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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Obscure Forgotten Hotel; Pound Wild Sunglasses

"Each week, 3WW will post three (or more) random words. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write something using all of those words. It can be a few lines, a story, a poem, anything. I'll also attempt to write something using the same three words.

Leave a comment if you participate. Many fun and interesting people might visit your blog.

This week's words are:
Forgotten
Hotel
Obscure"




I hate zucchini bread, and this is the reason why:

His name was Hoztel Krudd, and he lived on the outskirts of a small village called Thistle Downs in a shack his neighbors called The Roach Hotel.

Local legend had it that years and years ago a woman had lived with Hoztel, but most of those who claimed to know such village lore had either died or moved away, so the details of Hoztel's love life, if in fact he ever had one, were forgotten.

Most of the locals in Thistle Downs believed Hoztel was little more than a bum who lived off whatever he could grow in his backyard garden. Where Hoztel's cottage resembled a shack or a hut, his garden was an agricultural miracle. There were beans and corn, tomatoes and carrots, zucchini and pumpkins, and many other varieties of vegetables a few of which the locals didn't even recognize. Hoztel Krudd raised prize produce, and at the roadside stand he set up in the Spring of every year and dismantled after the first Fall frost, Hoztel made enough money to cover his expenses for the cold Winter months.

What no one in Thistle Downs realized was that in his garden, Hoztel also grew an obscure poisonous weed called the Jatropha Bush. Since most gardens have weeds at one time or another, Hoztel never worried that someone might notice how the wild weed grew fast enough to overtake his garden of vegetables if he didn't keep a close eye on it. And he did want to keep a close eye on it, because the Bellyache Bush was going to be his ticket out of Thistle Corners.

What Hoztel Krudd wanted hidden from his neighbors was the potential worth of his wild weed. He was afraid that if people knew what he was growing and what economic potential it had, people would start trying to climb over his privacy fence and steal some of the Jatropha for themselves. Although Hoztel did have a back-up plan if ever he caught anyone snooping in his garden.

Hoztel had created a recipe for zucchini bread that he sold along with the vegetables at his roadside stand. After word got out about how delicious Hoztel's zucchini bread was people came from all over just to buy a loaf. In fact, the local grapevine reported that one woman drove 250 miles just to buy all the bread Hoztel had on hand that day. Hoztel didn't take orders for his bread, so this woman drove all night just to reach Hoztel's stand early enough in the morning so she'd be first in line to buy the bread.

With a bread reputation like that Hoztel figured if he discovered anyone trying to steal any of his Jatropha, he'd simply deliver a gift of zucchini bread to the culprit's front stoop and wait for the Jatropha-laced bread to kill off the unfortunate interloper.

What Hoztel knew about the Jatropha weed was that it had the potential to revolutionize the auto industry. Thanks to an agricultural periodical Hoztel happened to see at one of his rare visits to the library, he read an article about how Jatropha seeds could be the ideal biofuel crop. Since the seeds from the bush have a 40% oil content, when these seeds are crushed, they have the ability to fuel a standard diesel car.

To be sure he wasn't cultivating all that Jatropha for nothing, Hotzel picked a pound of it from his garden and sent it off to a laboratory located in Switzerland to have it analyzed. The report he received was more than encouraging. Where most Jatropha weeds have an oil rate of 40%, Hoztel's bushes checked in at a whopping 55% oil base.

All would have gone well if only Elsbeth Buggs hadn't been such a competitive cook. A little known fact about Elsbeth was that she had grown up next door to Martha Stewart, and the two had become vicious rivals during their senior year of high school when both girls wanted the title of Miss Home Economics with her photograph prominently displayed in the yearbook and in a trophy case in the school's main lobby. Elsbeth always thought that Martha Stewart had connections to the high school principal who judged the Miss Home Economics contest, and she suspected Martha might have slept with the old codger to ensure that she would win the challenge over Elsbeth.

For two years Elsbeth tried everything she knew to get her zucchini bread to taste as good as what Hoztel baked, but she never quite caught the essence of what made his loaves superior to hers. She sat in her attic for hours (it was the only place she could go to see over Hoztel's privacy fence) watching Hoztel carefully tend to his garden, and she bought loaf after loaf of his bread trying to tell by taste what she could be missing in her own bread.

