Monday, September 12, 2016

Laska Challenge II: Recycling

Paul Laska, the amazing author of several books including Four Years, challenged me to another piece.  His challenge is in italics.  As before, 500 word minimum.  This one is 692.

So here it is, a day late.  Sorry, P$, I've been busy.


A couple is walking their dog.  They hear a sound in a waste basket.  What kind of sound is it?  And what do they do next?

I used to love late spring days, but not anymore.  Not since a few years back.  What maybe two, three years ago?  What?  2008?  Time flies.

Yeah, so it was a gorgeous late spring day.  The sun was shining, a very gentle whisper of a breeze.
Me and Jessie… we was married Jessie and me… decided to both call off work to y’know, enjoy the day.  She worked so hard at her job at the bank and me at the Senior Center, so we decided we deserved to take a day for ourselves.  Because we never did that before.  Seriously!  Neither of us ever played hooky before, cuz we figured it’s not fair to our coworkers. 

So we’re walking our dog, Puddles.  She was a Rottweiler.  Yeah, Puddles!  I didn’t name her!  We’re walking the dog near the park, and the dog stops to do her business.  And as I’m the one carrying the plastic bags, I get to clean up after her.  So I bend down to clean up, and I hear the sound of a baby crying.  And Jessie hears it too.  Puddles, she starts to growl. 

The crying is coming from this nearby recycling bin, y’know the kind with the round hole in the top?  As I finished cleaning the mess, she and Puddles went over to the bin.  Puddles was growling the whole time. 

I could still the baby crying- muffled- quiet.

Suddenly this… this... tentacle.  That’s what it was- a big black tentacle.  It comes through the hole.  Had to be ten- fifteen feet long.  I don’t know how it fit.  It comes outta the hole and… and... grabs the both of them!  Wraps around them both!  Twice!  Jessie was screaming and the dog was yelping and no one heard it by me!  They struggled and struggled- screaming oh God screaming and the dog yelping…  And the tentacle keeps getting longer and fatter and I know it’s impossible but it did!
The tentacle starts pulling back into the bin.  It’s wrapped around them and keeps coiling tighter and tighter.  Somehow, it pulls them screaming through that tiny hole and into the can.  The last thing I see going through is the dog’s back paw.  Then…nothin’.  All I hear are cars going by; birds chirping; the wind through the trees.

Then, quietly, I hear crying.  I hear Jessie crying.  But it’s muffled, and like it’s far away… but it’s coming from the recycling bin.

I ran away as fast as I could, fumbling with my phone to call 9-1-1.  Every trash can and mailbox, I heard her- Jessie crying.  Crying, sobbing.

I got 9-1-1 on the phone and I says to them I says that my wife and dog was kidnapped and I say where and they say to meet the cops there.  I walk back, but down the middle of the street.  All the cars were beepin’ and stuff but I didn’t care.  The cops were there when I got back to the bin. 

I didn’t hear no crying.  I told them what happened and they looked at me, well, they looked at me like you’re lookin’ at me now.  They open the recycling bin, and there’s nothin’ in it but cans and bottles.  And I’m tellin’ ‘em what I saw and they cuff me and take me to the station.

Anyways, here I am, strapped to this table, waitin’ for the meds again.  Only reason I’m off ‘em now is so I can talk to you.  And occasionally when they wheel me past a trash can, I hear Jessie crying.  Sometimes I even hear Puddles whimpering.  Once I heard it from the closet in my room, but I’m strapped down so I can’t go look.

No one believes me!  They think I killed her or somethin’.  But really, it’s all true, Doc!  I swear on my mother’s grave! 

What?  No, I don’t hear nothin,’ why?  No, no cryin’, nothin,’ why?  No, don’t go to the closet don’t’Go!  DON”T OPEN THAT! 

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