Sunday, July 18, 2021

Bin there; done that.

TRASH TALKING: The furry critters were in quite the fix, a 
splendid oxymoron, if you think about it.
Yesterday just past noon, my wife Helena and I were at the north Toronto park known as Edwards Gardens, walking in the drizzle. We were ready to leave when one of our umbrellas broke. I went to trash it.

Just to see if I could, rather than merely place the thing into the garbage can, I stood back a few feet, took aim, threw and bingo, in it went. Almost all the way. The hooked handle kept the projectile from disappearing into the bin

But you know how fast your ears work right?

Between the time the umbrella left my hands and the moment it stopped moving, I could have sworn I heard a rumble from inside the garbage can. I returned to the Malibu and told Helena we'd better investigate.

I steered over to the garbage can, Helena got out, pushed open the flap, and announced: “Raccoons. Two.”

I went to see, and peering up at us from the darkness, trapped deep inside the four-feet-tall almost empty commercial garbage container were four eyes, belonging to two scared-looking furry creatures huddled so closely all their eyes could have been on one face. 

Helena strode to the admin building and returned with one of the staff guys. We figured out how to remove the top of the garbage can and we three very carefully tipped it over until the first raccoon skedaddled out, loping clean across the parking lot. I’m glad the place was practically empty; there was next to zero chance of him or her getting run over.

COLD CASE: Why don't all dime store detectives start here?
But the other guy stayed put.

Even with the garbage bin almost completely upside down, he managed to cling  to the bottom, scared out of his tiny raccoon wits.  

Remember grade-six grammar?

Anthropomorphism? When a writer attributes human characteristics to non-human entities. If anthropomorphism had a patron saint, it would be Walt Disney. You’ll see why I told you that in the next paragraph.

I figure yesterday’s adventure started thusly:  Two young raccoons, probably just a few weeks old, (10 or 11 in little-boy years) were hanging out and one of them, let’s call him Terry, tells his pal, Peter, that there was lots of free treats to be found in that big green thing.

Terry: “Swear Peter. All you have to do is show up when there’s nobody around, push that flap open, reach in and see what God’ll give you.

But yesterday morning, when Pete and Ter climbed on top of the garbage can, Terry pushed the flap, peered in and all he could see was darkness. What the boys didn’t know was that this was a Saturday morning; and it had been raining. If there was anything at all to be found, it would be deep down inside.

Peter: “I don’t know Ter. This does not look good.”

Terry: “Trust me, Pete. I got this. You stay up here. Hold on for dear life and I’ll, like, I’ll climb down holding on to your tail. It’ll be great.”

Peter: “Not sure we should be doing this, Terry. Ouch, Terry… careful..”

Three seconds later, Peter lands plop on top of Terry who’d already fallen and lay at the bottom of the garbage can,  looking up at the out-of-reach flap.

No treasures. Just empty Tim’s cups and a few soaked parking-lot receipts.

Peter: “We are so screwed, Ter.  Why did I let you talk me into this?

MAGNETIC PERSONALITIES: Me and Scuzz, just cuz.

If you’re wondering why I chose the name Terry, it’s that the two raccoons yesterday reminded me of me and my childhood friend Terry who I think about almost every day because for some reason, there’s a picture of him and me stuck on our fridge door, a fact that makes me wonder: Why don’t all  crime novel detectives start at the fridge door? You could tell everything about me that you want to know just by looking at our old Inglis; pictures of all three of our cats, Mehitabel Kiwi and Iris; an old photo of a guinea pig named Bartholamew, receipts for some medical procedures, a few pictures of my grandson Mateus, a magnetic calendar, the funeral card for my late mother in law Marie Szybalski, a picture of me and Helena in Prague, all sorts of photos of our kids Ewa, Ria and Michel, some tiny magnetic tarot cards (?) and tiny scissors hanging off a hook, a notepad with a pen dangling from it and for some reason, those two pictures of me and Terry that we probably paid 25 cents for in the photo booth in Woolworths when we were in grade five growing up in Sudbury. 

Terry was always up for adventure; he was always happy and his nickname was “Scuzz” because instead of saying “because” he said “scuzz.” Wherever Terry is, I hope he remembers how much we all liked him.

Terry (in real-life as well as raccoon-life) would have been the raccoon to dart out first;  fearlessly loping across the parking lot. Peter would have been back inside the can, hanging on with his little claws, frightened to the very bottom of his little raccoon toes.

The staff guy had to use a broom to persuade Peter to leave, which he ultimately did, high tailing it back to the bushes, hopefully to pick up Terry’s scent so the two could reunite, high-five with their little raccoon feet and laugh like crazy.

And then Terry the raccoon­­­ probably would probably spy something over by the trail--a smoldering cigarette butt let’s say--and he would be like, “Pete we have to check this out!”