I think the posties have started to cotton on. It’s taken them long enough, given the number of large packages sent to my address in black and violet paper, my postal details written in silver calligraphy. They’ve taken to pressing the doorbell and rapidly scurrying up the drive before I have time to answer, leaving the box haphazardly on the stoop under the seasonal selection of protective talismans that I’ve hung from the awning.
This month’s protective agents were, admittedly, a bit freakier than usual – a fox’s paw from the side of the road (untreated), a shard of broken terracotta pot, and an old beetroot. If that didn’t give the game away, perhaps it was the ‘WARNING: TOXIC’ stickers all over the last package I ordered. It was just a potted datura plant – I do love a good angel trumpet – so I’m not sure why such extreme labelling was required; maybe I won’t order that type of thing from the coven’s mail order catalogue next time. It’s perfectly good for things like incense and candles and dried juniper berries and bat teeth, but I’ve found it to leave something to be desired when it comes to live items. It’s just not very discreet.
Anyway, the neighbours are going to have to get over it, because I’m going to be out in the garden all weekend setting up the poisonous plant zone. There’ll be the new brugmansia specimen, of course, and the amaryllis belladonna that my friend gave me the other week. Naturally, there’ll be hemlock, foxglove and black nightshade, along with some garden variety azaleas. I’m going to put warning signage around it, obviously – hey, maybe I can use some of the warning labels from the packaging.
People might question what I plan to do with all these poisonous plants. Well, I’m not planning to poison anyone. I mean, come on. I’m an accountant who dabbles in the supernatural, not exactly something sinister.