Humor Fiction posted September 18, 2020

This work has reached the exceptional level
(957 words) A meeting in strange circumstances.

Sharon And The Wheelie Bin

by LisaMay

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

It was the proverbial dark and stormy night – blowing a gale in fact – but Sharon was snuggled by the fire with a glass of soothing Shiraz in her hand, having already consumed most of the bottle… plus a round of nicely mellowed camembert cheese, a jar of salmon-stuffed olives, and some lime jelly for her ‘greens’. Oh, I probably should mention the family-sized block of hazelnut chocolate as well.  

Sharon was coming to terms with her new-found solitary state, and finding it rather to her liking. Since the divorce, she could afford to do whatever she liked. What did it matter if she had several glasses of wine in the comfort of her own palatial home, instead of having to make mind-numbing small talk with people she detested at cocktail parties and exhibition openings? What did it matter if she wasn’t dressed stylishly all the time in haute couture, as Jo-nathan (how pretentious was that!!) had preferred? Who would know she was comfortably slumming it in her old polar-fleece top, her sagging, stained tracky dacks, and her moth-eaten slippers that she had resurrected from disgrace at the bottom of her walk-in wardrobe? 

Feeling completely relaxed – loose as a noodle – Sharon swirled the wine in her elegant glass, admiring its rich colour. She raised the glass and slurred: “Here’s to me… Domestic Goddess!” Already she could feel the comfort of not having to pretend she was someone else. 

She was beginning to nod with drowsiness, her thoughts turning towards bed, when a thought swam into her sozzled consciousness. Damn that man! Jo-nathan had only ever been good at one thing, but in his absence she was going to have to do it for herself. 

He’d been useless around the house, but one task he had managed to do was to put the wheelie bin out on the appointed night each week, ready for the early morning rubbish collection truck. Now here it was, just turned midnight with a storm making its presence felt, and the rubbish bin hadn’t been trundled into position. 

Sharon wanted it off the premises. It was filled with a week's worth of pizza boxes and empty ice cream tubs (Sharon’s contribution) and most of the contents of the fridge (Jo-nathan’s contribution in absentia). He always overstocked on fresh produce, as well as buying far too many expensive, healthy food items. Sharon had taken delight in hurling the limp vegetables and the packets and jars into the bin, then slamming the lid with a triumphant cry: “Good riddance! Now there’s more space for frivolous fun food!” 

Meanwhile, she was contemplating what to do about the bin. This had become an onerous task due to major roadworks in the street. The old terracotta sewer pipes were being dug up and replaced with PVC ones, so the road was often closed to through traffic, including the garbage truck. This necessitated man-handling the loaded bin down to the street at the bottom of the hill  and leaving it at the kerb, to be dragged back up the hill after it’d been emptied the following day. See? Whoever heard of woman-handling? Putting the rubbish out was a designated male task from time immemorial. Attending to the disposal of the dinosaur bones after dinner would’ve been Fred’s job, not Wilma’s.

Gritting her teeth, Sharon put on her raincoat and went out the back door, seized the wheelie bin’s handle, and headed off on her mission. To make matters worse, the street light wasn’t working. She’d only progressed 100 yards when a pebble caught in a wheel, the bin skewed and toppled over with the lid gaping open, facing downhill. Because of the gradient, the contents spewed out. Pizza boxes skidded down the street, hard on the heels of the rolling jars.

In frustration, and in pain with skinned knees, Sharon screamed abuse into the black night at the up-ended wheelie bin: “You dirty bastard! I hate you! Look… I’m bleeding! Are you satisfied?”

Not wishing to litter the street, Sharon was scrambling around on all fours, clutching at errant pieces of food waste, when a bright light illuminated her. She shielded her eyes and looked up. There was an angel haloed in the night, with a raised baseball bat. Another one stood behind the first one, clutching a fireside poker. 

“What’s going on here? Are you being attacked?” a man’s voice boomed out. Sharon was speechless with surprise. 

The smaller angel stepped forward into the light, hesitating momentarily as Sharon’s booze-breath hit her. “There, there, dear. I can see you must be hungry. Being a homeless alcoholic must be awful for you. It looks like you’ve chosen a good bin to go through with all that food, but would you like to come inside with us and have a hot drink? Maybe you’d like a warm bed for the night? We can get you sorted in the morning. Come on in out of the rain, dear.”

Sharon meekly allowed herself to be led indoors. Once inside, the man scrutinised her, apparently not as full of Christian charity as his wife, who was smiling in a welcoming manner.

“One night. Okay?” he grumbled, softening. “Here. Have a home-baked chocolate chip cookie. I made them this afternoon, after we’d finished unpacking.”

“How about a nice mug of hot chocolate, dear, before bed?” His wife had already put the electric kettle on.

Sharon submitted to their ministrations. She could tell these new neighbours in the morning that she lived three doors away, up the hill. The man had already said he’d take care of the rubbish bin tonight. She could sleep peacefully. 

“I wonder what’s for breakfast?” she mused as she lay her head down on the unfamiliar pillow.

Story of the Month contest entry


"Tracky dacks" are tracksuit pants.
"Sozzled" means drunk.
"Fred" and "Wilma" refer to The Flintstones.
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