Garbage Day

It’s garbage day and you put your trash on the curb, but when you return home from work, it’s still there (though everyone else’s garbage has been taken away). The next week, it happens again–and again the following week. Why is the trash collector snubbing you? Write a scene explaining why he’s skipping your garbage and how you figured it out.

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5 thoughts on “Garbage Day

  1. Paige Turner

    That damn trash man has snubbed me for the last time. Unbelievable. I turn into my driveway, past the ever growing number of trash bags, and pull into the garage. The only good thing is this ‘polar vortex’ is keeping it too cold for scavenging raccoons to ravage my neglected trash heap. Its damn good its January and the stuff isnt rotting out there either. I get out of my car and walk through the open garage door and up to the curb. I glance down the dead end road at my neighbors driveways. All clear of trash. Clearly, I’m the only person getting jerked around here.
    I turn and kick a trash bag with gusto, which was a terrible idea because this tears the overstretched bag. Random rotting food bits and bundled up diapers ooze out onto the frozen asphalt. “Fucking great!” I shout, then notice the Millers and their kids climbing out of their minivan 20 feet away from me.
    “Hey Ted!” Joe Miller shouts my direction over the top of their minivan.
    “Hi Joe” I shout back half heartedly.
    “How come all your trash is still stacked there, you taking it yourself to the dump or something?” Joe continues.
    “Uh, no, not really sure why it’s all here still. Trying to figure that out” I say barely loud enough for him to hear. The last thing I need is a nosy neighbor offering no help and pointing out the obvious.
    “Well, good luck with that” Joe adds before raising his hand in a sort of salute and walking towards his house.
    I mumble under my breath expletives best left unheard and look back down at the growing mess by my feet. Guess I need to get this cleaned up. I head back into the garage and Mary is tossing some things into the recycling bins beside the door that leads to the kitchen.
    “Hey Suga” she purrs at me with a big smile on her face.
    “Hey Love” I say back, more monotone than I intended.
    “What’s up” she asks.
    “Oh, you know, making a mess in the driveway cause the friggin trash guys skipped us again” I say.
    “What?” Mary yells, “again? Honey, this is ridiculous, we pay our bill like everyone else. Didn’t you call them about it last week after two back to back skips?”
    “Yeah, I did and they said it was an error and they’d make sure it didn’t happen again” I said.
    “Well they lied then” Mary added unnecessarily.
    “Yes, looks like it. I’ve just made a mess out there, so I gotta go clean it up.” I turned on the spot with the garden shovel in one hand and a fresh garbage bag in the other.
    “Sonafamotha nasty freakin mess, wouldn’t be doin this if not for incompetent people” I muttered while I worked.
    “Hey, Ted, what’s goin on?”
    I looked to my left and saw Jerry walking towards me. We look kinda alike with our shaggy brown hair, glasses, and slim build. The new neighbors get us confused, but I don’t mind cause Jerry is the most affable person on the block.
    “Hey man, how’r you?” I reply, still stooping to get the old trash bag into the new one without making a bigger mess. I successfully finish my task and straighten up as Jerry approaches.
    “What’s up, Ted, trash man skip you again?” Jerry reiterates the obvious.
    “Yeah, pain in my ass. I don’t know what’s going on, but this no longer seems ‘accidental’, know what I mean?”
    “Yeah, for sure. Seems like they have it out for you.” Jerry says reassuringly.
