Sun glittered on the gray, cracked pavement that divided two rows of identical houses. Houses with identical gardens, splotches of faded green and parched yellow. On the scorched straight ribbon of road, a child galloped past, dragging a cherry-red wagon containing a cowering dog wearing a miniature pink bonnet. A sprinkler spurted water into the stagnant air, and a rainbow materialized, suspended for a fleeting moment in a sparkling sunbeam.
In this idyllic panorama of suburban America, among the multitude of uniform abodes, one house contained an element of variation not readily apparent. Beneath a sagging, withered sapling, in the scant shade provided by the shadow of the young tree under a noon-time sun, crouched a jolly, colorful lawn ornament: a garden gnome.
“Day’s been rather slow today, huh, Stu?
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