Thursday, September 16, 2004


I guess it was the onions. My sudden and impassioned impulse to throw caution on the compost pile and plant those piquant members of the lily family amidst this rare dearth of monkeys I guess subconsciously got me thinking of maybe planting some garlic, nothing else can explain it, anyway it's nice to be encouraged by onions.

So when I went into town to get the ideally shaped and sized whatever it was that they didn't have (ideal shapes and sizes seem to be unavailable to me here in Japan, as impressively evidenced by the garlic itself), in passing my eyes were drawn to where the onion bulbs used to be, and there in the bin were a couple of remaining bags of... garlic... hmmmm... the last ones... only five very large cloves in each bag, priced at 1000 yen: what the... 2 dollars a clove, these must be some kind of super garlic, it said in big readable Japanese letters BIOTECHNOLOGY at the top, I didn't have my glasses for the small print, but that was all the garlic they had and the onion bulbs are all gone so now's the time, be decisive (that attitude usually gets me in trouble) and I went for it, though to maintain at least a modicum of indecisiveness I got one bag.

Later, around sunset, as I was out in the garden generously feeding the mosquitoes while dabbling in biotechnology by planting the humungus cloves-- for good company among the now widely spaced red peppers that had been closely planted among the just-harvested ginger, I hope you can follow this back-and-forth timeline, the red peppers apparently at last accepting the fact that they're not anywhere near Cuba or Mexico-- I noticed that someone had been fiddling around with the spinach, but it wasn't a monkey, monkeys don't like spinach and would have taken a test bite or two out of my still green (and whole) Roma tomatoes.

Anyway monkeys don't like biotechnological garlic do they, I wondered and had to admit that I didn't know... nevertheless in the true gardener's pioneering spirit I forged on. Caught up in garlic fever I hunkered in the dirt with these as I say huge cloves, digging big holes to put them in whence they might one day take over the world, and in the dimming light and impressive heft of technogarlic I began to feel the same kind of madly mysterious feeling I used to feel as a kid, when all was possible and I heard and vicariously lived the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, and when these magic cloves during the night reached the clouds with the stalks I'd discover in the morning, what garlic-breath biogiant would be asleep up there, at 2 dollars a clove he'd better have some gold in that castle. Unless monkeys acquire a taste for biotechnology.


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