'MR. JONES," the detective said pleasantly. "Thanks for coming in voluntarily to tell us what you did."

"Thanks for letting me get it off my chest," I said as his partner stared at me across his battered metal desk. "It's been killing me ever since it happened."

There was an uncomfortable silence. Maybe "killing" wasn't the word I should've used.

"So, anyway," the detective said, "I'm going to read you your rights."

"Rights? I thought I was just gonna confess and be on my way. You didn't say anything about reading my rights."

The cops exchanged a troubled look. "We're talking about murder here, Mr. Jones. It's not every day someone admits that he's killed a perfectly good lawn."

He was right, of course. I deserved whatever I got for my heinous crime. The grass was helpless. It counted on me. And I killed it.

"OK," I said as the guilt began to consume me. "Read me my rights."

"You have the right to remain silent, yada-yada-yada," he said impatiently. "Now how did you kill the grass?"

They were staring down at me in classic good-cop, bad-cop posture. The good one had the phony grin of an "American Idol" loser. The bad one looked like he wanted to do to me what I'd done to my lawn.

I couldn't bear their good-and-evil sideshow anymore. So I confessed.

"Everything was fine at first," I said, staring into the past. "My grass was greener than everyone else's. Edges trimmed to perfection. Accent flowers bursting with color. And then it happened."

"What happened?" the bad cop asked.

"We went away. In August. When it was hot."

"Murderer," the bad cop mumbled as he got up and crossed the room. I knew he couldn't stand to look at me. I didn't blame him. I couldn't bear to look at myself, either.

"Did you do anything to safeguard the grass before you left, Mr. Jones?" the good cop asked with a sigh.

"Yes. I over-watered before we left. But when we came back . . . I saw some of my precious blades of grass . . . curling and turning brown, and . . ."

I felt myself getting emotional, so I stopped.

"It's OK, Mr. Jones," said the good cop, trying to sound sincere.

The bad cop didn't even pretend. I hated him. But I comforted myself by imagining that he lived in an apartment, and would never know the pleasure and pain of lawn care.

"Anyway," I said when I'd composed myself. "The brown grass wasn't what pushed me over the edge. It was the crabgrass. It grew between my fescue and bluegrass as if it belonged there. It taunted me.

"When I told my wife that I was thinking of spraying weed killer to kill the crabgrass, she knew it was a risky proposition. It was August. And we both knew what that could mean for the grass."

"So let me get this straight," said the good cop. "Not only did you leave that helpless lawn alone and unwatered during the hottest days in August. You used weed killer after your wife warned you."

I looked from one cop to the other. Neither of them could believe what I'd done.

"The directions on the bottle said it killed weeds, not grass!" I said, trying desperately to explain. "How was I supposed to know it was a lie?"

The good cop leaned down on the table and looked me in the eye. "You killed your grass, didn't you, Mr. Jones?"

"Yes!" I shouted as the guilt and shame overtook me. "And I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry."

I got lucky that day. They released me on my own recognizance. The lawn wasn't so lucky. It's still dead.

Services for the lawn will be held this week. In lieu of flowers, send grass seed. I hear fall is a great time to plant. *

Solomon Jones appears every Saturday. He can be reached at