The Dumpster (Flash Fiction)

The rain fell solemnly as a man quickly tossed a plastic bag into the dumpster. The hard lid fell back onto the dented metal with a slam. The jarring sound was how the dumpster uttered its forgiveness to mankind for its wasteful nature. Its role of satisfying the need for things to be out of sight and out of mind was once again fulfilled.

To the dumpster’s surprise, saying something in itself as city dumpsters are quite rarely surprised, the bag left to its care was a fury of life. The plastic thrashed and turned. Muffled cries seeped through. The dumpster, nearly packed full, scrambled to care for its new guest. It shuddered its slimy walls against the wind to minimize a draft. It kept its lids tight against the rain to keep the poor innocent dry. It shifted its innards of waste and rot in the hopes of keeping whatever was trapped in that bag comfortable and warm. It did these things, and it waited, waited for a human to come by and find this treasure of life that was tossed aside. They came every so often, humans in dirty clothes that were often too big or too small, humans that sorted through the trash to find the treasures.

And one did come.

He came hunched under a broken umbrella and covered in clear plastic that shielded the rain. This human opened the lids to receive the blessing of the dumpster. He mumbled to himself in anger as he shifted and sorted and rummage his way through the guts of sin. Then his hand reached out and he jumped back with a gasp. He stood frozen, staring at the dumpster, and the dumpster wondered what it was that could be so wrong. The treasure of life has fallen upon you, thought the dumpster. How could this humble thing bring you such horror?

The man shook his head violently amid a swarm of “No, no, no…” He backed away and bumped into an apparent companion.

“What’s wrong?” asked the other.

The man grabbed the other’s shoulder and turned it. “Nothin’ in that one,” he said. “Nothin’ but the hand of the devil. You reach in there, you’re reaching in to shake his hand.” The two humans, dirty and ragged, hurried off. The dumpster sat still and open, and the soft rain fell in.

The hours went on and the dumpster grew concerned. The bag had stopped moving. The muffled cries had stopped seeping through. The dumpster felt the guilt of being a poor host to its helpless guest. It waited for the harvesters, the humans who took the sin of man away and left the dumpster to sit fresh and new, to come and bring redemption to life.

They came in the early hours of the morning. The rain had stopped falling and the air was still. The harvester pulled up and grabbed the dumpster with its metal tongs, lifting and tossing the soggy innards into its black belly. The dumpster cried out as the bag fell away, but no human could hear the sound. The dumpster was slammed down with abusive violence, its plastics lids clapping against the bent metal. The great harvester of mans sin pulled away and the dumpster sighed to itself as all was taken away, out of sight and out of mind. You are forgiven, it thought. You are once again forgiven.

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