The Outcasts Garden

This story is suitable for everyone

This was the first story I wrote and is in response to a challenge to write about gay rocks.  There is a saying about acorns and huge oaks.  My writing career started because of this small acorn.  I had a ton of fun writing this story and I do hope you like it.

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When Crusher is taken away from his friends and family, he tries to be brave.  After all, he has been selected because he's the best, the most handsome rock in the whole quarry.  He's proud to have been picked, but it isn't long before he falls out of favour, and when that happens he finds himself tossed out with all the other discarded rocks into the outcasts garden...

Summary by Rob Hawes

 

Prologue

Granite is a hard rock.  One of the hardest rocks around.  It was used in ancient times to build the pyramids, and in modern times granite has been extensively used as a dimension stone and as flooring tiles in public and commercial buildings and monuments. Though, not all granite is nice to look at, some pieces of granite rock can be particularly handsome.  Hmmm.  Can you call a rock handsome?  Now shale is absolutely beautiful.  But then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder….or so they say…

 

One

In the little county of Bedrockford was a quarry.  This quarry, known as the Bedrockford Quarry, was owned by one Jeffery Jetson.  Jetson was quite a stout little man.  He was short in stature, with a short temper and an even shorter attention span. 

Each week, Jeffery Jetson would go to his quarry and oversee the rocks that were dug out of the brown clay earth.  On Fridays, the shift foreman would bring a bucket of the best and most interesting looking rocks to the owner to inspect.  Jetson then chose the most handsome of rocks to take home to decorate his garden.   The shift foreman went to great lengths to find the best and most interesting rocks as he knew that if any of the rocks were flawed or plain, he might lose his job at The Bedrockford Quarry.

The shift foreman collected at least one rock every day that he worked that week. He also went to many rock fossickers and a few friends who were interested in geology on the days he wasn’t working, to find interesting rocks to satisfy his boss’s desire for handsome rocks. 

One Friday afternoon, he carried a bucketful of rocks into Jetson’s office.  The bucket was heavy, and it took a lot of effort to heft the weight onto the desk of his boss.  Jetson quickly removed each rock from the bucket.  He then turned each rock around in his hands, running his fat fingers over the surfaces.  Finally, he chose Crusher, a large piece of granite rock, to be the most handsome rock.  Crusher had a crimson hue with smudges of black and red on one of his surfaces.  Yes.  This piece of granite was the most handsome rock in the shift foreman's bucket that week.

When Crusher was chosen to be part of the collection of rocks to be displayed for Jetson’s whim of the week, he had already set in his heart that whatever happened, it would be for the best.  He was sad to leave his family and friends but he had been taught from a young age that he was destined for greater things than to sit in the dark and cold underground. 

Crusher had believed his teachers when they told him that he was brighter and kinder than all the other rocks in his class.  And while he may have seemed hard and cold on the outside, his heart was as soft as the warmest sandstone and as pure as the clearest quartz.  He desired not only to achieve great things, he also desired to love and be loved.  Crusher wanted to be loved not only for his hardness, but loved deeply and fervently for his gentle heart.

That night, when Jeffery Jetson walked into his home, he carried Crusher in both of his hands, protecting him as if he were a precious gem.   Crusher believed that this man could see into his very heart and must truly have loved him for his gentleness.

 

Two 

Crusher sat on the mantelpiece of Jetson’s lounge room.  He had a nice view out of the window, seeing all of the other rocks in the garden.  There were rocks of all shapes and sizes.  Some rocks were pure gold in colour, others were different shades of brown, and there were even some rocks with streaks of blue running across their surfaces

One the second day, after the quarry owner had left for the day, Crusher was gazing out the window when his eyes fell upon a particular piece of shale rock.  This rock had green streaks running through its centre, flecks of black and blue, and in places there were speckles of gold that shone in the sun. 