    “I don’t really know what else to do. I called them the first time and was polite. I called them the second time and was firm. I know if I call them again, I’m gonna blow up on somebody. Ya know, you pay for a service and expect it, is that so unrealistic?” I say, getting more worked up at my economic injustice.
    “Nah, no, not really. Say, did you give the trash guys a holiday tip?” Jerry asks.
    “A what? A holiday tip?” I question him.
    “Like the mailman, a little tip, a small gesture of your appreciation?” Jerry adds.
    “For real, tipping is now required for the trash man? Are you serious, Jerry?” I say now exasperated.
    “Well, I didn’t really think it was required, but if you didn’t this kinda seems like payback, don’t ya think?”
    “What, my monthly fee and their salary isn’t enough for my basic service? Do I have to coddle and tip everyone in this world to get what I already paid for?” my anger was rapidly rising and my voice was joining it.
    “I don’t make the rules, hell, I don’t even usually follow them, but Paige insisted that we put out a small gift for a few of our regular service people. I think we gave a gift card to the mailman, the trash guys, the water delivery guy and our UPS carrier, cause we run him ragged with our Amazon buys.” Jerry chuckled at his admission of excessive online shopping.
    “Well that’s just frickin unbelievable. I’ve never heard of tipping the trash man. And to withhold pick up for that! The real trap of it all is that I don’t get a choice. I can’t say, ‘go screw yourself then, you grubby little bastard’. No, my only other option to their gangsta-esq service is to haul my trash to the friggin dump myself.”
    Now I really want to kick the crap out of my trash bags. I say goodbye to Jerry and walk into the garage and put away the shovel. I open the door to the kitchen and am immediately overcome with the strong aroma of roasting garlic.
    “Oh, honey, that smells amazing. You roastin veggies?” I pick up some sliced carrots and pop them into my mouth.
    “You know it. So, what’s the deal. Did you call the trash company again? We’re nearly building a fort with all those bags piling up out there.” Mary said.
    “Jerry seems to think they’re skipping us because we didn’t give them some sort of holiday tip” I told her.
    “Seriously?” she exclaimed.
    “Seriously.” I said.
    “Well, that’s, that’s just extortion!” Mary continued. “To hold out service over an expected tip” her voice got shrill at the end of the sentence, signaling her disdain.
    “Yeah, pretty much. But guess we gotta give the guys something, eh?” I said.
    “Like hell we are. Screw it, you’ll just take our trash yourself to the dump and we can save a little money on their monthly fee. Surely it can’t cost as much to dump our trash ourselves. And you know what, I’ve been wanting to start composting our food scraps, so we will have less trash anyway.” she explained.
    “Um, well, I’m not too sure” I stammered, trying to delicately voice my opposition to this plan.
    “What’s wrong with that?” Mary asked.
    “It’s just that we don’t have a truck to easily haul the trash around in. I don’t want to carry Sam’s diaper trash in the back of my 4Runner.” I said, frowning just thinking about it.
    “Well, I don’t think it would be so bad, besides, maybe it’s time to retire that old thing and get a truck?” Mary questioned. She hated my 1984 Toyota 4Runner. It was old, but it was mint, at least the interior was unscathed.
    “I’ll deal with it, don’t you worry” I told her. Then I went into the office and grabbed two envelopes. I opened my wallet, pulled out the two twenties and two tens and divided them equally into the envelopes. I wrote “For Garbage Pick Up, Thanks for your service” on the outside of each and seal them up.

