It’s another sunny Saturday. A few introverted macho men on noisy motorcycles speed down Cemetery Street on the quiet periphery of a small border town, an anonymous group of teenagers steal a road sign, someone shouts at them, and vapours of a melting corpse from a silver funeral van waiting in the opposite direction, blocked by the parked cars of a nearby charity, rise into the blue sky. The grass of the local gardens calmly evaporates the morning dew and thinks of nothing at all in humble surrender to the universe. From the stables of the local well-fed stallions comes a horny neighing; dilated varicous veins pulsate furiously on the swollen hocks of the champions and the drooled ground shakes under the beats of excited hooves. The sun is particularly obtrusive today, gloatingly urging all aspiring eager riders to leave their starting blocks quickly and show themselves in the best possible light. Here in the suburbs, time is governed not by church bells – kchllll, kchlll… bzzzzzz, vrrrrr, bbbbbbbb – but by the sound of the first mower. In a matter of minutes a prudent and pedantic neighborhood turns into raging gladiatorial arenas full of blood. A broad-breasted neighbour appears outside the house next door, with a murky gaze and a warrior’s grin, pulls an electric mower, leaving a wide swath of enslaved grass in his wake. A soft sound similar to a dentist’s drill pierces the caries of silence like a smoke signal. As soon as it reaches its peak, the thin shoulders and balded head of another gladiator drive into the garden across the street with a pomp, other sinewy hands turn on the obnoxious brushcutter, getting on the nerves with the fluctuating whine of a chainsaw, the choke string in the arena down the street gets bubbled a diesel engine of a mowing tractor; the size and power rule. The testosterone-fuelled stallions – modern gladiators – fill the gardens like red ants, shaking their asses and showing their sweaty half-naked bodies – macerated by the sun – for the admiration of passing women and neighbouring rivals. Occasionally they raise their eyes in greeting, but quickly lower them again; those who don’t have control over their lawns lose respect.

Cultivated arenas with regularly mowed opponents are the natural competitive environment for modern males; they can safely discharge their archetypal needs for combat, power, and display their secondary sex characteristics for admiration. Their women reward this act with a hearty lunch. But those who use a robot to cut the grass should forget about lunch; many modern women would rather chop the rebellious heads of their enemies but cook. As the sun’s intensity fades, so do the gladiators’ powers. The audience has long since evaporated off in the manner of the corpse in the silver van, only the tolling of distant bells soaks into the gradually dying sounds of the mowers. All that’s left are the wounds to lick, the dead bodies to dump in the bio-waste, and to look forward new warriors rising from the next generation of the decimated green army of the dreaded Festuca rubra and the immortal Lolium perenne. Their sons will be inhuman and cruel, and the smell of their mowed bodies will be the smell of blood of the heroic gladiators of a new era. Our forces are dwindling, while the grass keeps on growing. But we shall not cease to fight and we shall fight to the last man. Freedom or death! Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutant.

*Festuca rubra – Red fescue, Lolium pernnere – Ryegrass perennial