“Honey, when are you gonna get around to mowing that lawn? It’s getting kinda high out there.”
Her voice pierced the murky veil of my sleep and woke me with a start. The funky dream didn’t help matters either. Women just don’t seem to
understand that men need some time to wind down after a long week at the factory doing hard, monotonous labor. Saturday was my day to kick back, watch
the game on TV and catch up on a little sleep.
I cracked my eye open and saw that the game was still on. They were just getting to the 7th inning stretch. “I’ll look into it after the game is
over, hon.” I rolled over on the couch and fell back to sleep.
“You know, that grass isn’t gonna mow itself.”
Her voice made me jump. How much time had gone by? Damn, the game was over, there goes my excuse.
“I let you sleep for an extra hour but, you better get started soon before it starts getting dark.”
I stood up and cracked my back. Note to self; get a more comfortable couch to sleep on when we have some extra money. Extra money; there was a funny
idea. I hear that only exists in some murky urban legends. I’ve never seen any and I doubt I ever will. Got a better chance of seeing a
I walked out to the back porch to survey the situation. The hose was still pulled out across the lawn and her garden tools were lying about on the
lawn near her vegetable garden half way to the shed at the back of the yard where the lawnmower was kept. Great, not only do I have to mow the lawn, I
also gotta clean up after her mess as well.
The lawn was looking a bit unruly but, it wasn’t too bad yet. I might be able to get away with letting it go just one more week.
“I think it looks OK for now. The best height for grass is 2 ½ to 3 inches, you know. It helps promote root growth to help keep the weeds away.”
She just rolled her eyes but, didn’t press the issue.
It’s the truth you know, I'm not making this stuff up. Grass really does have an optimum height of about 3 inches. As grass grows, it expends much
of its energy trying to get the blades large enough to absorb the proper amount of sunlight. When we keep cutting it back, it constantly expends all
its energy trying to reach its optimum height. If we allow it to reach that height however, it begins to use more of its energy to expand its root
base. Thicker, deeper roots crowd out the weeds and make the grass more hardy when dry weather comes along because it can get its water from deeper in
Anyway, she bought into it for now. Looks like I bought myself a reprieve for at least another week.
Time went by, another grueling week at work passed and the weekend was just round the corner but, I was brought down by a nagging sense of dread. She
was gonna expect me to mow that lawn this weekend and I just didn’t want to do it. Spending my valuable time away from work doing even more work
around the house just seemed so unfair somehow. Especially working on the lawn.
It didn’t always bother me. I used to enjoy my time communing with nature and looking after the property that I owned. Or at least I pretend that I
own it. I had to write the bank a huge check every month to remind me who really owned it. Still, being outdoors in the sun and wind used to have a
calming effect on me. Now, all I could see was a chore that must be avoided.
The weekend came and I curled up on the couch in front of the game. I promised her I would get to the lawn as soon as the game was over.
I woke with a start. That weird dream again. It was almost as if I was still inside the dream; colors were murky and the light seemed to waver on the
walls in an unnatural way. Then I heard the loud BOOM and I realized what had woke me up. It looked like a nasty thunderstorm was passing through the
area. The rain running down the windows cast strange shadows on the walls creating an unnatural feel.
“The weatherman says this storm system is gonna stick around for the whole weekend. I told you, you should have cut the grass last week. Now look
how long it’s getting…”
I didn’t care; I had gotten out of it for another week. Who cares what the neighbors think? I sure didn’t. Most of them were jerks anyway; A bunch
of idiots who scalped their lawns twice a week. Then they wondered why their yards were so full of weeds. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
“Wake me up when dinner is ready OK?”
Another week went by but, this time we had to go to a wedding for one of her damned friends. Getting dressed up for a bunch of people I hardly know
and eating rubber chicken normally wasn’t the way I liked to blow my weekend. I usually hated these things but, at least it got me out of cutting
the lawn for another week. Just the thought of going out there made my heart skip a beat. It’s irrational, I know but, for some reason I just
couldn’t stand the idea of going out there to cut the damn stuff.
