Cherry considers some options.

What to do, what to do!? Heck if I know! This isn’t even her property! Does Honest Ernest plan to cover the entire grounds in concrete or just a small area? Cherry fears the worst. But will it be as bad as she thinks? Certainly, the surface temperature and immediate area above the slab would feel warmer in the summer. But I don’t think there would be enough concrete to create what experts call an urban heat island. Anybody know otherwise? But heat isn’t the only concern: Storm water surface runoff affecting soil and water resources is another concern.

There are some possible mitigations, so I’ve read. For example, proper drainage and collection points can be created, something like gutters around a roof, to direct runoff into safe areas or containers for proper disposal. Most popular is pervious concrete that allows water to pass through it directly into the ground. Another possibility is to ensure plenty of shrubs and trees immediately around the concrete area to help absorb any runoff. Thus, Cherry could work directly with Honest Ernest and Violet to take some safety measures.

Or Cherry could go to a federal court and try to get an order forcing the Sunny Soleil Society to go through an EPA assessment and approval process. That should only take about 10 years or so.


A rose is a rose is a concrete driveway

Well, on one hand, Cherry-the-optimist is keeping her cool; but on the other hand, she’s leaning far into environmental hyperbole (panel 2). At least we learn a bit more about the aftermath of Ernest’s liaison with Violet, such as Caroline leaving her not-so-Honest Ernest. Still, this soap opera reality show will likely have used its entire first week of the story to establish a few simple facts: 1) Ernest wants revenge on Cherry and places financial stability over environmental safety. 2) Cherry sees his intentions more as a threat against Nature than her. 3) Violet appears to be siding with Ernest. No surprise, there.

On a technical note, there are some curious out-of-place outlines today. In panel 1, a white highlight of sorts separates Ernest’s head from the rose bushes. I see no reason for this, since Cherry’s image has no such corresponding whitespace. It could be a printing error, as it looks sloppy. However, the owl in panel 2 is odd for a few reasons, one being the unnecessary green highlight on the right side and head of the owl. Second, is the style of the drawing, appearing in a style different from the rest of the strip. Well, I could also be influenced by the oddly-shaped and colored bush behind the owl.

Cherry and Ernest square off.

Frankly, this is hard to follow. There is supposed to be a dirt driveway here, along with the garden. Where? The earlier scene showed a regular lawn with a flagstone walkway. No cars or patch of dirt in sight!

So I don’t understand the logistics here. Certainly, the SSS staff drive to work on a normal road and probably have a parking lot of some kind, dirt or whatever. Or do they drive to work on ATVs?

Well, perhaps this conundrum isn’t really the point, after all. The point is a potential case of environmental damage versus a concrete driveway. Well, Ernest does support a certain kind of logic: The logic of an eye for an eye.

Misery repeats itself

See, Cherry!? I told you that your best course of action was to find another client. Instead, you once again get embroiled in this tawdry affair of petty power politics and corruption. You waste time with unhelpful sarcasm. Do you think Violet is going to come out and take your side? When has she ever done that!? Cut these losers loose while you have the edge, before you lose your job and self-respect. Don’t waste any more time!

Loose Ends

Still married, is he? Well, I didn’t think Cherry had anything to apologize for, in spite of her insincere response in panel 2. But where is this situation heading? Is it just some kind of slice-of-life vignette thrown in before the real plot begins? Or will Violet Cheshire show up tomorrow and join in this verbal abuse party?

By the way, it always seems to be summer in Lost Forest, or at least, good weather. That’s not uncommon for comic strips, of course. But over the past two years, has there even been any Winter? One might think Lost Forest is in southern California. And maybe that would be a valid thought, though right now, southern California makes Minnesota look downright balmy.

Okay, we’re back on the regular story rotation!

Wait, did the comics syndicate put this strip on “repeat” mode? Cherry is once again working at Sunny Soleil Society and once again running into Honest Ernest, who—like Mark—has never changed his clothes. Wouldn’t Violet Cheshire have physically kicked Cherry out (again) this time for revealing her affair with Ernie to Ernest’s wife, much less for Cherry’s interference in Ernest’s lawn treatment? And how is it Ernie is still walking around, apparently injury-free? Furthermore, why doesn’t Cherry have the cajones to quit and find another, more amenable client? Must be good money.

On the other hand, the expanded panel 1 is a well-composed and well-drawn scene, thanks to using a 3-panel layout. Even the depiction of Cherry in panel 2 gets high marks for the strength of its drawing and the communication emanating from Cherry’s expression. The textbox makes the obvious pun but could have been left out. In fact, I think Rivera could have left Ernest out of panel 2 completely, leaving only his greeting balloon to ensure his appearance in panel 3 is the surprise it was meant to be.