Crusher thought this shale was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, and he hoped that he might one day have the opportunity to meet this vision.   Crusher dreamed that he may possibly meet the most beauteous rock formation in all of creation.  And if he did meet the shale, what would he say?  What could he say?   Would he even be able to speak

The handsome granite rock had no idea of Jetson’s plans for him, and he felt doomed to sit on the mantelpiece forever.   

That night, the quarry owner returned home with a shiny box that smelled wonderful.  Crusher watched as the man shovelled the yellow and orange mixture into his mouth.  He smiled to himself, thinking that he was in the home of someone who might truly love him.  Although Jetson never spoke to Crusher, he glanced at him and grimaced before pressing a switch on the box in the corner and making the moving colours bounce around.   

Each day, the same thing happened.  Crusher gazed out the window at the gorgeous rock in the garden wishing for the chance to prove his love, and every evening he would watch the fat little man shovelling food into his mouth.  After that, Jetson would glance at him and grimace before staring at the moving colour box.

Then came the day, a week from the time he entered the house of the quarry owner, another rock that was almost as handsome as Crusher was placed on the mantel next to him.  Crusher then found himself picked up roughly and carried to the doorway that led to the outside. 

He was cruelly and carelessly tossed onto the garden outside without a second thought by Jetson.  The beautiful granite rock could not believe the one who had claimed to love him had thrown him out as so much garbage.  Crusher sat dazed, not understanding what had happened to him.  

He closed his eyes, not wanting to cry but not knowing what else to do. 

Before long, Crusher felt something bump his side.  He sniffed and dared to open his eyes and see what had touched him.  To Crusher’s amazement, there, next to him, was the slate rock that he had described to himself as the most beauteous rock formation in all of creation. 

 

Three

“Hi, said the smiling shale.

Crusher was stunned, unable to speak.  His world had turned upside down in less than one week. Not that long ago, he was with his family and friends.  Next thing he knew he was caressed by someone who claimed that he was the most handsome rock that he had ever laid eyes upon.  Without warning he had been tossed out without explanation.  And now, he was staring at the one thing he truly wished for. 

After a few moments of silence the shale continued.  “Don’t you speak Rocklish?”  The shale raised one line of blue before resuming his questioning.  “Maybe Mineral? Or maybe Stonese?”  He paused for a moment and before waiting for an answer, he went on. “Hey, do you speak Stonese?”  

Crusher finally shook himself and stammered,  “Rocklish.  I…I…I speak Rocklish.”

“Good.”  The shale seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.  “Glad to meet you.  I’m Ernie.” 

“Crusher.” The granite introduced himself and then decided that he should really show some manners.  “And it’s good to meet you too.”

The shale was even more beautiful up close, Crusher decided.  The greens and blues were clear and bright, and the black that was dark as night highlighted the gold speckles.  Crusher tried not to stare.  But it was difficult not to stare at the most beauteous rock formation in all of creation when it was sitting right next to you with a large smile on its face.

When Ernie smiled at Crusher, it only reminded him of the heaviness that he was carrying. You see, Crusher had a secret, a secret he had hidden in his heart.  He was never courageous to share his secret with anyone, as he knew that his parents and friends back in the quarry wouldn’t approve. 

Crusher started to wonder if he could keep this secret hidden in his heart much longer.  The object of his dreams was sitting next to him, smiling and chatting and making his heart heavier and his secret more burdensome by the moment.

 

Four

Crusher caught himself at staring at Ernie and forced his eyes to look away.  It wouldn’t do to let his secret be known…even if by accident.  Ernie may have been the object of his affection, even if that affection was one sided and long distance. He was also the first acquaintance that Crusher had made outside of the quarry.  He hoped this acquaintanceship would turn into friendship.  Crusher couldn’t allow his heart to hope for more as it would only lead to rejection and more pain.

“Are you alright?” Ernie enquired.

“Um…yes, I think so,“  Crusher responded, daring to look once again at Ernie. 

“You think so?” 

