The Salmagundi – English Garden Excerpt

May 9, 2014 by

“If you build it, they will come.”  One of the more famous lines from a pretty famous baseball story.  It’s fitting for us.  This site started off with a focus on sports and it was baseball that brought it all together.  Fast forward a couple of years, and we’ve built something else entirely.  When we put out our call for submission, we hoped we’d get at least one person, the response was far better.  I’m still amazed at the quality and volume of what we received.

This latest excerpt is from of those submissions.  “English Garden”, by Freedom Chevalier is a nasty little story set in a very lovely locale.  The writing is fluid and vivid, the characters and setting are real yet somewhat otherworldly.   I learned two things from this – California Gothic is exactly what you would think it is, and don’t mess with Freedom.

Freedom Chevalier has worked continuously in various written mediums since retiring from live performance in the late 90s, preferring to focus largely on the California Gothic and Hard-Boiled genres. Follow on twitter @ReallyFreedom and on Facebook or on her website,

English Garden

Malcolm smiled with satisfaction as he gazed out upon his English garden, warming in the California sun. He had long since left his home in the Cotswold region and had promised that when time and money permitted, he would recreate his childhood garden; but this time with Azaleas. His mother hated Azaleas. They now framed the perimeter of his lustrous beachfront home. She’d hate what I’ve done to this place, he thought smugly to himself as he stepped over her resting place.

He’d planted the largest Azalea bush on top of the moist patch of soil where her ashes were scattered, and left a dish of premium kibble out for the few neighborhood strays, enticing them to claim their territory. Azaleas and cat piss. How do I love you, mother, let me count the ways.
It had been a lovely funeral. The Monsignor at the Church of the Suffering Souls seemed taken aback when Malcolm asked him to oversee the opulent service.

“My mother was a lifelong Catholic.” Malcolm professed, with thespian perfect tears, “It would mean so much to her, to know her soul would forever rest with our Lord.” Knowing his mother’s outright contempt and hatred of the Catholic Church made it a challenge to keep the smile licking at the corners of his full lips from showing. He bit the inside of his cheek for control and allowed fresh tears to burn the rim of his steel blue eyes.

“I understand your grief, my son,” the kindly old believer offered.

He had used not a small portion of his inheritance already. The funeral, the wake, the garden. And Michael. Money well spent.

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