03 July 2009

The Trash Cans at the Bottom of the Stairs, Part 1

"Hey, could you take the trash out on the way to the car?" Kip turned around in his policeman's uniform and raised an eyebrow at me as if I were asking him to paint his toenails before work.
"What day do they come to take the trash?" he asked.
He looked up, scanning a calendar only visible to him that was apparently hanging somewhere in midair between the doorway and the fridge. Thursday. I thought as I gazed at him, willing him to hear my thoughts, It's Thursday today, there's nearly a week left. His lips moved silently, counting back days. It's Thurrrrrsday..."That's a lot of time" he concluded, as if he had heard me (hey, the soul mate thing is a possibility, right?) "And something got into the trash earlier this week."
"Really? I was wondering why it looked like someone yakked on my back stairs" It was true. I was actually sort of repulsed by the bits of food under the stairs and had sworn to either sweep it out or pray for a good heavy rain...whichever came first. The thought that it hadn't been a rogue technicolor yawn from a drunken (and very, very lost) tourist, but some manner of trash thief in the night had never occurred to me.
"Yeah, I picked it up for you"
Aww, I thought.
He didn't respond. Apparently the mind-reading was temporary.

"Oh, it was probably a raccoon!" I stuffed the garbage bag into his hand and pushed him toward the door. He plodded down the stairs leading to my house-top apartment and tossed the bag into one of the cans that neatly line the back of the owners' shed. I poked my head out of the door, "I love you!" He smiled up at me, "I love you too! See you tomorrow!", and bounced down the driveway toward his car and off to work protecting the citizens of Juneau. I closed the door and headed for the recliner, where an evening's worth of crocheting was waiting for me.

As I looped the yarn around the hook, I thought about my new place of residence, how everyone I've met in this little town knows the people who own the home that contains my apartment. One of my coworkers informed me today that her friend used to rent the place, and that the windows would steam up every time they made Top Ramen.

Note to self: crack a window when cooking dorm staples.

It really is a great place to live--it's in downtown Juneau, which means that I can bike or walk to just about anything I need and that I'm closely surrounded by neighbors for better or worse (better being a sense of community and the possibility of someday needing a cup of sugar; worse being the fact that the people behind me have a particularly loud dog who whined for about three hours a few nights ago when they accidentally locked it out of the house). I had just finished my crocheting and was heading to bed a few hours later when I heard a loud BaaaaDUNdundundundun.

Oh, it's just the Chalmers taking out their trash, I thought as I stepped through the doorway to my bedroom. My foot had barely hit the hardwood when another thought ran into my mind like a sputtering junior editor into a busy press room yelling "Stop the presses!!!!" I froze in the doorway...But they're still on vacation in Australia...

As if on cue in a suspense film, the sound below repeated itself. I crept to the front door and turned on the stairway light as the sound became more and more persistent and then stopped altogether as a very large, very dark shadow cast itself over the stairs and started moving toward the door.

Did I forget to mention that there was something different about the trash cans at the bottom of the stairs? They're different that most of the other trash cans in downtown Juneau...

...they're not bear-safe.

To be Continued...


Tessa said...

Yikes! Now I've heard of foxes in the trash...and in Africa, even hyenas are partial to a bin snack. But a BEAR! Now that's scary!

Hi, it’s me, Tessa, from An Aerial Armadillo. Just to let you know that your name was drawn from the Maestro’s violin case and you’ve won a limited edition print of my painting ‘Dance, Pretty Mama’! I’ve sent a donation to Dr. Maithri for the Swaziland Project in your name as promised. YAY!

If you email me your snail mail address, I’ve have the matted print in the mail for you on Monday morning!

hrobins said...

Ach! That's crazy!!!! I'm caught in a tortured state of suspense until part two...

Cindy said...

Email sent, Tessa! I'll dance all day to some jazz standards in celebration!