Tuesday, November 9

The neighborhood is filled with smoke from the lawnmower that won't turn off, no one can see anything, and I keep hearing cars crashing and children crying. I cough and I choke and my eyes water.

"We need to get rid of the mower!" I yell to Mr. Happy Puppet Head over the loud churn of the engine.

"What?" he yells back.

"We need to get rid of it. Maybe push it into the river."

"I'm not paying for a new one." He changes the channel to something with old women talking about their problems, but we can't hear their problems because the tv doesn't get loud enough.

"Fine," I yell. "But let's go push it into the river."

The immediate concern comes up that we have no idea if there actually is a river anywhere near where we live. But we push the mower down the street in the direction we feel it is most likely to find a large body of water. Enormous rabbit prances happily behind us.

I've been trying and trying to figure out what it means that the mower won't turn off and my world is filling with thick black smoke that makes living almost impossible. I have a hard time believing it's just one of those things that hapens. Maybe it's symbolic of my hardworking nature? My work ethic? My strength of character? That makes no sense.

After walking for a little while, I start to get lightheaded and dizzy from all the smoke and noise. We sit down on the sidewalk to take a rest. We soon realize that we are sitting next to a little girl. It's Howie the little girl and her pet old man head.

"Hi Howie, hi Head," I yell. "How are you two doing?"

"Mr. Happy Severed Head!" yells Mr. Happy Puppet Head. "What's up?"

Howie coughs a little cough and yells back, "Just playing."

"That's great," I yell. "Do you know where the river is? We're trying to find a place to put this lawnmower to stop all the smoke."

"I have a pool in my backyard!" she responds. That's close enough for us.

In Howie's backyard, we find a small plastic child's pool. It is filled with green water and thick with fall leaves. Perfect. Me and Mr. Hapy Puppet Head and enormous rabbit carefully hoist the mower up and drop it into the kiddie-pool. The air explodes with mucky water, covering all of us completely with drippy slime. The mower churns on, bubbling and frothing the water with a fury. It takes a long time for it to slow down, gasping for air, belching large puffs of smoke until finally succumbing to the sludge.

We thank Howie and her pet old man head, and tell her that the air should clear up and she'll be able to play without coughing and getting dizzy soon enough.

"I'll miss the smoke," she says. "And the loudness."

And I realize that I just drowned a little part of myself in that kiddie-pool, a part I'm not really understanding yet. Maybe it has something to do with my eating habits? Could eating too much starch cause a landscaping appliance to ignore the laws of physics? And does the fact that I unflinchingly slaughtered the symbol of my malnutrition say something about me? Was that bad luck?

On the way home, we get horribly lost. The smoke probably won't clear for a little while, maybe a few days, and in the meantime we can't see any of our regular landmarks. That night, we sleep in some bushes in someone's front yard. We find out in the morning that they are our bushes in our frontyard.

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