If you think Carol would ever trade her lilac bush for anything anyone offered, you're either stupid or crazy.
She lived on several acres of land and kept a few chickens, plus a married pair of goats named Paul and Linda. Even so, Carol had never ridden a horse and never wanted to ride a horse.
That's one reason why, when a man who introduced himself as Jack Saturn approached her about trading her lilac bush for his gray mare, her answer was quick and emphatic: "Absolutely not!"
Saturn left, but returned the next day. He asked again for the lilac bush, but this time he offered to trade his gray mare and a bushel of apples.
"I don't want a horse, and I don't like apples," she said. "And besides, I love my lilac bush. I grew it from a cutting I took from the lilac bush that grew in my mother's yard, where I grew up."
He asked where her childhood home was.
"West Virginia," she said. "I'd give you every bit of honeysuckle I could find, but I can't part with my lilac bush."
He thanked her and left again.
A week later, Saturn knocked on her door. She was sorry she'd opened it when she saw him standing there.
"The answer is still no if you've come to ask me about trading my lilac bush for whatever you want to get rid of this time."
"I don't want to trade anything, now," Saturn said, then plucked a sheet of paper from his leather binder. He waved it once in Carol's direction, then explained what it was. "The law is on my side in this matter."
"This is my property, this yard is mine. You can't just take something from my property."
He laid the paper on his binder and slapped it once with the palm of his hand. "This is a warrant."
Carol rolled her eyes and then scowled at Saturn. "That's not a warrant. And even if it was, I wouldn't care. You aren't taking my lilac bush."
Saturn turned around and walked away without saying anything else to Carol.
Two days later he was back. Carol wanted to scream.
"Are you ready to make the trade?" he asked her. "I'll give you the horse, the apples, and a $20 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. That's my final offer."
"There's no trade. I'm not making any trade," Carol said. "If you don't leave I'll call the police."
"Save your time, don't embarrass yourself. You don't know who you're dealing with," Saturn told her. He took his telephone from his back pocket and held it up for her to see. "I have—I know people, right? I have a lot of—I know people who can make you wish you…"
His voice trailed off and he looked down at the phone. He started tapping the screen, and before he could look back up at Carol with a smirk on his face she'd gone inside. Whoever he was calling still hadn't answered by the time Carol made it back to the porch, a revolver thrust out ahead of her. She used the heel of her left hand to pull the hammer back until it clicked.
"What the hell?" Saturn said. "Is that thing loaded?"
She answered by pointing the barrel of the gun at the sky and squeezing the trigger. The sound was deafening. As Saturn scrambled away Carol cocked the gun and shot it a second time, this time after aiming at his left leg. He fell down, screaming. She pulled the trigger again, burying a bullet in his arm.
She wasn't sure, but he seemed to be fumbling with his phone between screams. She figured he was probably calling 911. She hoped he was trying to reach the people who would make her regret not giving him her lilac bush.
Carol leaned against one of the wooden porch posts, crossing her arms over her chest with the gun still in her hand. She'd be ready for them if they showed up.