NEW IN! ONLY AT NEVILLE’S GARDEN MAGIC!
The line of eager grassmen stretched down Poplar, passing the bakers doing unprecedented trade in bacon butties and ending with forlorn, cardiganed men outside the bookies. Three friends had arrived at 5am, armed with flasks and foldaway stools, heading the queue. Ted was shuffling with anticipation, Roger and Clarence already inside making their pivotal purchases.
The Lawn Dragon. A limited-edition upgrade to the revered Lawn Lizard; a few barely noticeable bells and whistles made it a wholly unnecessary purchase, but the grassmen didn’t care. It was candy-apple red with flame decals and a price-tag that was alluringly extreme. Lending an exclusivity to the glossy mower, that only the most resolute and committed grassmen could acquire.
Ted glared at his watch: a perfect cutting morning was vanishing. Still, a morning more rewarding for him than for the tardy buggers outside BazzaBets. Suddenly, from the depths of Neville’s, Clarence’s powerful voice regaled the irascible queuers with a haunting version of Green Green Grass of Home. Beneath the verdant melody, Ted thought he heard a bandsaw churring. He sipped flask-stewed tea.
Ten minutes later, Roger and Clarence finally emerged; their Lawn Dragons being packed for delivery. Roger was smiling weakly; his face like cottage cheese. Ted told a beaming Clarence he’d played a belter with the song, what a way to get the mower. They winced at Roger, slumped in a wheelchair; his right trouser leg and left jumper arm pinned up, floppy. A hefty cost, but grassmen would speak of his sacrifice for many seasons to come.
Someone shouted “NEXT!” from inside Neville’s. Ted grinned, so close to his own Lawn Dragon, and the envy of the grassmen at the line’s end. In his scuffed Waitrose bag-for-life, the bomb trailed bright wires, and ticked.