And then one day she noticed this odd, ugly weed that Hoztel carefully removed from his garden and put into a special black bucket. He didn't use this bucket for anything else. He merely pulled the other weeds and put them on his compost heap, but this one particularly nasty looking plant he segregated from all the other weeds and took inside the shack with him. Elsbeth was sure she'd discovered the secret ingredient Hoztel used to make his zucchini bread so special.

Late one night, Elsbeth put on a pair of black pants, a black turtleneck shirt, her black Nike cross trainers, put a black scarf over her head, and for good measure even wore her black sunglasses, grabbed a black Hefty garbage bag, and got the 6-foot ladder out of the storage shed. As quietly as she could, and this was tough because she was tempted to groan under the weight of that ladder, she scaled Hoztel's privacy fence to steal some of that atrociously ugly weed.

Her plan was working just fine until she was actually in Hoztel's garden when she realized that with those sunglasses on in the pitch dark she couldn't differentiate one plant from another. After removing the glasses, she was able to locate the Jatropha bush. She quickly took the pruning sheers, which she'd thought to put into her black Adidas fanny pack, and snipped a generous cutting from one of the weeds. Five minutes later Elsbeth was safe and sound in her own kitchen quite pleased with herself for pulling off what she considered to be the crime of the century. Maybe she couldn't beat Martha Stewart for that Miss Home Economics crown, but she was convinced she could beat Hoztel Krudd at his own zucchini bread game.

The next two days, as fate would have it, Hoztel was feeling under the weather and wasn't able to work in his garden. If he had, he'd have noticed that one of his prize Jatropha bushes was missing what amount to a huge hunk of its foliage. In fact, the poor plant looked like someone had taken a bite out of it with a backhoe.

Things were no better over at Elsbeth Bugg's house. Immediately after she got home from her nocturnal breaking and entering, she ground up a portion of the cutting she'd stolen from Hoztel, and she baked a loaf of zucchini bread. By the time the sun rose, Elsbeth had warm bread and coffee ready for her husband Waldo's breakfast, and of course she herself couldn't wait to taste the loaf to see if, in fact, she'd found the zucchini bread secret. The bread was so good, Elsbeth and Waldo finished the entire loaf. There was nothing but crumbs left on the plate when the emergency management responders broke through the Bugg's back door because Waldo's postprandial cigarette had set the powder room just off the kitchen aflame. Neither Waldo nor Elsbeth could be revived. Their autopsies showed evidence of a little known poisonous plant which, the medical examiner determined, is what killed them.

It didn't take long for the police investigation to turn up Hoztel's stash of Jatropha both in his house and in his garden. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, tried, convicted, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

None of this might have received any attention at all were it not for the headline that appeared in the local newspaper and was picked up by a major agricultural periodical:

Krudd's Seed Kills Buggs


Unfortunately the person from the agricultural magazine had just started her job the week the headline appeared, and she mistakenly believed the headline to mean that Hoztel Krudd's sperm could kill garden bugs. She visited Hoztel in jail to talk to him about the possibility of his contributing sperm to the eradication of the common garden pests and, with her help and a nice percentage of the profits in her own pocket, become filthy rich himself. Hoztel believed he knew a lunatic when he saw and heard one, so he left instructions banning this reporter from ever visiting him again.

Nothing turned out well for Hoztel Krudd, the Buggs, nor the reporter with huge dollar signs flashing in her eyes.

Which is why I cannot eat zucchini in any form but especially not in bread. All I can think of when I try to get it past my nose is Krudd and Buggs.

6 comments:

RomanceWriter said...

I about fell over laughing at the paragraph about the reporter. Great story. I look forward to reading more of your work.

Bye for now,

Sara

Anita Jobalot (yasmees) said...

Great story. I loved the reporter! Hilarious and so well done.

TC said...

In fact, the poor plant looked like someone had taken a bite out of it with a backhoe.

Loved that line.

Also, the roach hotel line caught me in the beginning as I've stayed in a hotel with roaches and it still freaks me out when I think about it :)

gautami tripathy said...

I like the way you combined six words. I think you should write humour more often. You have the knack for it.

Bone said...

You have one vivid imagination! That is, assuming this story isn't true :)

And some Martha Stewart gossip, to boot.

Manky said...

Thanks for all the positive comments! But this is really Bone's doing as without his weekly words I don't know what I'd use for inspiration. So thanx Bone, and don't stop with the 3WW! :)