By Casey Calhoun, White House Assistant Gardener
From Dorothy St. James's "Flowerbed of State"
Good gracious, it's wonderful to meet you! I'm Casey Calhoun, Assistant Gardener at the White House. It took me a while to get here because I had to wait for permission from the East Wing to participate on this blog. The White House frowns on any kind of showboating or self-promotion on the part of the staff.
I agree with them on this one hundred and ten percent. The First Family's lives should remain private. Besides, I'm a team player and have never felt comfortable being the center of attention.
But I do have permission to tell you this much: the First Lady, Margaret Bradley, has tasked me with developing an organic gardening program for the gardens and lawn. The reason for her very special project is XXXXXX
Seth Donahue, I swear, don't you dare censor me.
As I was saying, the reason for her special project is a SECRET. (Not even Seth, the First Lady's social secretary, knows why. That Margaret Bradley would trust me with the secret and not him has Seth seething with jealousy.)
My love for gardening and for the land comes from my grandmother Faye, who also taught me how to act like a good Southern lady (although I can't say I always make her proud on that account. I have a bit of a wild streak in me.) Grandmother Faye and my aunts Abla and Willow raised me in the historic City of Charleston, South Carolina.
Oh my, the gardens in Charleston are drool-worthy! The loveliest of them all is, of course, my grandmother's. Her garden wraps around the old family estate in the South of Broad neighborhood, providing stunning colors and textures ten months out of the year.
You'd think I'd lead a quiet life, but *sigh* trouble seems to find me. I'd only been working at the White House for a few months when XXXXXXXXX
Seth, I’m warning you. The Communication's Director has approved that I write this. Go read her letter if you don’t believe me.
Where was I? Oh yes...I'd only been working at the White House for a few months when...
I stumbled across a dead body in Lafayette Square!
She'd been stuffed into a trashcan.
Now everyone at the White House is worried about what is happening. The Secret Service believe that President John Bradley might even be in danger!
If you were in my shoes, I know you wouldn't sit on your hands and hope for the best. I saw something in that park that pre-dawn morning. If I ask a few questions, I'm sure I can trigger a forgotten memory that will help the Secret Service puzzle out what is happening and why.
Easy-peasy, as my Aunt Willow would say. What harm could come from asking a few questions?
Dorothy St. James writes the White House Gardener Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. Flowerbed of State will be published May 3, 2011 (NEXT MONTH!) Visit with Dorothy on the web or at Facebook.