Now it was getting really long and would be twice as hard to cut; one more reason to not look forward to the ordeal when I finally got time to take
care of it. Procrastination had its advantages sometimes but, it often made the job more difficult when it finally came time to face the music.
The next weekend, I curled up on my usual spot on the couch, ready to watch the game again.
“You’re gonna get to the grass this week, right?”
“Sure hon, as soon as the game is over.”
What she didn’t know is that they were playing a double header this week. The last time they had faced this team, one of their games got rained out
so they had to make it up this week. With any luck, the games would go long and it would be too late to get to the lawn when it was all over.
Stratergey; it works every time.
Finally, I could avoid it no longer. It had gotten way out of control and the time had come when I must go out and tame the lawn.
Heavy rains and procrastination had taken their toll on the lawn. It was a beautiful dark green, like healthy grass is supposed to look with no weeds
in sight. It was thick and rich and it had also grown up to about my thighs. Not
good that last part there. I never should have let it go for so long; cutting grass back more than about a third could damage the plant, making it
more susceptible to the sun and disease. I had no choice though; I had let it get way too far out of control.
I started out for the shed at the back of the yard. We used to keep the mower in the garage, where stuff like that is supposed to go but, the wife’s
stupid yard sale crap had taken over long ago and I was forced to buy that shed to keep all the lawn care tools in. Our last kid had finally moved out
last year and she was still trying to sell off their baby clothes and toys and stuff. It seemed like she never sold any of that crap and I suspected
she was actually bringing home more garbage after her yard sale weekends. The worst part is that we live on a secluded street and she always had to
load up my truck with all of that trash to take it to her friend’s house to have the yard sale. Somehow, I was the one who always had to load up all
the stuff and unload it again. One of these days, I’m just gonna drive off with that crap and dump it all off at Goodwill or something…
The wind blew across the yard making the grass sway back and forth like an African savannah. "Wonder if there's any lions hiding in there?" I
thought to my self jokingly as I walked across the lawn. It was the perfect day for such an undertaking; the sky was mostly clear with a few big, fat,
puffy, white clouds slowly making their way across the sky. The temperature was damn near perfect; just a little bit hot but, with the occasional
breeze to help cool you down. At least I had that going for me.
I had reached the half way part across the lawn when I started to notice it. On my legs, I kept feeling these light, stinging sensations that barely
seemed to register on my consciousness. It felt like spider webs grabbing and dragging across my skin but, with a subtle prickling sensation. I
didn't see any spider webs in the grass though and didn't pay it much mind at first. It actually felt kinda neat on my legs.
Then the sensation started to feel a bit sharper, a little more painful and I noticed something wet on my legs. I looked down and saw that there were
dozens of small red lines crisscrossing my legs. Then I noticed the blood dripping out from some of the larger lines. Something had been making cuts
into my legs as I had been walking. I didn't see any animals moving about in the grass and there didn't seem to be any unusual insect activity
Then I looked at the long, tall blades of grass. Surely, they couldn't get sharp enough to do all that. I held my hand out to touch one and felt a
prick as my finger made contact. Sure enough, I had what looked like a nasty paper cut on my finger and I had barely just grazed it. I guess I picked
a bad day to wear shorts.
I looked around me; I had gotten past the half way point in the yard, just past where my wife kept her garden. I was gonna have to go through a lot of
that grass to get out of this, no matter which way I went. I decided to try to make it to the garden to see if there was anything there I could use to
protect my legs.
Suddenly, another cool summer breeze swept across the yard. Normally, it would feel refreshing but, it set the blades of grass to swaying and each
time one touched my legs, it opened up another painful cut. I tried walking slowly but, the grass was digging in deeper into my skin now, leaving
painful cuts everywhere. I decided to make a break for it and started running to the safety of the garden. The blades seemed to be getting thicker and
stiffer, digging in ever deeper into the exposed skin of my legs. I started to feel a bit lightheaded from the blood loss but, I was getting so close
to that garden. A couple of more steps and I would be out of this mess.
