Rebecca Paradise

When you see crepe murder you must stop and take a picture.

It’s that most glorious time of the year, when Grumpy and his fans shame neighbors, cities, businesses, and “landscrapers” for committing crepe murder—the senseless practice of reducing beautiful crepe myrtles to ugly stumps in winter and spring. As instructed, readers snuck around with their smart phones and captured some truly epic crimes this year. Out of those, we selected 9 winners for Crepe Murder 2017, all of whom will receive a signed copy of Grumpy’s new book when it comes out this fall! To see the top 3 winners for this year's Crepe Murder, click here.

Winner 4: Caught in the Act! Crepe Murder 2017

Smart phones are wonderful things. They let you browse the internet, play your favorite music, read your mail, pay bills, order pizza, keep up with the news, direct you to your destination, and even call people. (Although if you’re calling my son, it’s important that you text him first so he can decide whether you’re worthy for him to pick up.)

When it comes to crepe murder, though, a smartphone’s most valuable asset is its camera. It allows you to record heinous crimes against nature quickly and surreptitiously without the perp’s knowledge. Of course, sometimes the perp is a yard man, in which case he probably thinks his work is destined to win a prize.

Such was the experience of our fourth winner in Crepe Murder 2017, Rebecca Paradise in Spanish Fort, Alabama. “The yard man had trouble understanding why I wanted to take a picture,” she writes. “He seemed really proud I was going to enter it in a contest until I gave a brief explanation. Poor guy.” Indeed.

Don’t worry, yard man. It’s not your fault and we will not identify you. If the homeowner tells you to maim his crepe myrtles that way, you can’t say no or you won’t get paid. Grumpy Nation holds you blameless. The homeowner on the other hand…….we shall pray for him.

Instances like this one are another prime cause for crepe murder. People see neighbors reduce trees to stumps every spring and conclude it must be necessary. It’s a copycat crime. Heaven help us if people start hanging spray-painted turkeys from their trees at Thanksgiving. (If they do, I’m painting mine orange.)

Rebecca’s prize for this winning entry is a signed copy of Grumpy’s new book due out this fall. She is weeping now.

Winner 5: Crepe Murder and the Three Bears

 Marla Blitz

Committing your first crepe murder can be intimidating. How do you know how far to go? Should you create a Big Ugly, a Middling Ugly, or a Little Ugly? This homeowner in Durham, North Carolina has all the bases covered.

Submitted by Marla Blitz, the yard in the photo above seems right out of a fairy tale. “Once upon a time,” Marla writes, “Goldilocks got her hands on some pruning shears. Inspired by the three bears’ s house, she made one tree small, one tree big, and one in-between. And none was just right!”

There was a reason behind the madness, she thinks. The house had just been put on sale and the owner was pulling out all the stops in order to curb its appeal.

I’d say it worked. Another successful project by your friends at Huffenpuff Landscraping.

For this fairy tale entry (taken from Grimm’s Fairy Tales is my guess), Marla wins a signed copy of my new Grumpy book due out this fall.

Winner 6: Rest in Peace—Crepe Murder 2017

 Evelyn Tilson

In a classic episode of the “Star Trek” TV series called “The Immunity Syndrome,” Spock observes that humans “find it easier to understand to death of one than the death of a million.” OK, there may not be quite a million butchered plants interred in this crepe myrtle graveyard, but Spock was right. What conscienceless enterprise would take on a mission to go where no crepe murderer has gone before?

Welcome to the Western Technology Center in Weatherford, Oklahoma. Notice the huge pillars supporting some gigantic sign whose grandiloquent message to humankind seems to be, “Hey, look at me. I’m big.”

Evelyn Tilson, who sent in this winning entry, wants you to know that the carnage you see here is but a small section of the grand entrance. Dozens of crepe myrtles met their doom so that the world might know that in Oklahoma, technology is as high as an elephant’s eye. Is this appalling act destined to be repeated in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman? Sooner or later.

Evelyn, you’ve just won a signed copy of Grumpy’s new book due out this fall. In return, he asks only that your consecrate this hallowed ground with plastic flowers on all federal holidays.