Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts: garbage day is his marker in time (yes, that really was the prompt!), still making that noise, a perfect summer day, lost in the moment, and she lets me know she cares for me when she sinks her teeth in my ankle (that last phrase may have been a joke, but it worked out for my story!)
As soon as it got dark, Rory Raccoon crept over the levee and looked down at the street below. A dull green plastic can with wheels stood in front of each driveway. “Yes!” he hissed gleefully to himself in a near whisper. Garbage Day was his marker in time. He loved Garbage Day. For one thing, the humans who lived in the big stucco houses made it easy for his kind, lining up the garbage receptacles like that. On other nights, he’d have to creep from yard to yard, climbing over gates, digging under fences, dodging dogs and smoking teenagers. But on Garbage Night it was like a carnival or fair; everything was on display. It felt festive.
The day after Garbage Day was the day he’d get to see Leilani in the picture window of the big corner house across the road from the park. For some reason he had been unable to discern, she only appeared in the window the evening after Garbage Day. So there was Garbage Day, and there was the day after. Then Rory lost count, because, you know, he was a raccoon. He just had to wait for Garbage Day again to know when he’d see Leilani.
Leilani was a creature who looked quite like a raccoon but she was smaller and she lived inside a house. She was dark gray and fluffy like a raccoon, and she had a big belly and hips like a raccoon. She had black stripes on her ribs and an M on her forehead. But unlike a raccoon, she had a short snout, and she wore no mask. Rory liked that. Without a mask, she looked fresh and open, and okay—very sexy. Every week he’d go sit under the window after dark and talk to Leilani. She was a fascinating conversationalist. She made him feel things he’d never felt with his mate, Zelda. He had always considered himself a good husband and father, and sometime he wondered if his infatuation with Leilani was a form of cheating.
He asked Leilani about that one night. “Of course, it’s a form of cheating,” she purred with a mischievous cock of her eyebrow. “What fun would it be otherwise?”
His mouth dropped open. He realized he had wanted her to reassure him. Certainly their flirtation was harmless. After all, there was a sheet of glass between them. But she was honest. “Understand,” she continued, “we die a little every day. We need to cherish small pleasures.” With that she leapt from the window sill. Rory watched the curtains flutter and she was gone, cutting their visit short for the night. He wondered: maybe it would be the last time. He really didn’t know if or when there would be another Garbage Day.
Just then the sprinklers popped up and flashed on, surprising Rory with a sudden splash of cool relief. He reveled in it, the end to a perfect summer day. They clicked and whirred, still making that monotonous noise they always made, like a human chant, “Lost, lost, lost in the moment.” He crossed the lawn, heading toward the levee to go home to Zelda. Zelda was solid. Every time she sank her teeth into his ankle, he knew she cared for him.