Envy consumed him. He lay motionless in bed, longing for sleep that refused to arrive. He had turned the spare bedroom into mission control, creating exquisite storyboards of garden designs, works of art in themselves. At work, he had received his final warning for being ‘on planet chuffing Titchmarsh’ and if he used the ‘chuffing AO size paper at £5 a chuffing time for poxy little drawings again, he would be sacked. Chuffing immediately’.
He fought this obsession, but his deluded mind kept mocking his failure to deliver planted perfection. He pleaded for something to help him cope, to sleep. A condescending head tilting doctor, simply advised him to ‘grow a pair’, chortling at his own apparent wit. It was his wife’s fault. If she hadn’t wanted ‘a nice coach-trip to Amsterdam’, he would never have seen Keukenhof Gardens, a place with tulips so stupendous, he couldn’t find words to describe them, so he whimpered instead.
The monotone, ‘our lawn is green, you’ve spent enough Colin’ had become her mantra. He knew she would balk when the conservatory was demolished but needs must. He had to make way for a contemporary Japanese Garden to pay homage to his horticultural Dutch Masters, then everything would be perfect, then sleep would come. He feigned denial about wanting a mini-digger that was an absolute bargain; she spluttered something about over her dead body.
No, the neighbours haven’t seen her for days, and yes, his nocturnal digging was peculiar.
The thermal-imaging camera was carefully manoeuvred under the blue-striped police tape tied between the drainpipe and the privet, where the conservatory had once stood. The handcuffs were chafing, but he smiled at how beautiful the mini Shinto Temple and crimson Osakazui plants looked in the autumn evening and rejoiced at how well he had been sleeping lately.