Tales of Grass and Woe, Part 2
Lynn Ames and lawn ornament carnage
Note to reader: See disclaimers in part one.
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I was on my way to do Lynn Ames's yard when I got a call from a customer who I had been contemplating giving up. She was all excited about the barbecue she was having in a couple of days and asked if I could do her place early. Being the sap that I am, I agreed cheerfully.
Margaret Howard was a strange bird. Instead of planting flowers and shrubs like everyone else, she liked to decorate her yard with cheesy lawn ornaments. They were a pain in the ass to mow around, so most of it had to be done with the grass trimmer. I wasn't looking forward to this at all.
To make matters worse, I was already in a foul mood from visiting my last customer. The customer himself was great since he was my uncle. He had a few small business offices that he rented out around town. The mowing was minimal, and he asked me to only come every three weeks.
I pulled up at the one of his offices, and before I could get out of the truck, a cocky little guy strolled up without so much as a hello. "It's about time you got here! How high were you planning on letting this grass get?" he asked as I stepped out and towered over his five-foot-one pudgy frame.
"Allen told me to be here every three weeks," I said calmly, feeling the hair rise up on the back of my neck.
"Well, you need to come more often." He sauntered over to a low spot that was usually a foot deep in water. "I don't like what you're doing with this, either. You need to put your trimmer down in the water, so you can get the weeds growing in this marsh near the root."
"Allow me to explain something to you." I said ever so sweetly. "Allen is my uncle, his name is on the check when I'm paid, so my advice is to call him and tell him what you want. If he agrees and tells me so, then I'll be happy to come more often."
The dumbass actually opened his mouth to say something, but I was not finished. "Furthermore, I have a great relationship with my customers, and the ones I don't, I simply cut loose. Since you just happen to be a thorn in one of those great relationships, I have chosen not to plant you face first in the mini marsh growing behind you, but if you speak to me the way you have today one more time, I'll beat your pudgy ass senseless."
He looked me up and down, and I could see him weighing the odds. "You think you can take me without a weapon?"
The truth is, I had my doubts, but I was more than willing to try. I've learned over the years that if you bluff well enough, it never comes to blows. "I mow grass all day long, and while I might not have the strength you possess, I know I have more stamina. I'll be on your fat ass like a duck on a June bug." For emphasis, I pulled off my I pod just to show I was ready for the challenge.
"I don't hit women," he said smugly.
"I seriously doubt you'll ever have the chance." I adjusted my stance, just in case he was dumber than he looked.
"I'll go call Allen right now," he said as he backed away from me.
I pulled my edger down off the trailer. "Tell him I said hello."
When I was in grade school, I was terribly shy and still am to this day, but I've learned to hide it well. This made me an easy target for school bullies. The one thing I had going for me was that I was a tomboy, and while other girls spent their time playing with dolls, I spent mine climbing trees and playing football with the boys.
One cool October morning while in the third grade, a bully found me sitting alone on the playground. He began to taunt me about having short hair like a boy. I retreated into my shell and ignored him. Seeing that he wasn't getting the desired effect, he tugged on my hair until I was forced to stand.
I'm tender-headed, and before I realized it, I had landed a punch square in the middle of his nose. He let go of my hair and grabbed his face while screaming louder and higher than I ever could. Like a dog, I had gotten my first taste of blood, and the fight was on. I jumped on top of him and pummeled the brat until a teacher pulled me off.
Fortunately, another teacher across the schoolyard witnessed the whole thing and came to my defense. She was the one who walked us both to the principal's office and gave the report. I missed three recesses, but he missed a whole week since he got physical first.
No one ever teased me after that.
After finishing Allen's place, I went to Margaret's house, grumbling when I noticed she had added two more gnomes to the collection. I trimmed around them all and mowed the front yard. I unloaded my riding mower (her name is Cub) from the trailer and headed for the backyard. Something washed over me the minute I entered the sanctuary of grotesque lawn ornaments.
