You would think that the story of this mower would be over, but it’s not. A week or so after that incident, dad had fixed the mower’s breaks and I got a call from him. Again, make sure to read his lines with a heavy southern accent.
“Well hello there son! How are ya do’n?”
“Hey, Dad, what’s up?”
“Well, after fixin’ the mower there, I was thinking about it and decided to go on out and get myself a new mower. So I was a wonder’n if you would like to buy my old mower?”
I thought about it. Yes, this mower had nearly killed me, but it was fixed now and I wouldn’t need to take it down that steep hill again because it would stay at my house. So it should be alright, right? I bought the mower.
Mistakes were made.
That first day that I had the mower I was in the garage and went over to the mower and noticed it was low on gas. So I opened up the hood, twisted off the gas cap, picked up the gas can, filled the tank, and then shut the hood. I started the mower up and got to the mowing process.
If you caught that, you are a step ahead of where I was at the time.
Now, I should mention something about this mower. It was a little old. As such, if the mower was ever shut off without turning the actual key to shut it off (like if you got off the seat the safety switch turned off the engine), it would backfire with a very loud bang. Anyway, I was about halfway through the first lap around the yard, when I found a hole that I didn’t expect. The front tire took a dive into this hole and I took a dive right off the side of the mower and onto the ground. I wasn’t hurt, but of course, the mower shut off using the safety switch under the seat.
As I was getting back up to the mower to make sure it stopped, the engine backfired, and that would be when a pillar of fire went up from the engine ten feet into the air. I would miss that eyebrow on that side. It was my favorite. For that matter, I enjoyed that half of my beard too… and the hair from that side of my head. Smacking my head seemed to put out the flames from that, but then I was faced with a slightly larger issue, the entire mower was not engulfed in flames.
Looking around desperately, I noticed the water hose was on this side of the house. Quickly I ran over to it, it was a good twenty meters from where I was. Upon reaching it, I noticed it wasn’t the kind that cranked, it was one where you had to unloop each loop to get the length of hose you needed, so you couldn’t just pull. I began unlooping the hose! Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip… check distance and amount of hose dispensed… flip, flip… look again, flip. I grabbed the prayer end of the hose and ran towards the mower, which was still burning. I made it three-fourths of the way when I was suddenly jerked to a halt.
Not enough hose!
I ran back to the hose holder again. Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip. Analyzed the distance yet again. Flip, flip. Ran back and grabbed the sprayer end of the hose and made it to the still burning mower. Pointing the nozzle at the mower, I gripped down on the handle to start the flow of the water…
Again, I ran back to the hose dispenser and turned the little wheel to let the water start to flow. Wonk, wonk, wonk, wonk. Looked out to check the flow of the water, wonk, wonk, wonk. Then I ran back to the mower yet again. Picked up the nozzle and began spraying the water all over the mower. There was a sizzle and hiss as the water doused the flames.
I stood there a moment, soaked, burnt, and exhausted. I felt the side of my head and felt the little balls of burned hair. Luckily, other than the hair, I didn’t seem to be hurt. I called dad and told him what happened, yelling at him that apparently his former mower was possessed and trying to kill me since this was the second time. I was pushing the mower up the hill as I was talking to him, the phone sitting on the wet seat.
After asking me if I was okay, he asked, “Did you put the gas cap back on the gas tank inside the hood? I stopped pushing the mower and cocked my head to the side. Then I opened the hood and looked in. There was the engine and the plastic gas tank just behind it. The cap of the tank sat on top of the engine, not screwed onto the tank. “See!” I yelled, “That proves it! The mower took the gas cap off to attempt to kill me!” I went to screw the cap back onto the gas tank and it didn’t fit anymore. That’s what happens when the threads of the opening look like a painting from Salvador Dali. Placing it on top of the opening I hit it with my fist and it snapped into place. “I wonder if it still runs…” I said to myself. I knew the answer before I even turned the key. A mower doesn’t tend to run with all the wiring for it looks like it came off a taffy puller. Pushing the mower back into the garage, I sighed. Apparently, there were only two realities available to me, either I was foolish enough to leave the cap off, or this mower was possessed and out to get me. Obviously, it was the latter.
D. Michl Lowe