I recognized the thump that had startled me as I was settling down to sleep: it was the unmistakable sound of something trying to get into the outside waste receptacle.
Damn, I cursed aloud, I forgot about the garbage.
The day had been spent in celebration of a granddaughter’s fifth birthday, and I’d collected all the rubbish in a convenient bin just beside the back door, telling myself I’d move it to more secure quarters after everyone left.
And then I didn’t do it.
And now it was night, and everyone had gone home, and I was alone except for the midnight intruder.
Empowered by anger at my forgetfulness, I turned on the back light and swung open the door catching the wild-eyed critter in the act. He lumbered off, striped tail swishing behind him. I was sure he’d be back.
I stepped off the porch to examine the damage. Thankfully, none; so I tied the bag shut and just as I was setting the lid in place, the outside light turned off leaving me in total darkness.
“Hello!” I yelled at the light. “I am still here! There is still motion!” Nothing. I was alone, in the dark, beside the garbage and an oversized, thieving raccoon was somewhere nearby.
I felt my way along the wall, stumbled over the first step and inched back into the house, heart pounding, determined to outsmart the beast, who I knew would be back.
I need to find something heavy to weigh down the lid, I thought and then remembered: a raccoon is likely stronger than I am. My eyes fell to a box of cleaning supplies. I lifted up a spray bottle: Mold and Mildew Spray.
Aha! I thought. Toxic chemicals will deter this baby.
I hurriedly made my way back to the garbage bin and sprayed it leaving the white spray bottle on top for good measure. I made it back before the light went out, and laid my panicked self down on the bed to catch my breath.
I’ll be cleaning up strewn pizza and ice cream toppings in the morning, I conceded to myself, and fell asleep.
Morning came and I realized I’d slept through the night with no interruption. I flew open the window shade and there sat the bottle of spray, undisturbed on top of the garbage can.
I’d outsmarted the raccoon. Well, at least this time.
Writer, avid reader, former educator, and proud grandmother, currently experiencing life through the lens of ME/CFS. Words are, and always have been, a lifeline. Some of the best adventures, I'm discovering, take place in the imagination.