Moncton — The city is cracking down after passing a recent bylaw restricting the length of the grass surrounding people’s homes.
Many people in the community believe that this was an active decision to specifically address the actions of one man, Darrell Ashmead, who has not mowed his lawn since 2003. Over time, with regular watering, the lawn has risen to an incredible 13 feet.
Ashmead spoke to the press while sitting out on his deck, which was mostly obscured save for the valley created by the concrete walkway leading up to it.
“As far as I’m concerned,” he said, swatting a mosquito on his neck, “if they can find my mailbox, then sure, send me a summons.”
The city was quick to take him up on his offer, promptly sending over two officials to issue a citation and fine.
That was 11 months ago. In all that time, neither man has been seen or heard from again.
Last week, a recovery team was brought in to retrieve the missing persons. They allowed The Manatee to accompany them during their mission, on the condition that it be understood the crew would extend no extra protection.??
“Sure, you can come along,” said team leader Barbra Anderson, “but remember, we’re not your goddamn babysitter. You’ve got to pull your weight.”
Anderson had her second-in-command, 42-year-old anthropologist Frankie Lloyd, tie a thick rope around a telephone pole across the street. After testing its strength, the team attached the rope to their waists and, one after the other, entered the suburban forest.
The crew moved slowly, chopping down towering blades of grass with their industrial-strength weed-whacker. After an hour of this, Anderson stopped suddenly, raising her hand.
“You smell that?” she asked, sniffing the air. “…Barbecue.”
Quickly, she rushed to the weeds ahead, parting them with her knife. There, in the distance, stood the missing men.
They surrounded a Coleman grill, a partially plucked crow slowly searing on its grate. Their clothes were torn and repurposed to form cloths that (barely) covered their shame. In their hands were discarded Frisbees, once lost by neighbouring children and now being used as dinner utensils.
The arrival having gone unnoticed, the pair spoke among themselves. Only it wasn’t a conversation, as we would understand it. Rather, they spoke in a seemingly random series of comments about the weather and sports-related non-sequiturs.
“Gosh, I hope this sun keeps up,” said the man who had once been known as Tom Rogers.
“Yeah,” added the other, the former Micheal Forsyth. “Unlike the Bulls, who’ve been having a hell of a time this year.”
Disturbed, Lloyd made a move toward them, but Anderson placed a hand on his chest.
“No,” she said, firmly. “There’s nothing we can do. They’re lawn people now.”
A week later, the bylaw was rewritten to exclude the newly established Ashmead Nature Preserve, which was created to maintain the yard’s natural wonders and and its people’s indigenous culture.
Naturally, Ashmead himself was ecstatic.
“Whatever,” he said, scratching his crotch.