flowering | An LA Crime Story


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About four-thirty that afternoon, a landscaper named Bernardo, with a survey map in hand, staked out the boundaries of Daisy’s land. The flattened little mound where the coyote had laid was, indeed, just outside the markers, like Daisy and Travis had thought.

“Do you want all succulents?” Bernardo asked her as they discussed the landscaping of the wild, sloping part of her back yard. “Or also some native brush, some rock rose, some agave.”

“The agave sounds good.” Daisy told him as she studied the placement of his markers, “And some flowering natives would be nice – maybe a tree for shade? A Palo Verde tree, right down there.” she pointed to a spot a few yards down the slope.

“Do you want hardscaping?” he asked her.

“Yes.” Daisy nodded, “I do… but maybe just some flagstones in the dirt. And a path to a small bench. Can you carve out a little path alongside the edge?” she pointed to the side of her property, next to the mound.

Bernardo looked around and made a few calculations. “It need some grading. And it’s a big area… Again Daisy nodded. “Six grand.” he estimated. “Ballpark.”

Daisy agreed. “When can you start?” she asked.

“I can start in five weeks.” he told her, adding, “I’ll need a two grand deposit at least a week before.”

“I’ll give it to you now.” she offered, “Then we’ll be all set.”

She easily scrambled up the few yards to her back wall. She stepped over it and strode back across her patio to the iron gate over her back door. It was heavily arched with a thick fuschia bouganvillea vine, studded with thorns – part of which had fallen across the gate. As Daisy grabbed the vine to pull it aside, Bernardo hurried to her.

“Careful, Miss–! It has thorns–” he warned. She smiled, unscathed and went inside.

A minute later she came back out with two thousand dollars, in cash. “Five weeks from today, I’ll expect your workers here.” she told him. “Don’t change the date, I don’t like to wait. If you do, I’ll take the deposit back and get someone else.”

Bernardo realized she wasn’t one to be messed with. He thought for a minute, going over his schedule in his mind. Satisfied he could deliver, he nodded then took the money. The date was set.

Bernardo drove his old pickup down the hill. Daisy went back out onto her patio. Poo and Ralphie were there, waiting. Inquisitory looks were on their faces. “Right now, it’s just landscaping.” she told them, “I don’t know yet if I want it dug up. I have five weeks to decide.”

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