6-6-13   Write about a time when you were surprised


“Hey, get out of there!  What do you think you’re doing?  That’s nasty!”

Who was this dipshit telling me what to do?  Had he ever been down on his luck?  He looked well-fed to me.  It’s not like this was his personal dumpster.  I suspect that he hadn’t “claimed it”.

“Fuck off, dipshit” was all I could come up with.

“If you don’t put that down and get out of there, I’ll call the cops, or somebody.”  He obviously hadn’t been living in the Valley for long, or he would have known that dumpster diving is a time honored way to make a living around here.  Maybe he was just trying to con me out of the way so he could get at all of the good stuff.  I had been coming to the Whole Foods dumpsters for years now, and while I’m sure the pickings weren’t as good as browsing through the samples inside, at least I knew it was organic.  Like you know the dumpster outside the Jewish Community Center is going to be kosher.  Some things you can just take for granted.

I popped my head out of the side door and glared at the doofus.  “Listen buddy,”  I said.  “I’m not hurting you.  I’m minding my own business looking for dinner.  There are people all over the country who actually pay to get a chance to do this.  It’s like an adventure for city folks to actually get to live the rough life.  Now if you would, please throw those last two bags in here and go back inside and do your cushy little job and let me do mine, okay?   Hmmm?”

I turned back to digging, and had to duck quickly as a bag came sailing over the edge of the dumpster.  More loot.  I was actually hoping that the dessert department had turned over their stock, but I seem to remember that they did that on Wednesdays, and here it was still the weekend.  Oh, well, dessert could wait.  I had struck pay dirt with a half a roasted chicken.  It was still pretty warm, and I couldn’t help myself.  I hunkered down in a corner on top of an unopened bag and set to work on it.

I had finished the thigh and was just getting ready to suck down a drumstick when I saw blue flashing lights reflected off the walls of my steel bodega.  The little shit had dropped a dime on me.

The lights were brighter on the store side of the dumpster, so I scurried over to the opposite door and quietly slid it open.  The coast was clear, and I slipped out and down to the asphalt, drumstick still in mouth.  I heard the opposite side door slide open and saw the sweep of the flashlight.  As soon as the light disappeared, I snuck around the back of the dumpster and waited for our town’s finest to do a walk around.  By this time, I was right behind the fender of the cop car, and peeked in to see the Dunkin Donuts bag on the seat next to the laptop.  I snagged a chocolate sprinkles, and retreated to the cardboard bin until peace had been restored and I could get back to work.  The cop took another minute of looking around, got back in the car, called it in, and moseyed off, one donut lighter.  I felt good that I had saved the guy from a life of high cholesterol.

I climbed back in and commenced to collecting for tomorrow’s luncheon.  I pondered the difference between lunch, luncheon, and supper, which I knew was more popular in the Midwest.  As I ruminated with a small bunch of grapes, another bag came sailing over the side, and I had to scuttle into the far corner.  Laughing boy was back.

I stuck my head out the side door.  “You know, that wasn’t very nice.  How would you like it if I called the cops on you for harassing a citizen going about his constitutionally protected business?”

The kid just stood there looking googly eyed.  How had the cop missed me?  Were they that clueless?  “You better get out of there, or else!”

“Or else?”  I hopped out with a bag of goodies.  “If that’s the best you can do, I’m not going to hang around.  There’s no challenge here anymore.  See ya in the funny papers, if you even know what they are.  Toodle-oo, screwball.”

I headed home, three days worth of dinner fixing’s over my shoulder.  The kid headed back inside to the safety of bright lights and the comforts of civilization.

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