Then, I felt something grab on to my ankle from deep inside the grass. It felt like a snake or something had wrapped around my ankle and was trying to
prevent me from getting outside the grass. I doubled my efforts to get to safety but suddenly, I felt a big jerk on the thing holding my foot and lost
my balance. I started falling towards the sharp, pointy blades of grass that seemed to have taken on the aspect of real blades. I turned my back into
the fall to prevent damage to my face and neck but I could feel the blades penetrating into my legs, then my back and finally into the back of my
I screamed out in terror, knowing that this was the end for me.
I sat bolt upright in bed. I was covered in sweat and my pulse was pounding in my ears. I was sure I had called out this time but, she was sleeping
soundly beside me like nothing had happened. That Goddamn dream again. I had been having it off and on for the past few weeks and now, it seemed to be
occurring more often. What I couldn’t figure out is; if I kept having the same dream over and over, why didn’t I figure out what was coming at the
BEGINNING of the dream and just stay the Hell off the damn lawn? I guess you never learn in your dreams. History really is destined to repeat
That was the reason I didn’t want to mow the lawn. It wasn’t just laziness that caused me to shun this chore (although, that did play a part, I
admit). The dreams had created an irrational fear of mowing the lawn in me. At first, it reinforced my laziness but now, it seems to have taken over.
I can’t even think about mowing that lawn without breaking out in a cold sweat.
I got up from the bed to go to the bathroom, passing a little gas as I stood. “ew.” I turned around and saw her waving her hand back and forth
with her eyes still closed, trying to fan away the smell. Typical; she sleeps through me screaming in my nightmares but, can wake up just
to fan away the stink when I fart. I made sure to let out another burst as I passed by her side of the bed.
I went into the bathroom and splashed some water on my face, trying to calm down after that damned dream. This was starting to get ridiculous! Who the
hell is afraid of their own lawn? I had been putting this off for weeks and now, my home looked like some abandoned foreclosure house. People were
starting to talk; they were referring to my yard as “The Serengeti”.
I resolved that I was going to take care of this, once and for all, tomorrow. I would call out sick from work, go to Home Depot and rent one of those
giant weedwackers on wheels that they used to cut the really tall grass and chop that forest down! That’s it. I’m doing it tomorrow, no excuses
and no turning back.
“Well it’s about time you got serious about this” she said as I unloaded the Swisher Trimmer Lawn Mower® from the back of my truck. “yeah, I
think this’ll do the trick. It should cut down the big stuff enough so I can mow it nice and neat with the regular mower. I even picked up some yard
bags to pick up all of the grass when I’m done.”
“Well, you have fun with that.” She said as she turned to go back inside the house. Typical; she never even though of offering to help. Then she
wonders why I don’t offer to help clean up around the house anymore.
All in all the day was going fine; I hadn’t experienced any of the anxiety I had usually been experiencing when faced with the prospect of mowing
that lawn and now, it looked like even the weather was ready to cooperate. It was sunny with a steady, calming breeze and only a few light, fluffy,
white clouds up in the sky. You couldn’t ask for better conditions than this.
I rolled the Swisher Trimmer® to the back of the driveway and prepared to tear into that damn lawn. By God, I was gonna overcome this fear and kick
I yanked on the pull rope and nothing happened, not even a sputter. I tried adjusting the choke and gave it another go. Nothing, just great. I hope I
don’t have to drag this thing all the way back to Home Depot and get another one, that is if they even have another one laying around.
I decided to give it a quick look over to see if I could figure out what was wrong. Everything looked in good condition until I opened the gas tank.
Empty, of course. Why should I expect it to come with gas after all I had paid out to rent the thing for the day? Typical cheap bastards.
I had a full gas can out in the shed, next to my mower. All the way in the very back of the yard behind all of that waist-high grass…
“It’s OK, I can handle this.” I said as sweat started to break out on my brow. I took a few steps toward the grass and immediately felt my blood
start pounding in my ears. “It’s just some stupid grass you asshole, there is NOTHING to be afraid of” I told myself. I didn’t sound too
convincing though. My voice began to waver.