  2. kathleenmagner

    Holding his coffee in both hands, Adam stared out his bay window. Trash bags, bins and cardboard boxes full of garbage lined the sidewalk along the two lane road, shaded by the maples full of summer growth. Before his brownstone, the black plastic lumps from the past week were squished between the previous week, and the week before that. His pile peaked between the neighbors’ rubbish, an Everest of trash among the foothills. Bottles overflowed from one bin, some standing on the curb like kids lined up for a school bus while others lay drunk on their sides.

    From down the block the rumbling of the nearing truck shook the collection of empties, the window’s panes and the sugared coffee in Adam’s mug. The truck’s brakes squealed and hissed with its stop down by the Mason’s in number 119.

    “Stand strong,” whispered Adam, “you’ve done nothing wrong.”

    Setting his mug on the windowsill, he tightened the terrycloth cord of his evergreen bathrobe and headed outside in his leather-soled slippers. He descended his stoop, the robe’s hem flapping around the knees of his sweats like his fuzzy-wrapped feet on the half a dozen brick steps. Pocketing his hands, Adam loomed in the cleared parking spot beside the Everest mound and the “towing every first and third Friday” sign.

    Once the Mason’s and adjoining trash had been plucked, the garbage truck trundled from the curb and started along the block again. Through the bug-spattered window Adam spied a smirk on the driver’s lips when he looked down the road and spotted where he stood. Gunning the engine, the driver picked up speed, then surged to a stop, the deceleration casting a soured breeze over Adam’s face.

    He smothered his nose with the crook of his arm to ward off the stench while two men, one beefy the other slim, wearing matching sanitation uniforms with reflective stripes alternating with the dank grey jumped off the back and started pitching the neighbors bags and the contents of bins into the crusher. The unit smashed the added contents and the two workers muttered to one another.

    Adam frowned when Beefy thumbed in his direction and said something lost beneath the pop of plastic that caused Slim to snicker. Neither touched Everest or even attempted to stop its slide when they picked up the surrounding garbage. Once they’d cleared the sidewalk to either side, they shared a harsh chuckle, slapped the side of the truck and hopped onto the back. The driver grinned and the engine roared to life.

    Not today, reasoned Adam.

    Raising both hands he positioned himself at the truck’s vibrating front bumper.

    The driver scowled and then beeped the horn.

    Shaking his head, Adam planted his slippers on the asphalt.

    The driver stuck his head out the window, his receding pate gleaming, and angled his shout down the length of the truck. “We got trouble boys.”

    Click here to read the rest.

  3. Tharmon

    When is trash day again? Been in this apartment for several weeks now and for some reason I have a hard time remembering when trash day is! Guess I have to bug my neighbor again.

    BANG BANG BANG on the door. I should have probably banged a little harder. I mean, she is a little hard of hearing, thank God for that cause some nights I like to watch my movies really loud.

    The ninety something year old woman came to the door draped in her orange, brown and green crochet shawl. Ugh, that green looks like vomit! And I’m sure she had to have made that thing herself, probably when she was a teenager…and how old did Mrs. Chesterfield say she was again?…150?

    Pushing up her large plastic glasses and readjusting her little white wig, she opened the screen door peering about as if to find where the noise was coming from.

    “HI, MRS. CHESTERFIELD…IT’S MARIE…FROM NEXT DOOR…”

    Still searching about, she put her hand to her ear and said, “What’s that, dear?” in her soft spoken shaky voice. Not only is she nearly deaf, she probably has Parkinson’s…why does she keep bobbing her little head around?! I’m right here!

    “MRS. CHESTERFIELD!!! IT’S MARIE!!! WHEN IS TRASH DAY?” What the heck am I doing? Her grandson comes every day to help her. I should just wait until he gets here and ask him. I mean, she’s older…she probably doesn’t even remember considering how old she is.

    Mrs. Chesterfield stood there for a moment, head still bobbing about, then she slowly turned away from the door. No response, she just turned and walked away. Leaving the door open, Marie decided to follow her in searching around for her grandson. Within seconds he came from the bathroom, adjusting himself, his face flushed as soon as he noticed the visitor.

    “Hi…M-Marie? Right?” He smiled a nervous, embarrassed smile and quickly rushed to the door to close it. No comment needed to his grandmother because he knew her state of mind.

    “Yes. I was just trying to find out when trash day is? I put my trash out last night because I thought they pick up today. But considering mine is still out there, I thought I had my days wrong again.”

    “No, no. Uh, yeah.” He was shifting around and still tucking his shirt in trying to make sure he was presentable. “Today was trash day. Isn’t this, wh-what, the th-th-th-third time they left your trash behind?”

    “Yeah…yeah. Really weird. Wonder why mine isn’t getting picked up? You know what, I’m gonna leave it there this time! I’m not putting in the bins across the street at the market! Then I’m sure they’ll get it. Somebody’s bound to complain to the township, right? ”

    Scratching his head, seemingly trying to figure out this little mystery and eventually responded, “Uh, yeah sure. I suppose.” Is something wrong with him too? Geez, I mean he talks almost as slow as his grandmother. Ah well, at least I knew I was right on the day. Whatever, I’ll get to the bottom of this.

