Adam was the first on his block to get a robotic lawn mower. The kid who had been cutting his grass was gouging him and missing whole swaths. When Adam pointed out the sloppy workmanship, the kid shrugged and blamed it on dull blades. But Adam knew better; the only dull blade was the kid.
Machines were the way of the future. They didn’t miss spots or smoke weed. Adam told the kid his services were no longer needed.
The Landroid M 20V 4.0Ah robotic lawn mower was a stunning piece of equipment that took a sizeable bite out of Adam’s bank account, but Cardi (as he dubbed her), was well worth her price.
Which made it hurt all the worse when she was stolen.
Adam wasn’t sure who, but he suspected it was the kid who stole Cardi right out of his yard. Not to be thwarted, Adam bought another. Then, somebody spray-painted an inappropriate symbol of male origin on Cardi II”s hood. Adam painted over it and installed ring cameras from the eaves and trees to surveil his entire yard. This was war.
On July 4th, Cardi II was stolen. The lawn was half cut. It happened when Adam ran to the store for extra ice and propane. He had guests coming in half an hour and no Cardi.
With “Bodak Yellow” blasting on repeat in his earbuds, he rage-mowed the rest of the lawn with the push mower and vowed to punish the thugs. Surely the ring cameras caught them in the act. But still. The 4th of July was ruined.
And worse, all the cameras caught were hoodied individuals in Scream masks running off with Cardi II, their cackles and insults boiling his blood.
That was when Adam had a terrible, terrible idea, one he’d regret forever.
He dabbled in computer engineering, but until Cardi III, Adam hadn’t considered altering her programming because, well, regular lawnmowers were dangerous enough. If something went wrong…
He pushed the possibilities from his mind and adjusted the sensors and fail-safes. Cardi could now advance on moving objects that came too close to her sensors, making it impossible for anyone to pick her up while she mowed. The GoPro was so Adam could catch the thief trying.
Who knew it would be used by a grand jury to hand down his death sentence.
After mowing one evening with the programming alterations, Adam noticed blood and what looked like slivers of shale or rocks but turned out to be turtle shell pieces. By following the sound of flies, he found the rounded top of the turtle sliced jaggedly off, and a bowl of turtle organs slowly being devoured by maggots. Adam also noted that the lawn, while mown, had more zig-zag patterns, as if Cardi had gone off course for a bit.
Like, maybe, she’d chased the turtle.
Adam made some more adjustments, changing the size of the field intruder so little things like cats, dogs, and turtles wouldn’t set off her protective measures. You’d think a grand jury would see that as kindness. Nooooo.
The GoPro caught the kid thief’s final moments. He’d smiled curiously when Cardi didn’t stop like she usually did.
“What the…this one just keeps coming, like it’s following me.”
The GoPro picked up another voice out of camera range. “Looks like a robot zombie…Dude, watch your–“
And the GoPro shows the kid who used to mow Adam’s lawn walking backward and videoing Cardi III with his phone. He’s making fun of her when he’s tripped by a sprinkler. What’s the saying? It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an…x.
First, the kid’s rubber soles get minced into tiny pieces, scattered about like confetti. The GoPro’s got his face in complete focus because he keeps looking up, incredulous and terrified. His arms aren’t strong or fast enough to drag himself back and away from Cardi III, whose motor seems to pick up speed. The gears get a little gunked up. The blades whir lower and sound more throaty until they reach the heel, tibia, and fibula. The thicker, more troublesome bones cause the blades to shriek. There is the unmistakeable sound of motor exertion and a little smoke in the video. The mulching blade (only available on the newest models) kicks in, and Cardi keeps on rolling.
It’s at this point the judge had the GoPro video stopped. Several members of the jury were ill. Some screamed. They didn’t believe Adam hadn’t meant to harm the kid. The fact that he’d programmed Cardi III to laugh wickedly as it chased him hadn’t helped his defense. No matter, the prison security systems relied heavily on automation. The library had all sorts of books on AI and small motor repair. He had time to figure out Plan B if his appeal was denied.
True: Adam Saint owns a robot lawn mower.
Also true: Robotic lawn mowers kill people. In fact, each year lawn mowers kill more people than bears, sharks, or alligators.
Also, also true: Adam Saint is a fictional name for a writer friend of mine. See? No matter how private you are, you can play along with MTO Horror. It only takes a minute. Go HERE if you dare.