was particular about turf. He had the best lawn
in the neighbourhood, vibrant green and plush as
deep-pile carpet. His labour of love consumed him
from early spring until first snow. He fertilized
and watered at double the recommended rates and
mowed the lawn twice a week during the peak
growing season to keep it in check. Few weeds
survived his daily rounds with a forked dandelion
carrier and paper boy knew better than to cut
across the grass to make their deliveries. Dog
walkers and parents of young toddlers quickly
learned it was safer to walk on the opposite side
of the street rather than risk having their
unruly charges step on the grass. Maybe it was
due to the prominently displayed Keep Off
the Grass sign, or the fact that Bill
patrolled the property with a sharp weed poker
and a fully primed garden hose, its nozzle set to
stun. His neighbour's joked about 'Marshall Law'
heaven's sake Bill, they're just children,"
said his wife, when he confiscated a soccer ball
that transgressed the property line. Cynthia only
tolerated Bill's obsession to a point. "Give
it back now, or you know what will happen."
Bill did not
think Cynthia would actually hire someone to tear
up the lawn and put in Astro-turf, but she had
gone so far as to get an estimate. He took the
ball outside where a trio of boys played 'Rock,
Paper, Scissors' no doubt to choose which
one would have to knock on his door. The
boys looked up, wide-eyed when Bill tossed
the ball in their direction.
Mr. Marshall," one of them called, as they
ran back to their side of the street.
let it happen again," he replied gruffly,
"or you'll find out who's boss around here."
Bill glanced over his shoulder at the house where
Cynthia stood in the doorway with her arms
crossed and he and hurried back inside.