"It happened again, I just can't believe it! I tell you Carol, one of these days I'm going to have him behind bars," raged Greg.
As he bent over, his sixty year old back protested at the unfamiliar position. Groaning, the older man picked up the bits of plastic, bones, foil, and cardboard, tossing them back into the trash bin.
"It's only once a week... And remember, it's just a hungry animal trying to survive, Dear. It's not trying to cause you any problems," said Carol, her silver hair gleaming in the morning sun.
"Still, I should call animal control. They could bring one of those live traps. The kind they use for stray cats," grumbled Greg, as he placed the lid back on with a click.
"They have enough to do with bringing in lost and abandoned pets. They don't need to be taking care of raccoons too," replied Carol, as she walked towards her tidy porch.
"Oh... I guess you're right. But I have to put a stop to this, somehow. I'm certainly smarter than a raccoon," Greg said confidently.
"Of course you are," replied Carol, hiding the amusement in her voice.
The next week, Greg put the trash in the bin as always, but this time he also put four large rocks on top, all close to the middle.
"That should take care of the situation," he said with satisfaction.
The next morning, both Greg and Carol went out to check.
"NO!!!" Greg exclaimed, as he surveyed his once neat little patch of short, lush grass.
"It's all over the place this time, Carol. Even out in the street, and on the Barr's lawn. Here I thought his days of garbage raiding were over," mourned Greg. His wife turned to avoid being caught laughing to herself.
"Well, he couldn't get the lid off, so he decided to dump the bin over to get at the goodies. I'm guessing once that happened, other animals joined in the fun. I'm sure you'll do better next time," Carol replied once she was able to hide her amusement.
"I'll do more than that. I'll make sure I never have to clean up garbage first thing in the morning again," Greg vowed to himself.
After a long hard morning of work, Greg browsed a hardware website as he munched thoughtfully on some power bars.
Several days later, he heard a most welcome sound. The doorbell. "Ah, here they are," he said gleefully.
Greg opened the box. It contained a spool of medium weight cable, several snaps such as one would find at the end of a dog leash, and a small package of bolts.
At the very bottom was a tool he had only recently discovered existed, for making loops in the wire. Next to it rested a sturdy pair of cutters.
Excited about his first building project in years, he went to work. The end result was definitely unique.
The evening before the next garbage day, Greg attached the bin to the garage, via the snap. Both bin and garage had wires attached, and the whole set-up looked promising.
Putting the four rocks on top as before, he smiled. "You can't move it now, you little varmint," he chuckled.
The next morning, he checked expectantly. "Impossible!" Greg shouted into the quiet neighborhood.
"I can't believe he chewed through both wires, and tipped it over," marveled Greg.
After picking up the mess, he went inside, in a very foul mood.
Throughout the week, the frustrated man made no attempt to fix his ingenious set-up.
"What are you going to try tonight, Dear?" Carol asked curiously, the night that the garbage was to be put out.
"A truce! Apparently I am not smarter than a raccoon!" Greg said emphatically, as he went to the refrigerator for milk.
After taking the garbage out he set down a bowl of milk, and a dish with assorted leftovers next to the garbage bin. The lid sat next to it, garbage exposed.
The next morning he walked out, expecting another mess. Then he blinked, and rubbed his eyes. "Who knew it was that easy?" Greg asked himself.
He was smiling, because for the first time since the little bandit had arrived, he would not be picking up garbage first thing in the morning!
Cover image made in Canva using their galler