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By Bill Carlon
I told my mother that her new garden gnome was going to be nothing but trouble. I could tell by the devilish twinkle in his eyes. But when I was called to pick her and Kitschi, her new gnome, up at the Antique Mall, I could tell she was in love with it.
I tried to explain to her that even though it was an inanimate object, it would call out to pranksters. I told her about the "traveling gnome" prank where a gnome such as Kitschi would be kidnapped, or "liberated" and sent on a tag team trip around the world. Pictures would be posted on the internet with the stolen gnome posed in front of the Pyramids or the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes the gnome was returned to the owner, sometimes not.
I'd heard that there was a local chapter of the GLF (Gnome Liberation Front) that would steal her new buddy and set it free in the local woods. My pleas were to no avail and Kitschi was placed in a prominent spot in a flower bed in the front lawn.
I don't know if what happened next was supposed to be performance art or an attempt to drive Mom mad. A few days after Kitschi arrived, she noticed a small female gnome had taken up residence in her garden. A few days after that a young gnome suddenly appeared. After that, an elderly one. After three weeks she had a whole gnome family in her yard.
They were all very nice looking and Mom was both puzzled and pleased at their sudden appearance. "He's just called for his family," she said. But it wasn't long before she was calling me, claiming that they were moving around when she wasn't watching them. "Ma, you know that's impossible!," I told her. "Then how did they all get in my car?," she asked, her voice quivering. "And this morning they were all on the garage roof, trying to look in my bedroom window".
I reminded her about my warning concerning pranksters. They were obviously having fun at her expense. Once the prank had run its course, they would retrieve their gnomes and leave her alone. And sure enough, one morning all the little figurines from hell were gone. Unfortunately, they also took my mother's friend Kitschi.
Peace and calm returned to Mom's home. The roses were blooming without the oversight of a garden gnome.
One evening after dinner with Mom, we decided to take in a movie on the telly. Much to our surprise, during a commercial for an online travel agency, there was her old friend Kitschi, posed in front of the Taj Mahal. "He looks much happier now," was all she said.
Bill Carlon was born and raised in Rockford, IL. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and is an avid writer.