Maria Russo was sad. Her one and only Joey had died. She had a son Joey, he was in good health and was a good boy, always had a place in his heart for Mama Russo, but this Joey was a special unique Joey, it was Maria’s canary. He was a good age for a canary, almost ten years old and he was everything for Maria. He would sing in the morning and she would wake up to his familiar song. He died in the night. If an autopsy had been performed the vet would have told Mama Russo that it was his heart. It just stopped beating, but after so many years, for a canary, this was to be expected.
She put her little canary in a small box, lined with a small silk scarf and buried him in the garden in a nice sunny place. She had the feeling he could carry on singing in his little canary heaven when the sun was shining. Heavy of heart she cleaned the cage and put everything away. She decided to spread the remainder of the bird seed over Joey’s grave. At least he would have his favourite meal growing around him. Her son Joey always bought the bird food and told her he grew nicely as it was top quality seed.
Time went on and she noticed a nice little garden growing where Joey had been buried. She was already thinking about getting another Joey when she heard the screeching of car brakes outside her door and someone pounding on the door.
“Open up, at once otherwise we will be forced to break the door down.”
Maria Russo was an elderly small grey haired lady and was quite shocked by the noise, so she rushed to see what was wrong and was confronted by two men, two police officers and a police car was parked before the door. It was then that a police van also arrived.
“Can I help you officer?” she wanted to say but was cut off midway in her sentence by the men at the door that rushed past her into the garden at the back of the nice little neat house where she lived.
“Here it is men; a nice example of evidence, all growing bushy and almost ripe for picking. The men that had arrived in the van were also now on the scene armed with shovels and started digging some plants out of the garden. Maria was shocked.
“What are you doing? Please stop, that it my Joey’s grave that you are digging up.”
“You have a dead body here as well?” asked one of the plain clothes police officers.
“Did you hear men; the case is more serious than we thought. Looks like murder is also concerned. Put the plants in the van and we will dig further.”
They were slightly embarrassed when they discovered the remains of Joey the canary, but nevertheless it did not deter them from taking the plants away in the van.
Maria Russo was taken in the police car to the station and charged. Her crime was the growing of cannabis plants with the intention of selling the finished product. Maria was shocked and said she was innocent and did not even know that the plants growing around Joey’s grave were forbidden. She found it a sweet memorial to his life and was glad that they had grown so strong and tall. Maria started to cry at the police station and a police lady asked if she would like to call a lawyer.
“I don’t have a lawyer” she answered “but if I could call my boy Joey I would be glad.”
And so Maria called her son.
“Hello mama, how are you. I was coming to see you this afternoon. Is there a problem?”
“Oh Joey, you must help me. I am at the police station.”
“Mama what are you doing at the police station. Were you burgled?”
“No Joey, the police just arrived and took me to the station where I have been charged. Something about the plants growing in my garden, you know where I buried Joey my canary. They say the plants are not allowed.”
“What plants mama?”
“You know those tall ones with the seven leaves on one stem. They say that they are not allowed. Something to do with …”
“What did you say they were called officer?”
“Cannabis Mrs. Russo.”
“Oh, Joey they say they are called Cannabis. Is that bad?”
“Mama, I will be down at the station in five minutes. Don’t answer any more questions, keep quiet and wait for me.”
So Joey called his lawyer, Alfredo Gianni, and arrived at the police station with Alfredo.
“Officer I demand you let my mother go at once. How can you arrest a sweet little old lady on the charge of planting Cannabis. My mother does not even know what it is.”
“Joey, I will deal with this” said Alfredo.
“Joey my boy, and Alfredo, nice to see you both; how is your mama Alfredo and the bambini, I have been wanting to see you for some time. I heard that Gina has just presented you with another son. Send her my best wishes.”
“Thank you Mrs. Russo, I will tell her, but first of all we have to settle the problem of the plants in your garden. Officer, I am sure that Mrs. Russo grew these plants without knowing what they were. Have they been tested for the level of THC?”
“Yes, Mr. Gianni and it seems it is quite high”
“Joey, what’s all this about THC, is that something good for you?”
“No mama, it is not good for you.”
“Do you think that is why my Joey died? Perhaps he ate too much of it.”
“Officer, I hope you are listening to this conversation between my client and her son. It is obvious that Mrs. Russo has no idea what sort of plants were growing in her garden. I am sure this is a complete misunderstanding.”
“Well all I did was to put the remaining canary seed into the garden after I buried my Joey. They made such a nice little garden in his memory.”
“The fact remains that your mother Mr. Russo and your client Mr. Gianni, was growing cannabis plants in her garden containing a high percent of THC; enough to satisfy a lot of people.”
“Joey, I want to go home” said Mrs. Russo with tears in her eyes.
“OK officer, you heard. My client is completely unaware of what is going on and would like to go home.”
“No problem Mr. Gianni, as soon as things are cleared. In the meanwhile she can have a single room in our hotel down in the cellar.” And Maria was taken to a cell.
Joey was furious and Alfredo Gianni told him not to worry. Alfredo phoned his brother, Nuncio, who was a well known judge in the town and told him what had happened. An hour later Maria Russo was in her son’s car on her way home.
“Thank you son, for the help. If it had not have been for you and Alfredo I would still be at the prison. Please son, the next time that you have no room left on our family plantation just don’t bring the plants to me. I have too many nosy neighbours who see what grows in my garden. I just cannot bring that story with the bird seed any more.”
“Don’t worry mama, in future we will keep the weed to ourselves.”
“I knew you were a good boy Joey. By the way I have invited Alfredo and his family to dinner on Sunday. You should come as well with the children. It is such a long time since the family have been together, and I am sure we will have a lot to talk about.”