    What an adventure and such a well-told account.
    Wonderful neighbors…

    • maryangelis says:

      Hiya Robb! Yes, that little garden strip has been a real encouragement to everybody during this pandemic especially. For some reason, even people who don’t feel ready to socialize will come out and look at the plants, and then start making comments… there is plenty of garden space at your house I see. 🙂

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