It was no surprise when the policeman knocked on our door. There has been a series of thefts in the neighbourhood, all involving gardening tools. Mostly wheel barrows, power mowers and whipper snipers; but some inconsequential smaller implements.

“Just to eliminate you from our investigations, I would like to have look at your garden shed. Nothing personal, we are asking everyone in the area.”

“Certainly”, I replied. We entered the shed and there on the potting bench was a box full of used garden gloves.

“All these gloves are for the left hand. What are you, some kind of Michael Jackson Fan?”

“No sir. There is a perfectly rational explanation for my extensive collection of left hand gloves,” I replied, remaining unruffled by the bullying inspector that had just accosted me in the most reprehensible manner.

“Each of these gloves has born witness to the labour to the death of it’s right hand companion. They have watched and often assisted while the right hand glove undertook tasks both arduous and, at times, dangerous.”

” Gloves don’t do ANYTHING on their own! You wear them while you do things.”

“Not true! These gloves have protected my hands through renovations, stump removals, rubbish dumping trips, and wood cutting, sawing, hammering, drilling..”

“All right, all right. You’ve made your point. But where are the right hand gloves? Answer that!”

“They have been consigned to waste baskets, rubbish bins. Lost in battle with weeds. Destroyed by toxic paint waste. The finger tips ripped by splinters; torn on rusty guttering; Cuffs caught on protruding nails and screws; and occasionally, NICKED!”

“You mean to say someone would stoop to stealing a right hand glove? ”

“Some people cannot cope with the loss of their own right glove, so they compensate by surreptitiously taking a friends. Just a loan, every intention of returning it. But they never do. It is one of the social tragedies of our time.”

“So, just how many of these left hand gloves do you have?”

“Thirty two at last count. I do make a conscious effort to keep track of them.”

“And how many Right Hand gloves do you currently have?”, he growled as he pawed through my collection.

“Three, if you count this one with the hole in the index finger. I’ll have to make a trip to the hardware store soon.”

He was apparently satisfied with my explanation and said his goodbyes, with a final warning to keep the shed locked.

As he left, I turned to the garden shed cupboard, pressed the concealed latch and pulled open the hidden drawer. There they were. Thirty two pristine right hand gloves. And room for many more. None of them matched of course. My Garden Club friends all buy different brands. I’m very discerning about what I borrow.

© F.C Mickey Benefiel