BEWARE THE TEETH OF NIGHT

Knowing my partiality to tomatoes my sister-in-law, Barbara, who works in a greenhouse, gave me a tomato plant from Italy last year, and the plant became an immensity, a great overspreading almost-tree that crowded everything else out and produced meaty, delectable plums five times the size of any I've ever seen. So Barbara said save the seeds, and I did, a lot of them, fifty or sixty. When spring arrived she started them in the greenhouse and she gave me fifteen or so. After all how many can you plant? How many tomatoes can you eat? And in high summer how many can you give away?

The other day I put them in and since the plot is only a few yards from the house I thought all was well. They were in full sun, happy, with rabbit manure to spur them on. Yes, yes, all was well. Well, the next morning well wasn't so well. Somebody, somebody with teeth, somebody without the patience to wait for fruit (whether tomatoes are fruit or not), somebody small, somebody who hops around during the night hours, that somebody chewed two of them down to stubs. When that kind of thing happens it causes one to be stunned, and to stare at the fact staring back at one and what's more any quote from Shakespeare even the one that goes—"What's done cannot be undone." brings no consolation, in fact Shakespeare and all his fancy words become an irritant, not much higher/lower on the irritant scale than a mosquito in the bedroom. Even the classy voice of Sinatra declaring that "That's life!" doesn't help.

I have a fence around them now, and rocks and bricks along the bottom part, and I've had urges to buy a shotgun, and images of myself standing guard through the slow, ticking hours of the night. So far that "somebody" cloaked in darkness has gotten three of those lovely, promising plants. Last night he/she got in somehow and left another stub. I say all this not because I want pity. Only because I want you to know of the relentless nature of the threat that is out there in the dark.

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