“Yeah.  I’m fine.”  Crusher rolled a little on the spot to prove it.

“I’m pleased”  Ernie returned the smile, revealing brilliant white crystals which seemed to make the blue streaks that ran across his surface brighter than the sky in the middle of the day. 

Crusher shyly smiled at Ernie.  Was Ernie just being friendly to him and, more importantly, was Ernie friendly like that with every rock he meets?   Crusher couldn’t imagine that there could be more than Ernie wanting to be just friends with him.  

“You get some rest, and in the morning I will introduce you to some of the other stones and rocks in the garden,” Ernie said, then added in a stage whisper, “at least the ones that are worth knowing.” A few groans emanated from around Crusher, but he couldn’t see any farther as it was night time in the garden.

 

Five 

The next morning, Ernie introduced Crusher to all the closest rocks and stones in the garden.  He pointed to a white and grey piece of marble first.

“That is Kerry.”  Crusher rocked a little, in greeting.  “She was one of the first rocks in the garden.”   The granite rock didn’t understand what Ernie meant but would ask him later after he had met the others.  “If you ever have any questions or problems, you just ask Kerry.”

Next Ernie pointed to a yellow sandstone block.  “That is Eric,” Crusher rocked in greeting, but Eric ignored him. 

“Ernie, why…” Crusher began.

“Shh,” Ernie cut off the question before Crusher could finish it. “I’ll explain later.”

Ernie smiled again pretending not to be affected by Eric’s behaviour.  “That’s Charmaine over there in the corner, next to the rose bush.”  The white limestone rocked quickly on the spot to show that she was pleased to meet Crusher. 

“And those little pebbles over there are the quintuplets, Bess, Brenda, Joy, Bill and Alan.” 

“Ease up Ernie, me old mate,” said one of the pebbles. “We aren’t that little!”  And with that the pebbles started giggling amongst themselves.  

Ernie stage whispered again, “I think they are on drugs!” which made the pebbles giggle even more.

“And last but not least is Leonardo.” Ernie indicated a large blackish crystalline rock that seemed to have a rainbow in the centre of it.

“Pleased to meet you sweetie!” said Leonardo in a very effeminate voice.

“Nice to meet you too, Leonardo.”  Crusher was shocked as he had never heard anyone speak like that before, but for some reason, he felt a strange warmth coming from the rainbow crystal.

Then Leonardo winked at him.  Crusher rocked happily on the spot.  He didn’t know why the black rock made him feel that way.  After all they had only just met. 

When Crusher turned back to Ernie, for a fraction of a second he thought he saw sadness in the slates features, almost as if his gold flecks had lost some of their sparkle.  Then, as if it had never happened, Ernie smiled brightly once again.

Crusher was confused but he didn’t know Ernie well enough to ask why, so he just grinned and pretended that nothing had happened. “I don’t know if I will remember everyone’s names,” he said turning slightly one way and then the other. 

“You’ll be right.” Ernie said and rocked on the spot.  Then he leaned over to Crusher, and almost speaking under his breath, he added, “Just stay away from Eric.  He can be a bit narky, if you know what I mean.”

 

Six

They sat quietly in the sun, waiting until the quarry owner had left for the day.  Then Crusher turned to Ernie.  

“Ernie,” he started. 

“Hmmm?” the slate answered. 

“What did you mean about Kerry being the first rock in the garden?” 

“Well, a little while ago, the man who owns the quarry decided that he wanted to be surrounded by beautiful rocks.  He chooses one each week.  Kerry was the first.  She thought she was the only one, and she sat in the house for a while. Then he threw her outside when he found a rock he thought was prettier or more handsome,” Ernie stated matter-of-factly as if he had answered the question many times before. 

“But I haven’t seen any of you at the quarry.  Or even anyone who looks like anyone here before I came here.” Crusher was still struggling to come to terms with everything that had happened to him.

