Cut Down

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Stories

Desperate for money, I mowed my neighbor’s lawn and tried focusing on the nice weather and the twenty-five dollars waiting for me inside. When I was about halfway done with the front, this old Portuguese man walked by with his dog. I was dumping the fresh, wet grass into the compost bag when he said, “You still have a lot to do, my friend!”

I was annoyed that he tried talking to me. I was doing my thing, he was doing his thing… why couldn’t we just leave it at that? I smiled while stuffing the grass down, trying not to sneeze, and said “Ah, don’t remind me.”

“You know, my son, he take care of lawn, but not no more.” That’s great. Please keep walking. “Now I has to take care of lawn. It’s a bitch.”

“Yeah, I know how that is,” I lied. This was the first time I’d touched a lawnmower in years.

“So I stop taking care of lawn. Why bother? I wait two months. Summer get hot. It get too hot for grass. I like that. Hot sun just burn away all the grass! Much easier. You just gotta wait.”

This was funny, I had to admit. I imagined him sitting shirtless in a lawn chair on his driveway watching the rest of his yard turn to asphalt as the sun burned his leathery skin around a huge goofy grin on his face. Scotts lawn care wouldn’t be calling him for an endorsement anytime soon. “That would be easier,” I said.

He adjusted his cap and the dog sniffed the curb and I fastened the bag back onto the mower. Maybe now he’d leave.

“It’s a good lawn, though,” he said.

“It’s not mine.”

“That’s okay. It’s still good. You do good job. Maybe I won’t let sun burn mine this year.” He smiled as he said it.

“The grass likes it best when it isn’t burned to a crisp,” I said.

He laughed and said, “You think it like what you do more?”

“Well someone has to cut it, right?” I was only talking to him now. All I had to do was rev the mower and he’d leave. “If I don’t cut it, it grows wild and you wouldn’t walk past here anymore, would you? It would be ugly.”

“It’s a lot of work, isn’t it?” he said.


The dog pulled toward the telephone pole.

“Enjoy your work.”

“Enjoy your sun.”

“Good luck,” he said.

“Good luck,” I said. “Take care.”

So I made my twenty-five bucks from mowing the neighbor’s lawn and I’ll be back next month to mow it again because it’s grass and grass keeps on growing back… but it’s okay, because now I know that the last thing I want is to watch it all burn.

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