“What is it Lisa?”
“Come and have a look at this post someone has put on Facebook today. It looks as if it is a local man. He says he does not believe in April Fool and so instead he wants to do some good deeds for people for nothing. No charge.”
“Well why don’t we ask him to cut that lawn and clean up all that mess and clean up the yard too. You know it’ll never get done otherwise. Now is a good a time as any, don’t you think?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Well neither you nor I are fit enough to do it and that’s for sure. We could message the bloke like he says and tell him about it and see what he can come up with. I think it’s a fantastic idea John, especially as it’s April Fool’s day tomorrow.”
“Okay then Lisa. I’ll leave it up to you to contact him. I’m getting on with my own jobs. Let me know what he says.”
“I will John. I’m going to message him right now and see if he can come around tomorrow and do the lawn and clear up all that mess. It’ll be worth it. After all you said you were fed up with looking at that horrible view from our bedroom window and in the summer the smell and the flies from all that mess is going to be dreadful.”
Lisa messaged the advertiser and got an immediate reply.
“He’ll be round at eleven tomorrow morning he says, John.”
“Well, that’s okay but I thought we were going shopping then.”
“We can still go shopping. We can show him what to do and just let him get on with it. I’m sure he won’t mind. I’m sure he won’t want supervising. Anyway, if it turns out he does a good job then that will be wonderful. If he messes it up or does not turn up, we’ve got nothing to lose. It’s just for April Fool’s Day anyway. Just one day a year.”
The following morning Lisa and John got ready to go shopping. They put their bags in the boot of the car and then sat and waited outside for the chap who was coming to cut the lawn and clean the drive and yard.
“Here he is.” Said Lisa as she watched a small, grey car pull up outside the neighbour’s house.
“I won’t be long John. I’ll just show him what needs to be done.”
“Okay. I’ll sit here and wait for you. I’m not going anywhere. At least not until you get back in the car.”
John put the car radio on, sat back and closed his eyes.
“Hello. I’m Lisa. It’s really good of you to do this job for nothing.”
“Oh, that’s no problem. I’m just so fed up with all this April Fool’s stuff. I wanted to do a good deed for a change. I’m Barry by the way.”
“Hello Barry. I’ll show you what needs to be done. Follow me.”
Barry followed Lisa through the double wooden gates , down the drive and into the back garden.
“This is the lawn. You can see it’s in an awful mess. You’ll need to pick up all the dog poo first and then cut the grass. Have a look in the shed over there. I think you’ll find a bucket and shovel and some black sacks. I’m afraid there’s no lawn mower. You’ll have to do it all with sheers. I’ve never seen a lawn mower at all, ever.”
“No lawn mower. Ah well, never mind. I’m sure I can tackle the long grass easily with some sheers. I’m used to hard work.”
“Yes, sorry about there not being a lawn mower. Now there’s buckets and brooms and all sorts and an outside tap for swilling down the yard, the patio and the drive. John and I are off shopping now. I expect you’ll be finished by the time we get back, so I want to thank you in advance. It will make the biggest difference to me and John with all this mess cleared up and the lawn tidy. As you can see, we are no spring chickens ourselves. With our bad backs doing the work ourselves is completely out of the question.”
“I quite understand.” Said Barry as he looked around the garden and took stock of the enormous task these two strangers had set for him. Still, he was not a man to shun hard work. He’d decided to do a good deed and that is what he was going to set his mind to.
John and Lisa drove off to the shops. Barry began clearing up the dog poo. There were piles of the stuff. Big piles, little piles, messy piles and old, stale piles covered in mould. A true mess and not for the faint-hearted either. At times he began to feel rather sick and had to stop picking up the poo for a couple of minutes until he felt better. The bucket got heavier and heavier and almost full to the brim by the time he’d collected all the poo up off the lawn. Then he had to clear the patio and driveway of the smelly stuff. Every few minutes Barry had to stand up and straighten his back. He began to wonder what on earth he had let himself in for.
After emptying the bucket into a black sack he put the obnoxious packet in the dustbin. Then he set to cutting the lawn with the garden sheers. They were rather blunt. He looked around the shed for something on which he might be able to sharpen them but to no avail. As the work was backbreaking, he decided to cut some of the lawn and then go and clean the patio. Then cut some more lawn and clean the driveway. Then finish the lawn and clean the yard. He found even more poo on the driveway. How many dogs did these people have, he wondered as he looked through the kitchen window? There was no sound of dogs anywhere although he could see three food bowls on the floor by the kitchen door. He continued with his good deed until all the poo was cleared from the concrete and paving slabs. Then he filled a bucket with water and swished it all down and gave it a good scrub with the broom. Meanwhile he kept going back to the lawn and managed to cut it inch by inch with the almost blunt sheers. By the end of the job his back was aching terribly. His arms felt numb and his hands hurt from holding the sheers. He was not used to this type of work at all or these types of tools and had been using muscles that weren’t used to being used. He was going to be very stiff come the morning, he thought.
Barry put the bucket, spade, broom and sheers back in the shed and pushed the bolt across. He looked at his handy work with pride. At least the place looked clean and tidy now and certainly smelled much fresher. John took out his mobile phone and looked at the time. It was almost four o’clock. It had been a long hard slog, but now it was done.
Barry turned around when he heard a car pull up. It had parked just behind his. It was John and Lisa. They were carrying loaded shopping bags to the front door of the house next door.
“Hi Barry.” Said Lisa.
“Have you finished the work?”
“Yes. All done. The lawn was difficult with only the sheers but I think I’ve made a good job of it and the place certainly smells much sweeter.”
“Oh, thank you Barry. Thank you so much. You know we’ve been complaining to our neighbours about their garden for weeks. It was really getting on our nerves. Every time we looked out our bedroom window in the morning , we were confronted with this awful mess on the lawn, the patio and driveway. And the stench in summer is beyond words. Flies everywhere too. So, we thought we’d take you up on your offer while our neighbours are away on holiday with their dogs. We are so pleased you managed to get it done. The neighbours will be home tomorrow. I’ll tell them I got it done for them as a good deed. They’ll be very pleased.”
“The neighbours? it’s not your garden then?”
“Oh no. You don’t think we’d let our garden get into such a state as that do you?”
“Well no. I don’t know how anyone could let their garden get in such a mess. I have seen some dirty gardens in my time but this one beats them all. I thought I was doing you a good deed and not your neighbours.”
“Oh, you are Barry. You most certainly are and we can’t thank you enough Barry. John and I are very pleased with what you’ve done and as I said it will make the world of difference to us as we look out of our bedroom window each morning. When our neighbours come back tomorrow, I’ll tell them about your handiwork and recommend you. Have you got a business card Barry?”
“I do have a business card but I am not a gardener at all. I’m just doing these good deeds instead of doing April Fool’s tricks on everyone.”
“What is your day job then Barry?”
“I’m a bank manager. I sit at a desk all day long. I thought being in the fresh air for a day would be a good idea. But that air next door to you certainly was less than fresh, I can tell you. I’m a little bit put out too. I feel a bit cheated here. I thought I was doing you and your husband the favour and now it turns out I was not.”
“Ah well, April Fool Barry.”