    “Alright. Well thank you for confirming that for me…” Damn, forgot his name. Just play it off, walk out nice and quiet like and maybe he won’t notice.

    “It’s John. Well, Johnnie…I-I-I mean, you know. Wh-wh-whatever is more comfortable for you.” Shit, didn’t think I was that obvious.

    “Ok. John. Thanks again.” Rushing out of the door she didn’t look back.

    A WEEK LATER

    Her conscience had gotten the better of her and she decided not to let her garbage stink up the block just to prove a point. Ok…this week I am going to keep a close eye on this whole transaction. She put her garbage out as she has done every week. Sat it right out front, properly bagged and separated. No rips in her bags, no reason they would overlook her weekly trash deposits. It was around eleven in the evening when she finished. Her pile was the neatest pile on the entire block. Feeling proud of herself she went back into her home and decided she’ll have some ice cream and watch her weekly movie rental really loud, just how she likes it.

    Just minutes into the movie and she hears banging outside. What the…? I mean, really? If it’s louder than my movie, something crazy has to be going on. She hopped up and peered out her window just in time to see John, Johnnie, whatever you want to call him, bobbing his head around as if to check and see if anyone was looking after he dropped the trash can. What in the hell!? I know he’s not…Is that my trash can? Where is he taking it? Frustration was overcome by curiosity. She had to know exactly what he was doing. He did seem a little strange but I mean this has to be the weirdest stuff I ever saw.

    After watching him for a few minutes all her trash was off the street. Hmmm, maybe he’s helping me. I mean I did just complain to him that my trash keeps getting left behind. He’s probably just putting in that bin across the street. I don’t know. At least it’s not there and I don’t have to dump it. Movie time then sleepy time.

    The next morning she arose with confidence. She got dressed and started out the door just to be greeted by her lovely pile of garbage again! Ok, what the hell. First of all, he took everything last night and got rid of it! And I heard the trash truck while I was getting dressed! WHY IS MY SHIT BACK !!!!! this time she let frustration hold the reigns and it led her straight to Mrs. Chesterfields door.

    BANG BANG BANG. Within seconds she was greeted at the door

    “M-M-Marie.” It was John, Johnnie, whatever you want to call him.

    “What the hell are you doing with my trash!!!?” Her face red, arms flying around, foot stomped on the concrete patio.

    “W-w-will you go out with me?” Shock . Oh my God, this dude can’t be serious! Now, you’re asking me this after I saw you do the weirdo crap with my trash, I’m yelling at you, and…calm down. Obviously he’s a little special cause he doesn’t even seem to remember the day I moved in and he asked me out
    .
    “John. Listen…” voice calmer, she continued. “What are you doing with my trash? I saw you take it last night and now it’s there again.”

    “W-w-well, I had to do something to g-g-get your attention since you r-r-rejected me before.”

  4. catbr

    Why is my garbage still on the curb? Everybody else’s garbage is gone. It must have been an oversight on the garbage collectors part. Now I have to put the friggin shit back in the garage for another week. No, maybe I’ll sneak out tonight and put it in the apartment’s dumpster across the street. Yeah, I like that idea better. Why do I want the extra garbage stinking up my garage.

    Come to think of it where would we be without the garbage collectors? I can’t imagine what the streets would look like. Actually I can, if you think of the slums of India or one of those third world countries. Whew, thank God we don’t live like them poor sorry souls. Should send them some money someday so the government can start cleaning things up for them.

    Okay this is getting really annoying. This is the third week that my garbage wasn’t picked up. What the hell is going on here? I know it’s always out on time because I always put it out the night before. Why is the city garbage collectors avoiding my place. It’s getting on my nerves sneaking over to that apartment every week carrying my bags of garbage in the middle of the night. That friggin dog won’t shut up. Every time I lift the lid to the dumpster it starts it’s deafening squealing. It doesn’t even sound like a dog. It sounds more like a rooster. I almost wet my pants and twisted my ankle during the last rondesvous.

