Epitheton (e-pith’-e-ton): Attributing to a person or thing a quality or description-sometimes by the simple addition of a descriptive adjective; sometimes through a descriptive or metaphorical apposition. (Note: If the description is given in place of the name, instead of in addition to it, it becomes antonomasia or periphrasis.)

There was no mistaking his footprint. His foot was a foot and it left a perfect trace in my garden’s soft soil. There was no mistaking it. Given his weight, “Neighborhood Fats” left a print twice as deep as me. It was clear he was stalking my domesticated asparagus, which he commented on the day before, with a trace of drool rolling off his lip. I was going to catch him and make him pay.

I settled into my garden vigil that night, hoping to nail him. I was dozing off around 11 when I was startled by a grunting sound. It was him! Dressed all in black, he looked like a giant bowling ball or a Kool-aid pitcher filled with 50 gallons of India ink. He was grunting because he was pulling a tarp—pulling it toward my newly sprouted rhubarb! Not only was he dressed in black, but he was wearing one of those ski mask things to conceal his pocked face and giant bushy eyebrows that looked like black bottle brushes when they were uncovered. I picked up a tomato cage. I was going to stab him in the eye with its wire tines. Just as I was about to make him eligible for a seeing-eye dog, I realized he was planting something in my garden. After seeing what he was up to, I couldn’t harm him. I let him wander off, pulling his big green tarp behind him.

The next morning I checked to see what he had planted in my garden. It was 6 pot plants! We’re only allowed three in my state. He was setting me up. I pulled all but three plants. The police came because they had a complaint that there was an illegal pot farm in my back yard. They checked and found nothing illegal and left.

I bought 6 ounces of cocaine and put it under the driver’s side seat of my neighbor’s never-locked van. Then, I called the police. He was wearing his garden marauding suit when the police dragged him in handcuffs out his front door to their waiting patrol car. I yelled: “There is no gardening without humility. Reap what you sow, dickhead!”

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).

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