2267. A bag of trash for Halloween

Every Sunday evening Herman would put all the trash into one big black plastic bag and tie it by knotting the pull-string threaded through the top. He would then place the bag into a wheelie-bin and pull it out to his gate where the City Council’s waste collection vehicle would empty the wheelie-bin early on Monday morning.

He had just finished knotting the string tightly when something moved inside the bag. There was a rustle. Herman froze. Had there been a rat inside nibbling on kitchen waste? What if it was a skunk? Perhaps it was a snake? A racoon? A possum?

The thing inside the bag moved again. He had double knotted the pull-string. He wasn’t going to go anywhere near the bag, let alone unknot the tie without wearing thick gloves. And if he wore thick cloves he would be unable to untie the knotted string without delicate fingers. Perhaps it was a copperhead. It could strike a lethal blow if he put his hands near.

It moved again. It wasn’t a movement of panic. It was a quiet movement as if the creature was contentedly eating. Perhaps it was a little mouse. Little mouse or not, Herman was not going to go near the bag. A swish. A crinkling. A slight flutter. Maybe it was a bird?

Fortunately he was in his garage. He backed the car out onto the driveway. It provided space in the garage. Now he needed to find something sharp with a long handle. He would then try to rip the bag open from a distance, release the entrapped creature, and use a new bag for the trash. The rake! He could hopefully tear the bag using the rake’s prongs.

It took Herman a while to gash open the bag. There was no longer much movement. Maybe the creature was so terrified that it had backed down to the security of the bottom of the bag. Things spilled out over the concrete floor: a used jam jar, teabags, wet coffee grounds, food scraps, screwed up paper, junk mail fliers, an empty tissue box… What a mess!

And then he saw it! The creature was free!

Herman had let the cat out of the bag.

29 thoughts on “2267. A bag of trash for Halloween

  1. umashankar

    I appreciate the suspense that has been whisked up so naturally, and intensified through interesting suggestions. The climax has been resolved perfectly, and the conclusion is both startling and ingenious, offering a possibility way beyond the literal meaning of the closing, which is of course the intent of the storyteller.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. colinmcqueen

    In the UK the cat would have been safe. We have different colour bins for different types of trash – landfill, garden waste, food waste, glass, metal, card & paper etc etc. Try dropping a little bit of metal in with the garden waste – your bins will be minutely scrutinised for months afterwards. As there is no bin (yet) for pussies, it would undoubtedly be left, alive and well, on the drive with the veg peelings…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Where I live (in the countryside) there is no rubbish collection – but the people in town have such a coloured arrangement. However, I believe, during the lockdowns it all gets collected together because no one is allowed to check for things lest COVID19 had tainted something.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. badfinger20 (Max)

            As far as the blog I do what you do. I am about 20 post ahead. Up until five or six months ago I would do mine the night before. I can’t do that anymore.

            Liked by 1 person


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