    Maybe it’s time for me to phone the city and give them a piece of my mind. They never do anything right and they’re always quick to lay it on us. Like the property tax and water and hydro and everything else… it just keeps getting more expensive. Yeah, they’re going to hear from me alright.

    “Hello. This is Diane Robertson and I live at 125 Maple Street W. For the last 3 weeks my garbage hasn’t been picked up. I’m not too happy with this. You can’t imagine what I’ve had to go through with all that garbage piling up.” They don’t have to know that I don’t keep the garbage here. It’s my little secret. Well, mine and the sickening little dog.

    “Yes, Miss Robertson. You mentioned that it’s been 3 weeks, is that right?”

    “That’s right.” I say in my sternest voice.

    “I think I know what the problem is. That’s when the new city program started where you have to put your garbage in special see through bags. The garbage men aren’t supposed to pick garbage up in the old standard garbage bags anymore. Does this clear things up for you? Or is it maybe something else? The notices about this were all over town and on the radio.”

    The notices about this were all over town and on the radio…her smug voice repeats itself sarcastically in my head. She doesn’t have to sound so self-righteous. You’d think she was talking to some common criminal or something. I completely forgot. Now I feel slightly foolish. “Yes. That does clear the matter up. Thanks for your help.”

    1. Paige Turner

      That damn trash man has snubbed me for the last time. Unbelievable. I turn into my driveway, past the ever growing number of trash bags, and pull into the garage. The only good thing is this ‘polar vortex’ is keeping it too cold for scavenging raccoons to ravage my neglected trash heap. Its damn good its January and the stuff isnt rotting out there either. I get out of my car and walk through the open garage door and up to the curb. I glance down the dead end road at my neighbors driveways. All clear of trash. Clearly, I’m the only person getting jerked around here.
      I turn and kick a trash bag with gusto, which was a terrible idea because this tears the overstretched bag. Random rotting food bits and bundled up diapers ooze out onto the frozen asphalt. “Fucking great!” I shout, then notice the Millers and their kids climbing out of their minivan 20 feet away from me.
      “Hey Ted!” Joe Miller shouts my direction over the top of their minivan.
      “Hi Joe” I shout back half heartedly.
      “How come all your trash is still stacked there, you taking it yourself to the dump or something?” Joe continues.
      “Uh, no, not really sure why it’s all here still. Trying to figure that out” I say barely loud enough for him to hear. The last thing I need is a nosy neighbor offering no help and pointing out the obvious.
      “Well, good luck with that” Joe adds before raising his hand in a sort of salute and walking towards his house.
      I mumble under my breath expletives best left unheard and look back down at the growing mess by my feet. Guess I need to get this cleaned up. I head back into the garage and Mary is tossing some things into the recycling bins beside the door that leads to the kitchen.
      “Hey Suga” she purrs at me with a big smile on her face.
      “Hey Love” I say back, more monotone than I intended.
      “What’s up” she asks.
      “Oh, you know, making a mess in the driveway cause the friggin trash guys skipped us again” I say.
      “What?” Mary yells, “again? Honey, this is ridiculous, we pay our bill like everyone else. Didn’t you call them about it last week after two back to back skips?”
      “Yeah, I did and they said it was an error and they’d make sure it didn’t happen again” I said.
      “Well they lied then” Mary added unnecessarily.
      “Yes, looks like it. I’ve just made a mess out there, so I gotta go clean it up.” I turned on the spot with the garden shovel in one hand and a fresh garbage bag in the other.
      “Sonafamotha nasty freakin mess, wouldn’t be doin this if not for incompetent people” I muttered while I worked.
      “Hey, Ted, what’s goin on?”
      I looked to my left and saw Jerry walking towards me. We look kinda alike with our shaggy brown hair, glasses, and slim build. The new neighbors get us confused, but I don’t mind cause Jerry is the most affable person on the block.