“That’s because we didn’t all come from the same quarry.”  Ernie tried not to sound bitter but wasn’t hiding his feelings very well.  “There is another man who goes and finds us for the quarry owner.  He travels around and asks his friends to help him look for beauteous rocks.  I heard him talking once about his job and how he has to keep it, no matter what he had to do.”  It was clear from the way Ernie was speaking that he didn’t like Jetson, the owner of The Bedrockford Quarry.

“Oh,”  Crusher said and rocked sadly on the spot. “I suppose he was the man who picked me up out of the clay dirt and took me away from my family and friends.”

“Yes.  I think that would be him.” Ernie didn’t want to see Crusher so despondent. “But now we are your family and your friends,” he said and rocked, “well, all of us except Eric.”

“Huh?  What is wrong with Eric?  And why is he cranky?” 

“Ummm…I don’t really know why,”  Ernie answered turning slightly side to side.  Crusher had a feeling that Ernie might have been less than 100% honest with that answer, but then again, he didn’t think that Ernie would lie to him.  After all, Ernie had no reason to lie to Crusher.   Or did he?

“Okay.”  Crusher decided that he would ask Kerry.  She might know.  At least Ernie said that if he had any questions or needed any help, he should ask Kerry. 

Crusher started to get nervous.  He had so many questions still bothering him.  He wondered if Kerry would really tell him the truth?’   And he only just met the yellow sandstone, so did Crusher really want to know why Eric was as ‘narky’ as Ernie claimed he was?  And if it was such a big thing, why did Ernie lie to him in the first place?

 

Seven 

Kerry was relaxing in the afternoon sun when Crusher decided that he couldn’t wait another minute.

“Excuse me Kerry,”  Crusher started.  He was trying to use his best manners and keep the white and grey marble on his side. 

“Yes sweetie?”  Kerry turned his way and smiled.

“Ernie said that you could help me if I had any questions.” Crusher thought he sounded positive and polite, at least to his own ears. 

“Well, I hope so.” 

“It’s about Eric,” Crusher started.  “Why is he ‘narky’ as Ernie says?” 

“Oh,” Kerry looked a little unsure of herself for a moment.  “I guess it’s because he feels a little uncomfortable and outnumbered.  And you know the saying about offence being the best defence.” 

“But what does he have to feel outnumbered about?”  Crusher couldn’t understand it in the least.  “There are more boys than girls around here.  And besides, everyone is different.”

“Different…that is a good word,” Kerry said kindly.  “That is the only thing the same about any of us…our differences make us all the same.”

Crusher rocked on the spot, as if he understood.  But actually he was more confused than ever.  Maybe Leonardo could help him understand.

After bidding farewell to Kerry, Crusher rolled over to where Leonardo sat.  The rainbow that seemed to be in the centre of Leonardo’s crystals appeared to glow in the sunshine.

“Hey Leonardo!”  Crusher rocked on the spot happily.

“You can call me Leo, Honey.”  Leonardo rolled a little.

“Okay Leo...” 

“Yes, Sweet Pea?”  Leo purred like a cat.  Crusher had never heard anything like it.

“Can I ask you something?” 

“Anything, Crushie.”  No one ever called him anything but Crusher, and all of a sudden, he is getting called Sweetie and Sweet Pea and Honey and Crushie.  Crusher didn’t know what to think at first.  But nothing about the rock garden made him uncomfortable.  Maybe he might like being here after all.  

Could it be part of his destiny?  For the first time in his life, Crusher began to really consider his destiny.  

 

Eight

“Leo,” Crusher began, “can you tell me about Eric and why he is ‘narky’?” 

“Oh that’s easy, Sweet Pea.  Eric is ‘narky’ because…”  Leo lowered his voice to just above a whisper, “he doesn’t like us.  He thinks he’s better than us.” 

“Why?”  Crusher whispered.

“He thinks that he should be somewhere else, away from us.” 

“Us?”  It still didn’t make sense. 

