Die Writing

Farce remix – How does your garden grow?

Posted in Uncategorized by erdaron on February 22, 2012


This is a long piece, so more explanation. This is an absurd, farce version of Agatha Christie’s How Does Your Garden Grow? This is a short story about the great Poirot. You should probably read the original before reading this. If you ever find yourself in a conversation with me and I suddenly begin to giggle for no reason, it’s probably because my mind has turned our exchange into something like this.

This all really started when I realized that one of the characters was such an incompetent liar he came off completely insane, simply blurting out surreal give-away statements.

Grrreat blow!

Hercule Poirot handled an oversize hunting knife in one hand and his mustache in the other. Growling, he kept stabbing at a pile of letters in front of him.

Patience! Nous allons arriver!” He exclaimed when one of the letters finally got caught on the serrated blade. A mixture of confetti, candy, dried flowers, and pieces of paper with words and phrases on them spilled out of the ruined envelope. In no particular order, the messages comprised the following list:

  • Recommended
  • Private and confidential
  • Hushed up
  • Circumstances (accompanied by a crude drawing of a squirrel)
  • A cut-out pictures of Poirot and some old lady, superposed in a way suggesting kissing.
  • Rosebank, Charmen’s Green

At ten o’clock precisely, and with a mouth full of hard caramel, Poirot burst into his secretary’s room. Miss Lemon, a demented hag confined to a wheel chair and always packing several loaded pistols, was sleeping.

“A case!  Private and confidential! Werther’s!” Poirot was shouting incoherently. Startled, Miss Lemon unloaded one of her pistols into a wall. Being almost completely blind, she could not aim and simply shot off at random.

“Soft soap! Purr purr!” She screeched like mad harpy.

Never the one to test his luck by giving Miss Lemon another opportunity, Poirot plunged through a window and ran off toward Charman’s Green. Despite his short stature, the great detective possessed the speed and the health of a horse and made along at a good clip.

Arriving at the Rosebank, the great detective stationed himself near a bush, munching on its leaves and observing the house. He was covered in spittle and dirt from the road, yet his mustache remained regal and proper. His continental sense of propriety was unshakeable. While he was waiting, he began to quietly sing,

Mistress Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With cockle-shells, and silver bells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

Drawn to his enchanting voice, a young maid appeared from the brush. However, once she caught the sight of Poirot, she exclaimed in terror,

“You’ve come for the dead!” Then promptly disappeared back into the bushes.

“Come back, blue eyes!” Pleaded Poirot and launched himself into the bushes after the pretty little maid, but she was nowhere to be found. Even Poirot’s unmatched intellectual talents could not rival her many years of experience scurrying through shrubbery. Giving up the search, he wandered into the house where he encountered a small, sullen, sallow girl that stared at him uncomfortably.

“Why have you come?” She inquired sternly.

“Candy?” Poirot continued to plead and, pouting, produced a handful of empty wrappers.

“Are you a lawyer?”

The two have arrived at an intellectual impasse.

“Katrina!” The mistress of the house arrived atop a great white horse. Henry the husband followed, occasionally yelping “Ruskies!” and biting furniture.

“Aunt Amelia is dead!” The mistress announced. “Long live Aunt Amelia!”

“Grrrreat blow!” growled Henry the husband and tore a leg off a chair with his gleaming white teeth. His eyes were wheeling around like two shopping carts driven by the mischief of faulty bearings.

Parfaitement,” thoughtfully said Poirot, then ran across the room and escaped by hurtling through a window. His great detective’s intuition alerted him that something was wrong in this scene. Something was terribly amiss, and so he directed himself to the local police station.

“Facts, inspector!”

Inspector Sims was a hybrid of an old grandfather clock and a dresser. The glass case containing the pendulum and the clock face was surrounded by a cluster of variously sized drawers. His unbending stick arms spun around like a demented cartoon whenever he spoke.

“That’s easily done. Old lady was taken bad after dinner on Tuesday night. Very alarming. Fish pie.”

“Aha!” The great detective has sensed that he was on to the case.

“Very nasty bit of work. Half a Russian girl. She left the soup on the stove and the fish pie in the oven, and the apple tart was cold.”

“A bêtise!”

“I don’t know about that.”

“A little favor – you will send me a little word how the affair marches.”

“Why, certainly.”

“Also, chocolates.”

“Why, certainly.”

Poirot raced back to his house, where Inspector Sims already awaited him, excitedly whirring his arms and hovering near the roof’s ledge.

“ITEM NO. 1!” He inspector bellowed. Poirot ran inside the house, only to be greeted by a bullet from Miss Lemon. He dodged it by diving behind a ragged couch.

“You are a Russian girl!” Poirot yelled at Miss Lemon, hoping to distract her long enough for him to make an escape.

“Yes!” She replied and fired another gun.


“You are alone and friendless!” The great detective engaged the old hag in a battle of wits, making a deep psychological attack.

“IN CONSIDERATION OF HER GREAT KINDNESS AND ATTENTION!” Inspector Sims was flying around the house, warlike thrustings of his pelvic drawer ruining the roof tiles. His deep voice boomed and echoed down the street.

“The old lady takes a fancy to you!”

“Yes!” A bullet shuttered a window.

“ITEM NO. 2!” The Inspector became so excited that his arms became positively a blur. “MISS B.! EVERYTHING ELSE TO K.! NOBODY BUT K.! THE YOUNG LADY – K.?”

“The dripping will be in the fire! Enfin!”

“Yes! The fishmonger?” Miss Lemon finally caught on to at least some of the words – this sounded like something related to food – and wheeled toward the kitchen. Taking advantage of the pause in the shooting, Poirot dove through the window and into the garden. There, Inspector Sims got caught in an apple tree, like a bewildered washing machine thrown at a fruit stand in a grocery store. The great detective was showered a mixture of chunky apple sauce and fresh mulch.

Knocking down a fence, the mistress of Rosebank rode into the yard, Henry the husband in tow. He quickly climbed a tree not yet assaulted by Inspector Sims.

“Ruskies!” he barked from his vantage point.

Poirot regarded the new arrivals with suspicion, narrowing his eyes to slits.

“They are not cockle shells,” he noted with bitter disappointment and leveled an accusatory finger. “They are oyster shells!”

“We’ve done it for years,” she began to declare theatrically to no one in particular, gesturing broadly with her arms. “It – it seems quite fantastic. My aunt died on Tuesday. It was quite unexpected. My name is Delafontaine. This is my husband. This was my aunt. The matter you speak of is no longer of importance.”


“Grrrreat blow!”


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