by on April 23, 2013 :: 0 comments

photo by Tyler Malone

Do what you love was the message of a self-help book that Sam was reading on his lunch break at Acme Mega Corp. He worked in the sewage billing division, processing invoices for plumbing fixtures and toilet components. Sam was not doing what he loved.

Looking up from the book, Sam gazed out the window at the manicured lawn of the corporate office park. His eyes were drawn to the lawn sprinkler jets about twenty-feet away. One sprinkler jet was situated in such a way that its angle in relation to the oleander and juniper plants nearby triggered something in his brain chemistry that felt like a religious experience. He had a vision of a group of men riding bicycles on the edge of a cliff, each of them wearing a long, white lab coat with a big black question mark on the back. Exactly one-half of the men have their vision filtered through a symmetric set of purple dots. The other men have their vision filtered through the nozzle of a lawn sprinkler, water pouring down into their faces, covered in moss and weeds. “I want to be one of those men,” Sam told himself intensely. “I want to be around lawn sprinklers.”

Sam quit his job at Acme Mega Corp and began to read up on yard care, and practiced sprinkler valve repair. He became romantically involved with a gardening department assistant named Sonia from the local home improvement store. Late at night, after the local home improvement store had closed, Sonia would use her key to open the door to the gardening department, where she and Sam would make love atop sacks of fertilizer, sprawling amidst plant seeds and garden hoses, Sonia’s screams of ecstasy causing the rhododendron leaves to vibrate with embarrassment.

Sam gradually developed a reputation for lawn maintenance, and the neighbors started to seek his help. Sam enjoyed his work immensely, and soon developed a thriving lawn irrigation business. Sam’s relationship with Sonia was also blooming, and soon they were married. The wedding ceremony took place at a botanical garden, where the sprinklers shot water up into the sky after Sam and Sonia said their vows.

One Saturday, Sam was recalibrating the sprinkler system of his next-door neighbors Don and Judy Henshaw, who were in a fierce argument over their lawn care. Judy preferred their current Rain-Bird sprinklers, whereas Don opted for drip irrigation. Sam had been brought in to do some repairs and analyze the situation.

It started to rain, which Sam liked to think of as “nature’s sprinkler system”. The Henshaws asked Sam if he’d like to stop, as he was getting soaked by the water pouring out of the sky. “No, thank you!” called Sam cheerily, so they went back inside. He loved his work, and loved his marriage to Sonia. After life had been so difficult in the past, things couldn’t be better.

He smiled up at the sky as he walked towards another lawn jet. That’s when he slipped on the wet grass and fell, impaling his chest and heart on a sharp sprinkler head. Spilling out blood, Sam’s prone body triggered the repaired sprinkler system, which sprayed water on his splayed carcass, every 12 seconds. Through a blurring eye, Sam saw images of Sonia, and the sprinklers spraying water reliably. As his blood soaked into the lawn, providing nutrients, Sam went out doing what he loved.

editors note:

It’s rarely about how you lived, but how you died, that others remember you by. It should a goal for each one of us to never say “I want to die in my sleep,” because that’s how cowards want to die. No, we should die standing up, or after stumbling over. – Tyler Malone

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