This woman had no less than fifty wooden little boys that looked like they were peeing in the yard. Whoever came up with the idea for this particular work of art must have been deranged. As though in a trance, I dropped the blades on the mower and slammed the handlebars forward. Cub was doing a full ten miles an hour when I plowed the field of pissing boys.
I cut the engine on the mower and pulled my cell phone from my pocket. "Margaret, I'm sorry to tell you this," I lied. "I lost control of the mower and I've made a mess of all the boys peeing in the yard. They'll be no charge for today."
To my disgust, she didn't fire me but said that was fine. I stood in a sea of little wooden boy heads and penises. The carnage was impressive until I realized that I would have to clean it up.
I arrived at Lynn's exactly when I told her I would be there. Even though I had to clean up the evidence at Margaret's, I saved a lot of time not having to use the trimmer. As I made my way to her front steps, I noticed a familiar little face peeking over the holly hedge planted along the walkway. "Well, hi, Lynn, I almost didn't see you there." My greeting was a well-disguised short joke.
She didn't mince words. "Have you called Dusty yet?"
"I did and we're going to have dinner this weekend," I answered with a smug grin.
"Witch," she muttered.
"For someone so small, you sure are cocky."
She twisted her little face into what she thought was a menacing scowl and said the line I am certain she had said a million times before: "Dynamite comes in small packages, honey."
I never missed a beat in our cliché war. "Sure it does, but there's only one big bang, then it's all over. So, how do you want your yard done?" I asked, changing the subject quickly.
"Well, I want it mowed, edged, trimmed, and my driveway blown, all without having to take you to the hospital or calling an ambulance. Oh, and I got you this." She tossed me one of those little doughnuts people sit on after having hemorrhoid surgery. "I figured your butt was still sore after the incident at Kathy's yesterday."
"How thoughtful of you," I said through clenched teeth. "You may want to brew up some coffee when I make you eat this."
"I like you, Sheri," she said with a chuckle before going back inside.
I made quick work of the front yard with the mower, then made my way to the back. I was thrilled to note that her gate was wide enough for Cub to make it through since her backyard was considerably larger than the front. I was met by two very friendly golden retrievers that approached me with tails wagging and toys in their mouths.
Since Lynn was my last customer of the day, I figured it would be a good time to take a break and play a game of catch with my new canine friends. I threw the toys, and they shot off like rockets. We did this for a while until the smaller uncoordinated one came back a little too fast to stop and hit me right in the...well...girl parts with the ball.
I always thought guys just made a big fuss about being hit there to draw attention to their packages, but if they hurt as bad as I did at that moment, I would never belittle them for it again. No pun.
There was no being ladylike when the pup slammed into my girl bits doing a hundred and twenty miles an hour. I made squeaking noises that drew birds from neighboring yards and grabbed myself in a way that I would never do otherwise...even alone.
I returned promptly to my mower and mowed slowly. The lower half of my body had taken a beating in the last twenty-four hours, and I was not going to do anything to injure myself further. Fortunately, I finished the yard without incident.
The younger of the two dogs had other ideas in mind. I noticed that he was chewing on something in the grass. I figured it was just a toy, until a plume of water shot into the afternoon sky. He pranced across the yard proudly with a sprinkler head in his mouth.
Lynn busted out the backdoor, looking in horror at the water that was now filling her yard. "I didn't do it," I said in my defense, afraid she would hit me across the nose with a rolled-up newspaper.
"Parker!" she screamed as the dog ran past her with the sprinkler head.
Apparently, she had been through this routine before and went straight to the cut-off valve and shut off the water. I decided to stay and help, figuring if I had a dog, the same thing would probably happen to me.
We worked in the mud until the head was back in place. "Would you mind turning the water back on so I can see if this is fixed?" Lynn asked.
I sprinted across the yard and turned the valve, hearing a yelp that unmistakably came from Lynn. The pressure from the blast had her short hair standing on end. I cut the water off again and went back to the scene of the crime. Lynn was cursing like a sailor as she readjusted the sprinkler.
I happened to notice she was not wearing a bra and was sporting a light-colored T-shirt. The day was not a loss after all. I got to see her boobies.
TBC @ Lori Lake's house.Return to the Academy