“You know.  Us!” 

Was it us as in us boys, or us as in us rocks.  While he was still pondering what he meant by ‘us’, Leo answered him.  “Us multi-colours!  He thinks that because he is one colour he is better than us multi-colours.” Crusher could tell that Leo was exasperated by the whole us and them thing that Eric had going on. 

“But…”  Crusher wanted to know why he hated multi-colours.  That didn’t make sense.  Just because some rocks have several colours and others have only one colour, it doesn’t meant that one is better than the other.  It is just how they are formed back when they were being born.

“It is okay, Crushie.  We have tried and tried to get through to him, but he never listens to anyone but the quintuplet pebbles.  And then that is because they are the only ones who will listen to him and his moaning and complaining.”  From what Crusher had just heard, Leonardo seemed to just want it to be over and everyone to be friends

Without warning, Leo gave a hearty laugh and rolled over and over, finally stopping with a sigh.  Crusher just smiled at Leo’s antics.  He liked Leo and his funny mannerisms and hoped they could be could friends. 

Just then Ernie rolled over to see what was happening.  Crusher noticed that the green in his streaks seemed to be more prominent in the midday sun.   In fact he noticed many things about Ernie. 

 

Nine

Leo had noticed too.  In fact Leo noticed many things.  He noticed the way that Crusher looked at Ernie when he thought no one was looking.  He also noticed the bright smile that Ernie gave Crusher when they first met.  And how bright green Ernie’s streaks became when he was talking to Crusher.  When he looked at the two of them together, he started to chuckle. 

“What are you cackling about Leo?”  Ernie asked with a wink. 

“I see a green eyed rock and a cute little crimson Sweet Pea all standing close together,” Leo sing-songed, and his rainbow seemed to flutter with his words.

The gold in Ernie’s flecks seemed to glow pinkish.  “What are you talking about now?”

“You know what I mean, Ernie,” Leo continued in his sing song manner.  Ernie did know what Leo meant.  He was attracted to Crusher from the minute the granite rock had landed next to him in the garden bed.  Would Crusher reject him if Ernie knew how he felt?

Crusher smiled at Ernie and decided that maybe he could let down his guard.  After all, they were all multi-colours and friends.  And he was sure that he wouldn’t be rejected as a friend by Leo or by Ernie if they found out his secret.

“Well, Ernie.  There is something I really need to tell you.”  Crusher took a deep breath and continued.  “I hope that after I tell you this, you will still want to be my friend.” 

Ernie just nodded and hoped that Crusher was going to say that he liked him.

Leo really wanted to listen in on their conversation but he decided that they needed some privacy.  He knew that whatever happened between them, he would find out sooner or later.  It was a small garden after all.  Leo turned around and started rolling away to leave the two rocks to their own devices.

Crusher was honest with Ernie.  He let him know his secret and that he thought Ernie was the most beautiful rock formation ever created.  Ernie, for his part, told Crusher that he was the most particularly handsome rock he had ever seen.  And that he really liked him and that he wanted to get to know him better.

They rolled together and bumped each other while all the time whispering sweet words to each other.


Epilogue

Ernie and Crusher fell in love while the rest of the garden rocks looked on.  Eventually they were joined by other rocks.   Jetson continued bringing home rocks that he thought were most handsome or interesting.  Jetson also continue showing his short attention span as he got bored with each rock he had and within a week replaced it with a better or more handsome or more interesting rock.    While some of the rocks that came into the garden were multi colours, some were all one colour.  One rock that joined them was Winnie.  Winnie was a beautiful gold sandstone who had a small section of grey green in one corner.   

 When Eric met Winnie, it was love at first sight.  They were inseparable from that moment onward.  Eric didn’t even mind that Winnie was a multi-colour.   In fact, finding out that his girlfriend had a small colouration on one section made him more attracted to her. That was when Eric decided that he could be friends with the multi-colours after all.

The End

 (c) Bev 2007