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10:18 a.m. - 2023-09-24
trash pandas

It wasn't just the kibble they were after, the syndicate of raccoons that had been raiding my shop for remnants of the mouser's dinner, but the serving dish as well. They really wanted that dish. It was my fault in-part, for neglecting to roll the doors down before turning in. An oversight I've been guilty of since I moved into this place and, as I'm a light sleeper, one that's come to define my nights. The clatter of a furtive-but-failed attempt to navigate the pile of empty beer-cans that surround my garbage, the clank of bottles on concrete when a tasty bag of trash topples over...these are the calls to alarm that find me out of bed in an instant; barefoot in my boxers, wielding a broom like a broadsword and cursing the perps as they make their escape.

These flea-bit felons did make off with one once, years ago. A shiny, stainless-steel bowl, purchased to feed the kitten I'd found myself tasked with. My lesson was learned then, and its replacement was summarily drilled out and bolted to the concrete slab outside my door, where it sits to this day. But owing to an uptick in varmints and a recent occurrence of strays, I'd taken to serving the mouser's breakfast in the shop (not all of us can afford to feed the whole neighborhood, y'know). And it's not precious or anything, the new dish...she eats off of the same tableware I do: plastic, single serving microwave-lasagna trays. So I've an ample stack of replacements, it's just the principle, y'know? Boundaries and limits and respect an' shit...

I'd thwarted a few attempted heists in the past few months, incidents where the dish was abandoned by the shop door as the thieves fled. They've even dragged it as far as the driveway on occasion, thinking they were home-free...underestimating my thirst for justice. But last night they changed up their tactics, deploying three operatives instead of the single soldier I'd faced in the past. This “shell-game” approach proved successful, and by the time I realized who had the dish they were in the clear. Leaving me swearing in the driveway, waving my flashlight as a company of striped tails disappeared into the night beyond.

So I concede defeat for now. I've learned my lesson (again) and the new dish has been battened down. Not that I anticipate any raids tonight. For tonight, I'd presume, should be a grand event in the raccoon I can picture vividly: the whole clan gathered around an oak-stump down by the creek, upon which has been placed their holy, hard-won grail (a plastic, single serving microwave-lasagna tray), all in attendance sitting erect on their haunches, twitching in anticipation as the moon rises; all in attendance furrowing their masks in consternation when the neverending kibble bowl fails to replenish itself...



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