The Homicidal Mower: Part 1

Alicia and I had recently bought a new house. It was bigger than our first home and actually had a yard. Part of the plan was to have a yard so we could get the girls (and us) a dog. As such, we needed a new mower, since our old push mower wasn’t really going to be up to the job of this new yard, but they were expensive, and I was cheap. So-called up my dad who now lived just down the hill from us.

“Hey, dad! You wouldn’t let me borrow your mower would you?” I said.

Just as a side note, while it’s not true of him, I find it very funny to give him a strong southern accent when I read his words in my head, or when I am telling this story out loud to people.

“Well, sure son. Why don’t cha just come on down here and we can take a look at letting ya get a hold of that thing.” Again, use a deep southern accent, it helps.

I drove down to dad’s house and then went through the typical dad lecture about how to use a riding lawn mower without chopping off your own leg and also breaking the mower at the same time. I would recount it here for you, but I am sure you have heard similar lectures from your own dad or dad-type person in your own life. As such, I was soon driving the mower back up the hill to my new house to get busy with mowing the lawn.

It should be noted, that our new house was on top of a fairly large mountain. The road to get to the house is also fairly steep. A solid forty-five-degree angle leads the road to get to our house. Several neighbors’ houses dot the road on the way up to ours. That’s an important note for later, remember that. Anyway, I got the mower to the house and began to mow the lawn. Everything went great, the grass was mowed and the mower did fine. And then it came time to take the mower back to dad’s house.

I got back on the mower and began driving it across the top of the mountain to get to the section of the road where it started to slope down the hill. As I started down the steep slope, the breaks began to do… odd things. They became very touchy. I would barely push on them and they would jerk the whole mower to a complete stop. So I would let off the brake, coast down the hill, and then suddenly slam to a halt. Start, stop. Start, stop. Start, stop. For the first twenty meters or so, this was how it went, and then, suddenly… Snap! The breaks broke.

The mower started speeding up. Faster and faster it began careening down the hill. As it was hitting small imperfections in the blacktop, it felt like I was riding a bucking bull at seventy miles per hour. I kept hitting the breaks, but there was nothing, no response at all. The ride was quickly becoming a dangerous situation. Then an idea sprung into my mind. I noticed my neighbor’s driveway going off to the right and his lawn stretching out flat. At the moment, I thought, “I can just steer the mower over across his driveway and into his yard and the flat grass and friction will slow me down!”

So that was what I attempted to do, I swerved the mower onto his driveway, but there was a problem. What I didn’t see was that the edge of his driveway was sloped up into a ramp. So when I hit the edge of his driveway, it ramped the mower up into a jump! I swear three dogs ran underneath the mower while it was in the air. I landed with a hard crunch in the grass and then another problem became apparent.

I was headed directly for the neighbor’s front door, which was made of etched glass. I remember thinking that the gentle swirling pattern of the glass was going to make for beautiful shards. Trying to turn the wheel was useless, the grass was still wet with dew and I was sliding closer and closer to the door. The mower came to a halt and barely tapped its front bumper on the door. I sat on the mower, my legs upended over the hood, with my arms wrapped tightly over the wheel. I’m sure I looked a sight. Slowly I glanced around, looking to see if any of my neighbors had witnessed me nearly kill myself on the back of a John Deere. No one apparently saw. I quickly put the mower back in gear and coasted the rest of the way down the hill and was able to get the mower back to my dad. His response when hearing the story? “So, what you’re saying is… you broke my mower.”

To be continued…

D. Michl Lowe

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