Angel Mows the Lawn | HumorOutcasts

Angel Mows the Lawn

January 22, 2016


Cissy Aiken wants answers—and when her guardian angel shows up, she doesn’t get any.

This scene from the spec script “Angel Pays a Visit” is based on the poem “Angel Mows the Lawn” by Carolyn Elkins.



Cissy writes at the top of a page the poem title “Angel Mows the Lawn.”


I had to get him out from under my feet, so I gave him chores to do. It’d be good for him to wrestle with some of our problems, I thought. Maybe he’d find a way for us to get around these things if he had a little taste of this “sweat of thy brow” business for himself. A good plan, but it backfired. Mowing the lawn, for instance‒ I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The motor started right up for him, of course, and right away I thought, That’s not fair.



But the way he mowed, all haphazardly, was what really irritated me. He’d start just anywhere, in the middle of the yard maybe, never at the edge, and then he’d wander to whatever place interested him next, as if he’d totally forgotten what his job was. He’d go left to a lily, then cross back to the rose bush, then stroll out to the mailbox, making Xs and Zs all over the poor grass. When I pointed out his failures, the tall patches sticking up everywhere, he seemed to admire his mistakes and went into the house satisfied. I tried sticking him with dishes,


— Angel uses a nearly empty bottle of Joy to luxuriously lather his hands and to make bubbles to blow and play with at the sink. Cissy watches and shakes her head.



— Angel rides a vacuum like a scooter or a Segway. Cissy watches with her arms crossed and with a disapproving stare.


dirty laundry

— As Cissy watches, Angel twirls a bra by its strap like a Chinese acrobat’s prop, then “shoots” pieces of laundry into the washing machine opening as if he’s playing basketball. There are sounds of a real basketball game, including squeaking shoes. Angel feints, pivots, and leaps for a turnaround jumper with a pair of balled-up socks. They sail in a slow, high arc, and as he makes this last shot, there is the sound of a game buzzer and wild cheering. Angel fist pumps in victory. Cissy hangs her head and shakes it in disgust.


but I finally gave it up. He never seemed to grasp the concept of work. He lacked a certain element of resentment needed to take it seriously,

— Angel dusts with a dust cloth but also dusts the tops of furniture and ceiling fan blades with his wing tips.


so he was never good at anything.

Well, except dusting.

— Angel dusts a dusty mirror with a wing tip that draws a smiley face, with the smile being the last stroke. Angel regards his work, looking smugly self-satisfied and mischievous.


Bill Spencer

Bill Spencer's humor writing has been published by Funny Times, Narrative magazine, Reader's Digest, The Sun, The Inconsequential, Clever magazine, Defenestration, The Short Humour Site, Hobo Pancakes, and Nuthouse. He has also published scholarly articles on the novels of Cormac McCarthy and is co-author of an unproduced screenplay, "Angel Pays a Visit." He lives in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife, artist-poet Carolyn Elkins.

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6 Responses to Angel Mows the Lawn

  1. Bill Y Ledden
    January 26, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    I want to grow up to be Angel.

    • Bill Spencer
      January 26, 2016 at 2:56 pm

      Angel wants to grow up to be YOU.

  2. January 22, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    I like Angel’s work style. If you can’t have fun, why do it?

    • Bill Spencer
      January 22, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      You are supernaturally wise.

  3. January 22, 2016 at 9:21 am

    “He lacked a certain element of resentment needed to take it seriously.” The best, and clearly explains why I never clean, I have the resentment, but I’m not serious about it!

    • Bill Spencer
      January 22, 2016 at 9:36 am

      The line you singled out has always been an audience favorite when Carolyn has read this poem. (It has always gotten a laugh.) Thank you, Cathy, for reading so perceptively.

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