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.