Humor Non-Fiction posted September 7, 2016

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Tom doesn't want the neighbor to borrow his lawn mower.

Don't Open the Door

by Thomas Bowling

There was a knock on the door. Tom peeked out the window.

“Don't answer that.”

“Why not?” Carol asked. “It's our next door neighbor, Justin.”

“I know it's Justin. That's why I said not to answer it.”

“You're strange. He sees me. I have to answer it.”

“Tell him to go away. Tell him he can't come in right now.”

“What should I tell him?”

“I don't care. Tell him anything. Tell him you're sick.”

Carol opened the door. “Hi, Justin. I'm sorry, you can't come in right now. I think I have zika.”

“Why would you think that?” Justin asked.

“I've been reading about it on the internet. I think I have the symptoms.”

Not to say Carol is a hypochondriac, but she comes down with every malady she reads about online the very next day. The last time she saw her doctor he told her to stay off the internet.

Justin looked confused, but went away. He told his wife, “Those two get weirder everyday.”

It all started three weeks ago when Justin borrowed Tom's riding lawnmower. Tom had an ancient Wizard rider. It was old, but performed flawlessly. He took it in for a tune up and the repair man said, “They don't make them like this anymore.”

Justin had an equally ancient push mower. To say Justin neglected his yard would be putting it mildly. He always let his grass get knee high before he mowed it. One day, Tom watched as Justin fought the grass which had long ago turned to weeds. He struggled with his push mower, stalling out every six feet. Tilting it up sometimes prevented a stall, but not often. As usual, it was a hot day in Florida. For some reason, Justin always waited till high noon to start his yard work. It was 98 degrees, with a feels like temperature of 400.

Tom watched for half an hour. Justin had completed two passes. Tom walked over and said, “Justin, why don't you borrow my rider?”

Justin looked at his “grass” and said, “I don't know. I might as well finish with mine.”

“Suit yourself,” Tom said and turned and walked toward his house.

“Wait a minute,” Justin said. “On second thought, I'll take you up on that.” Justin walked over, got the lawn mower and finished his lawn in record time. Anything less than three days would have been a record breaker. When he brought the Wizard back he said, “Next time I'll mow both yards. I see you've got a new cordless weed wacker. I'll trim both yards too.”

“That'll be great,” Tom said. He didn't mow his yard because he liked to. He mowed it because he owned the property. It was pride of ownership. Something Justin would never understand.

The next week, the grass was starting to get deep, but no Justin. Maybe he thought you were supposed to let the grass get two feet high before you cut it. Tom backed the lawn mower out of the garage. It had a flat tire.

Tom kept a can of Fix-A-Flat in the garage for just such emergencies. He inflated the tire and started to mow his lawn. Loren, Justin's wife came running over. “Justin told me this morning not to let you mow your yard. He said he would mow both yards when he got home."

Tom parked the mower in the driveway. Justin didn't show up. Meanwhile, the tire went flat again. Now Tom had a flat tire in his driveway. Tom knocked on Justin's door. “I've got a flat on the rider. Come over and help me get the wheel off and I'll take it to the shop and buy a new tire.”

“Okay,” Justin said. “I was getting ready to take a nap. I'll be over as soon as I get up.”

Justin napped for two weeks. In the meantime, Tom replaced the tire and mowed his yard three times. By now Justin's yard looked like a wheat field.

Carol said, “Have you seen Justin's yard?”

“Yeah, looks like he's going to have a bumper crop.”

After Carol sent Justin away she came into Tom's office. “Justin's gone. You can come out now. Why won't you let him use the mower?”

“Are you kidding? He would burn up the engine trying to get through those weeds. I've got to finish these taxes,” Tom said. He went back to work.

A few minutes later, Carol walked back in. “Justin just went in the garage.”

Sentence writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story that starts with this sentence: There was a knock on the door.

True Story
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

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