Rake-Man

Andrew Huff ('10)/Eastside Staff

Streaks of shredded autumn leaves lay along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., the location of the fragmented remnants of an experiment gone wretchedly awry. Several months ago, Congress authorized a secretive science branch of the government, R.A.K.E to design a new system of collecting leaves in the fall.With the annual descent of the leaves from the trees to the concrete sidewalks and curbs, it has become commonplace for leaf collection to be delayed weeks, at times even months.

“When the leaves start falling we tend to see a phenomenal increase in the use of anti-anxiety medication,” says Doctor James Grammar.

Doctors, including Grammar, began studying the seemingly harmful, psychological effects of trees losing their leaves in the fall months in the early 1970s. However, it was only late last year when they decided to take action.

Melissa Winston, head of project R.A.K.E (Response to Any Kind of Earth), said the goal was originally to “dispose of the very conspicuous leaf problem.”

That isn’t the only problem this “mechanized metallic beast with a chipper attitude” can fix, Winston said. “While we were building Rake-Man, the most utterly horrid thing happened: a button broke off my blouse. I nearly fainted, I nearly collapsed. But then, under the bright fluorescent lights, Rake-Man sewed me a new blouse.”

From that point on, it seemed, the new invention was going to be quite beneficial to society.
However, yesterday at 4:01 in the afternoon, when R.A.K.E unveiled their new system, a cataclysmic event occurred. The new system, built entirely out of titanium and hard-wired with digital maneuvering systems, in addition to a liquid nitrogen engine, stood at more than seventy feet tall, thirty feet wide.

Entitled “Rake-Man,” this “gargantuan pinnacle of American technology cost more than 7 billion dollars, but will obliterate any fallen leaf in its path,” said Joe Phillips, the designer of the “Rake-Man.”

Phillips said he gained inspiration from “the couture of the natural world, where industrial fashion is like wearing a fall hat in the spring. But I was ready for the challenge of combing these two separate elements together.”

During the hour-long speech ceremony, before a crowd estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands outside the Lincoln Memorial, the technological feat, with large metal rakes for arms and legs, stood motionless.

However, as Winston walked onto the stage and dispersed several bags of maple leaves before the robot, “Rake-Man” started to respond. At first he began to simply rake the leaves into “neat and dainty piles” as Winston described, but then Rake-Man noticed the trees beyond the stage.

“All of a sudden we just heard this gargling noise, like when you use too much Listerine, and then the thing just leapt from the stage,” said one spectator Carol Matthews.

Lee Hampton said “it started ripping the trees out of the ground and plucking off the leaves. Then it just turned all the leaves into gelatin. They sure don’t have anything like this in Arkansas.”

When asked about the gelatinous leaves, Phillips said, “We designed Rake-Man to turn any fallen leaf in a sugar-free Jello-like substance to combat diabetes. It seems, though, that the system has targeted all leaves.”

Authorities and a team of scientists have begun following the trail of leaves and Jello left behind by Rake-Man.

Rake-Man’s rampage has incited a nation-wide panic, with officials at the Pentagon reportedly in shambles and unsure of what to do to combat the “leaf-eating, shirt-pleating monster,” as the official White house Press Release referred to Rake-Man.

Reports are coming in as we follow Rake-Man’s trail that gardening stores across America have been quarantined and that countless shovels, hoes and gardening hoses are being questioned by the CIA.

Citizens have been encouraged to avoid any and all trees in close proximity due to wide-spreading jello-fication of leaves.