“I can do this.” Real grass doesn’t cut people and besides, I had worn my long pants just in case. I put my hand out gingerly and brushed it
across the tops of the blades of grass. It bent over gently, the way real grass is supposed to do. “See, it’s just normal grass nothing to worry
about. Now get out there, grab that gas can and let’s get this over with.” My voice sounded a little more steady now. Just a little bit but, it
was an improvement.
I started to walk into the grass and immediately felt my breath catch in my throat. I made an effort to take a few deep breaths and took a few more
steps into the lawn. By now, I was sweating bullets and my hands were starting to shake but, the grass was definitely regular normal grass, not the
lawn from my nightmares. If I could just keep going, I would be able to cut it down to size and take back my life from this irrational fear.
A few more steps, a few more deep breaths. I was making my way to the back of the yard, a few steps at a time. I wasn’t exactly kicking this fear in
the ass but, I was making progress toward overcoming it and a smile spread across my face. I was past the half way point, just past the wife’s
garden, almost to my goal when it
Suddenly, out of nowhere a huge, grey cloud floated across the sky and covered the Sun. The world took on a surreal cast with everything appearing in
gloomy shades of blues and grays. A strong breeze whipped up and set the grass to swaying back and forth in menacing fashion. The normal sounds of
summertime ceased. No birds were singing no cicadas were chittering. The gnats that seemed to be always present whenever you set foot outside were
even mysteriously absent. It was a quiet you could cut with a knife.
I looked around and realized that I was in the exact same spot as where the grass always started cutting me in my dreams. I was soaked in sweat by
this point and my mouth started feeling parched. My hands were shaking badly and I was having trouble keeping my breath. I was afraid I might begin to
hyperventilate and pass out.
The grass was swaying back and forth in the gloomy grayness. I could feel myself beginning to lose control but, there was nothing I could do about it.
I tried taking a deep breath but it got caught in my throat. I felt like the world was closing in around me and I knew I had to get out of there. At
least I had to get out of the grass and try to compose myself before going any further.
I began moving toward the garden but, with every step I took, it seemed to only get further away. I began to run in my panic screaming “Help! Get it
away from me! Make it stop, make it stop!”
Then, I felt something catch my foot. It wrapped around it and I couldn’t get it loose, no matter how much I tried to kick it away from me. “Let
me go! Help!” I shouted. I was still trying to run while fighting to disentangle myself from whatever it was under the grass trying to hold me back.
I lost my balance and began to fall backwards. This was just like in my dream! I was going to be torn apart by the grass and there was nothing I could
do about it.
“NOOoooo” I shouted.
“I’m not buying it.” Said the deputy shaking his head at the coroner’s inquest. “It just doesn’t make any sense.”
“What part of accidental death don’t you understand?” asked the detective shifting in his chair to look at the deputy.
“I was the first one on the scene when this happened. I saw the look of terror on that poor guy’s face. All of the neighbors heard him shouting
for help before it happened and there’s no freakin way that could have penetrated the back of his skull from a fall of just a few feet. The wife
must have killed him.”
“You wanna fill out all the paperwork involved in a homicide investigation? Be my guest.” said the detective, throwing a thick sheaf of paperwork
toward the deputy. “The neighbors saw the wife come out of the house after the incident and there were no signs of anyone else being in that yard
before the body was found. Case closed and thank God. I hate doing paperwork and besides, the wife was obviously distraught.”
“Seriously, a cultivating rake just happened
to be laying on the ground
under all that grass with the points facing up and that guy just happened
to get his feet tangled in the garden hose left strewn across the
yard and he just happened
to fall down in the exactly right place to have that rake penetrate his skull and sever the spinal cord. You mean to
tell me you buy that load of hoo-ha?”
“Honestly, I really don’t give a damn. The coroner has handed down his decision and who the Hell am I to question it? I’m a nobody with no fancy
medical diploma hanging on my wall, and so are you. Rome has spoken, now get over it.”
“I still think there’s more to this story than meets the eye.” “
“Aren’t there some tickets out there somewhere you should be writing?” The deputy grumbled something under his breath as he went back out on
patrol and the detective went back to working on his crosswords.
“Kids these days, there’s no pleasing ‘em”