Morning Broke In


(SFX Birdsong several seconds)

Morning Broke In, Asleep and Places Like It, Ken Raabe, Cabaret, Radio Stories, Theatre, Theater, Chicago, Radio, PodcastNarrator: Morning broke in on Nostrils O’Blique and beat him around the head and shoulders with shafts of golden sunlight. And the merry chirps of birds filtered through his hairy earholes and registered themselves at his desk-like brain (SFX counter bell struck smartly) he form of little urgings to wake up, go outside, and inspect his property!

“ Ahhhhhhhh!”  thought Nostrils, raising his head from the pillow  . . .

“Ahhhh, Saturday! And I don’t have to get up and go to work today! Well, I’d better get up and get busy!“

He leaped out of bed and, without a thought of brushing his teeth, sprang for the bedroom window. He threw up the sash, thrust his head out into the bright spring air and inhaled deeply.

Every blade of grass for fifty feet around bent itself in the direction of the bedroom window, bowed over by the small waft of chalky sidewalk air that rushed in to replace the moist and dewy mixture of sweet and pleasant gases displaced through Nostrils’ nostrils.

“Uh oh!” thought the lawn, “Saturday morning!”

He had a special machine designed to carry out this gruesome business with as much noise as possible. During the week it rested in a place of honor in the garage, lording it over the the humbler tools and enjoying the esteem and respect of other less spectacular machines. It was a sturdy, well-made lawnmower, lacquered green, with three-speed self propulsion.

While Nostrils hummed merrily in the garage, the lawn was in an uproar of terror, anger, bitterness, frustration, despair, hopelessness, and apathetic giddiness. Some individual blades were trying to tear themselves up out of the lawn and run down the sidewalk on their roots. Some had swooned and lay limp and senseless. Others only pretended to faint, to avoid being chewed by those terrible teeth. Some blades giggled hysterically, some tried desperately to go to seed, some broke out in a cold green sweat.

There was a small clump of dark green grass which had been spared the chop for several weeks because it was gathered at the base of the massive utility pole that served to connect the house of Nostrils with the rest of humanity. This clump sent a ripple of green thought billowing out to each blade in the whole lawn. . .

“Blades and Sprouts! Leaves and Leaflets! Simmer down for a moment and listen to us! Now, it doesn’t look good for us, it’s true! It looks as though we have once again grown beautiful green heads, only to have them, again, snapped off by the Snarling Many-Tooth!”

The lawn clung to itself and shuddered, lamenting and rustling.

“ But listen up oh Vegetation! We are all the same tissue, we are the same moisture, the same peelings! Listen and assimilate, Mulchy Stuff! Hear us Old Roots and give us a strong current!  Think of the sweet and pleasant gases we have given this wretch, who comes today to shear off our heads! Who seals up our pores and shellacs us over with his own foul gases – grotesque, oily structures  . . . gases filled with choking lumps of wax that make the broad leaves wither and turn gray and black at the frost time, rather than brightening into fine vegetable red and vegetable gold!  Think of the Poisonous shriveler! His Wheeled Growlers and Smokers! Do you think he may someday feel his kinship with us? Is that what your expectation is? You imagine some Saturday will find him rushing out here to throw himself outstretched upon the lawn he calls his own, to cry . . . “Friend! We are moisture together! Let me breathe my carbon dioxide on you!”      Is that what you think!?

In the garage, Nostrils’ mower roared into its version of life and the two of them prepared to clip the backyard.

“NO!” billowed the clump . . .  “He will not! He will come instead as he has in the past and as he comes today, with his Dragon, even now!

But we can save our own true selves! We can do it! We all must be together in this! So, Old Roots, you must draw in more power, you must tap the forests and the wildlands! We need a great surge, a great surge of energy! To bind us! To tighten our grip on the sod! Don’t Panic! Some of us may suffer in this so we must resolve to act quickly! Roots! Bring ‘er up to wide open! All of you greeneries, tune in on the Creature and his Monster and follow us!

And as Nostrils rounded the second ninety degrees of his first great rectangle . . . a movement in the corner of his eye startled him and he threw the shiny chrome gear lever into neutral and took a few steps in the direction of what appeared to be something twitching in the grass at the base of the pole. The mower putt-putted in place; Nostrils stopped and stared intently.

A piece of sod about three feet by two was . . .pulling itself up into an arch, tearing itself free and separate from the rest of the lawn. It bristled and looked very fierce!

Nostrils continued to stare and this frozen attitude of his turned out to be a mistake. Even then an unfamiliar dull ripping sound from behind him. . . well, it seemed to come from all directions at once. And in fact, it did!

He spun around. Other sections of lawn were rearing upward, undulating up!  Nostrils saw that he was ringed round by   . . .  animated chunks of sod!

“What th’ . . . ?”   he said, “What th’. . . ?

But the angry lawn was not to be cowed by this outburst. Instead, the remark seemed to stir it to further action and the circle of rearing sod bits began to inch closer and closer, again trembling, but this time in a green rage! The lawn beyond the circle had also begun to tear itself up into strips, and all at once, or so it seemed, the whole lawn came alive and closed in on Nostrils, how put up a valiant fight with his machine  . . . but  . . . well  . . .

In the weeks that followed, while the hubbub caused by Nostrils’ disappearance grew, peaked, and dwindled . . . no one noticed a green lacquered lawn mower . . . being slowly squeezed up out of the ground .. .in a dark corner . . . of the backyard.

© Ken Raabe

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