      “Hey man, how’r you?” I reply, still stooping to get the old trash bag into the new one without making a bigger mess. I successfully finish my task and straighten up as Jerry approaches.
      “What’s up, Ted, trash man skip you again?” Jerry reiterates the obvious.
      “Yeah, pain in my ass. I don’t know what’s going on, but this no longer seems ‘accidental’, know what I mean?”
      “Yeah, for sure. Seems like they have it out for you.” Jerry says reassuringly.
      “I don’t really know what else to do. I called them the first time and was polite. I called them the second time and was firm. I know if I call them again, I’m gonna blow up on somebody. Ya know, you pay for a service and expect it, is that so unrealistic?” I say, getting more worked up at my economic injustice.
      “Nah, no, not really. Say, did you give the trash guys a holiday tip?” Jerry asks.
      “A what? A holiday tip?” I question him.
      “Like the mailman, a little tip, a small gesture of your appreciation?” Jerry adds.
      “For real, tipping is now required for the trash man? Are you serious, Jerry?” I say now exasperated.
      “Well, I didn’t really think it was required, but if you didn’t this kinda seems like payback, don’t ya think?”
      “What, my monthly fee and their salary isn’t enough for my basic service? Do I have to coddle and tip everyone in this world to get what I already paid for?” my anger was rapidly rising and my voice was joining it.
      “I don’t make the rules, hell, I don’t even usually follow them, but Paige insisted that we put out a small gift for a few of our regular service people. I think we gave a gift card to the mailman, the trash guys, the water delivery guy and our UPS carrier, cause we run him ragged with our Amazon buys.” Jerry chuckled at his admission of excessive online shopping.
      “Well that’s just frickin unbelievable. I’ve never heard of tipping the trash man. And to withhold pick up for that! The real trap of it all is that I don’t get a choice. I can’t say, ‘go screw yourself then, you grubby little bastard’. No, my only other option to their gangsta-esq service is to haul my trash to the friggin dump myself.”
      Now I really want to kick the crap out of my trash bags. I say goodbye to Jerry and walk into the garage and put away the shovel. I open the door to the kitchen and am immediately overcome with the strong aroma of roasting garlic.
      “Oh, honey, that smells amazing. You roastin veggies?” I pick up some sliced carrots and pop them into my mouth.
      “You know it. So, what’s the deal. Did you call the trash company again? We’re nearly building a fort with all those bags piling up out there.” Mary said.
      “Jerry seems to think they’re skipping us because we didn’t give them some sort of holiday tip” I told her.
      “Seriously?” she exclaimed.
      “Seriously.” I said.
      “Well, that’s, that’s just extortion!” Mary continued. “To hold out service over an expected tip” her voice got shrill at the end of the sentence, signaling her disdain.
      “Yeah, pretty much. But guess we gotta give the guys something, eh?” I said.
      “Like hell we are. Screw it, you’ll just take our trash yourself to the dump and we can save a little money on their monthly fee. Surely it can’t cost as much to dump our trash ourselves. And you know what, I’ve been wanting to start composting our food scraps, so we will have less trash anyway.” she explained.
      “Um, well, I’m not too sure” I stammered, trying to delicately voice my opposition to this plan.
      “What’s wrong with that?” Mary asked.
      “It’s just that we don’t have a truck to easily haul the trash around in. I don’t want to carry Sam’s diaper trash in the back of my 4Runner.” I said, frowning just thinking about it.
      “Well, I don’t think it would be so bad, besides, maybe it’s time to retire that old thing and get a truck?” Mary questioned. She hated my 1984 Toyota 4Runner. It was old, but it was mint, at least the interior was unscathed.
      “I’ll deal with it, don’t you worry” I told her. Then I went into the office and grabbed two envelopes. I opened my wallet, pulled out the two twenties and two tens and divided them equally into the envelopes. I wrote “For Garbage Pick Up, Thanks for your service” on the outside of each and sealed them up.

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