John was inordinately proud of his lawn. It had, as he was all too happy to tell anyone unfortunate enough to be passing by, not a blade out of place. Not a single daisy, dandelion or clover leaf marred its faultless surface. It was the flattest lawn in town and it was the greenest lawn in town. Nobody could deny it.
So, bleak was the midsummer morning when John rose from his bed, opened his curtains and looked down upon his own little patch of immaculately manicured sward to see, placed almost geometrically at its centre, a large, fresh molehill. He clutched at his chest and uttered an agonised, if tightly suppressed scream. He almost flew downstairs, his feet barely touching the only slightly less perfect shagpile surface, through the door and out onto his lawn. “A mole,” he murmured, “a bloody mole. I’ll have you sunshine,” and he carefully raked over the soil and patted it flat with the back of a spade.
“It’ll do for now,” he said, but he knew that it wouldn’t.
Later that day he raked a little grass seed into his fussed-over repair and stared in anguish at the temporarily brown blight on his otherwise single-toned sod. “A trap,” he said.
“This one never fails,” said the man at the hardware store. “Put it in the tunnel under the mole hill and ‘Kerbam!’ he’ll never bother you again.”
“I’ve flattened the molehill,” said John. “Reseeded it.”
“It’s no problem,” said the assistant, dropping the box into a brown paper bag, “there’ll be a new one in the morning. Put it in that one.”
“A new molehill?” gulped John.
“Oh yes, once they’ve started, they seldom stop.”
The next morning John stared down on his lawn, the green plane mutilated by its single raked brown patch and two brand new molehills. With a sigh, he walked slowly down the stairs into the garden where he carefully buried the mole-trap in the biggest of the two new hills.
The following morning there had been no Kerbam!, but there had been three new molehills in the middle of the lawn. Annoyingly they were not even symmetrically placed, but just randomly grouped around the plot. John was beside himself.
“Why don’t you get Bernard next door to look at them,” said his wife. “He’s lived here for years. He’ll know what to do.”
“Bernard’s a perfectly nice bloke,” said John, “but he’s a doctor. What I need is pest control.”
“Try this poison,” said the pest control man. “Put it in the newest hole. It’s guaranteed.” He didn’t tell John exactly what it was guaranteed to do, but apparently it wasn’t to kill moles. John’s lawn was no longer his pride and joy, it was his pain and anguish. It was quickly becoming a total eyesore: more hill than grass.
“You really should ask Bernard,” said John’s wife.
“No,” said John. “It’s too embarrassing. I have to work this out for myself.”
And so, day after day, John implemented the new plans he spent the sleepless nights concocting to save his lawn from the rampaging mole: he attached a hose to the tap and flooded the tunnels with water; he attached the hose to his car and flooded them with carbon monoxide; he strode around between the hills thrusting his garden fork deep into the earth anywhere he believed the tunnels might run; he pee’d into the holes under the cover of dark, not in anticipation of any result, but merely to make himself feel better. He tried a million ways in vain to find a solution, whilst all his wife would say was, “Talk to Bernard.”
“I can’t talk to Bernard,” he sighed. “It’s personal now. I saw it last night. It popped its head out from its hill. It was weird, furtive,” he continued. “I’m sure it looked at me in a funny way.”
And finally, having given up completely on the sleep his body so craved, John found himself, shotgun in hand, staring at his ravaged lawn in the blue glare of a midnight full moon. “Just pop your furry little head out tonight,” he muttered “and I’ll blow it right off your fluffy little body.”
And then it did. Just at his feet the soil broiled and bubbled through the grass. A mound appeared and through it popped the head and body of the cursed mole. John froze as it stood, rising up to its entire six inch height and, never taking its eyes from his, raised its own, perfectly miniaturised shotgun and, with a theatrical wink, pulled the trigger…
“The moral of this story is very clear,” said the coroner some days later at John’s inquest. “Embarrassment can be fatal. Always get a doctor to examine any suspicious looking moles.”