Silence of the Garbage

Every story has a beginning…

Ack. God, I hate that shit. Of course every story has a beginning. No shit, Sherlock. And every journey begins with a single step. Blah blah blah. Unless, of course, it’s The Never Beginning Story. I’ll bet that story doesn’t have a frickin’ beginning. Because it’s never beginning. Hells yeah! That makes sense to me. I may have to do a 42-part web series on the never beginning story. I’d like that.

Here, let me take a crack at this sort of nonsense. “Every story can be told at least two ways.” Cryptic enough for ya? Whatever. This is my story. And it all begins on a Tuesday morning not too long ago…

Tribute to Hannibal LecterI was still groggy. It was completely dark out and something had awakened me. I realized someone was there, a few feet away, standing in the darkness, watching me.

I knew it was my wife. Through the plexiglass that separated us (conveniently sprinkled with air holes) I sensed that see she was angry. Her nostrils flared. She was about to speak.

“Don’t,” I said, interrupting her before she started. “Something has gone wrong, hasn’t it?”

“Good morning, Tom,” she said. “Yes, something has gone wrong.”

“Closer,” I said. “Closer, please.”

She took a step forward and the light from my room illuminated her a bit more fully.

“Tom, you …,” she started, but I sniffed at the air between us, thick with tension, and she hesitated.

Garbage“You don’t smell of garbage,” I said. “Sometimes you do, but not today. No, not today. It’s my job isn’t it? A man’s job, but sometimes you still have to do it yourself. You stand there in your fancy shoes and try to pretend your husband always does his share of the chores. But today he didn’t, did he?”

I sniffed at the air again, longer this time. “No, he didn’t. And neither did you. But the smell of garbage is still there. Not from you, no. From the kitchen. From the bin that your husband didn’t take out. Isn’t that right, Clarice?”

“Yes, it’s Tuesday morning, isn’t it? Monday is when he takes out the trash. Because we all know what happens if he doesn’t.”

“Do you know what you look like standing there with your fancy shoes and your faith in your husband? You look like a rube, Clarice.”

Her eyes showed momentary surprise. She was shaking now.

“Last night you heard it, didn’t you? The awful sound of your garbage not being picked up.”

I pressed on.

“You still wake up sometimes, don’t you? Wake up in the dark and hear the silence of the garbage not being picked up?”


“And you think, if you could somehow motivate poor Tom, that garbage would be gone by now, don’t you? You think if the garbage was gone, you wouldn’t wake up in the dark ever again to that awful silence of the garbage not being picked up.”

“I don’t know. I don’t know.”

“Thank you, Clarice.”

Eh? The other way of telling the story? It goes like this: “Tuesday morning my wife told me I forgot to take out the trash.” Now you tell me. Which version did you like better?

15 responses

  1. “”The other way of telling the story? It goes like this: “Tuesday morning my wife told me I forgot to take out the trash.” Now you tell me. Which version did you like better?””

    The other way of telling the story is the “TRUE” version of the story. I wake up and say “It’s Tuesday, you forgot to take out the trash”. “No that’s next Tuesday”, he says. “Uh, nooooo. I’m looking at the pick up schedule, it’s this Tuesday”. “Oh”. Silence…then I say, “Ya I’ll just have to add this to MY list of chores since this is the second time in a row YOU’VE forgotten. I got an idea, why don’t I just add EVERYTHING to MY list of chores. Oh wait, I ALREADY DO EVERYTHING!”


    1. Quid pro quo, Clarice. Quid pro quo.


    2. Where’s the “like” button for this comment?


      1. I think you just did.


  2. God, I love your brain for concocting this story. This really is all kinds of brilliant.

    But, dude. Just take out the damn garbage already. It’s not like Tuesday is a surprise every week. You know it’s coming. Been coming on that day for years. And yes, there may be latent hostility toward my own husband in this comment.


    1. Thanks so much for this comment. I almost didn’t post this one because I was thinking to myself, “This is probably the lamest shit I’ve ever written.”

      I do think The Never Beginning Story has a lot of promise, though.


  3. It takes the garbage to the curb, or it gets the hose again….


    1. This is, of course, the maximum theoretically good comment for this post. Well done! 🙂


      1. Awww…. thanks. Though I felt a little badly when I realized that I’d compared Mrs. Abyss to Buffalo Bill… :-/


    2. Excellent!!!


  4. You’re living your very own Stephen King novel aren’t you… Mr. Trashcan Man. 🙂


    1. Very clever. For yes, I am the Trashcan Man. You’ll find me on Craigslist offering rides to Cibola.


  5. Steve, I hear ya. I only compared her to Agent Starling. You’re in big trouble, I think.


  6. That was quite clever ! Very cool Tom! (Of course your version!).



    1. Aw, thanks. Of course, only now I’m beginning to realize I probably should have named this post “Silence of the Cans.” I think “cans” sounds more like “lambs” than “garbage.”

      Another epic fail notched in my belt! Woohoo!! 🙂


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