064 - cream
A knock at the door awakened Ned and Maria from their slumber. They both tried to shrug it off, to believe that they had simply dreamt up the noise. Perhaps if it were all just a dream, they would be able to quickly fall back asleep.
It was not just a dream. The knock came again. Louder this time, and since they were already awake, there was no mistaking it for possibly being dream-induced this time. The young couple sat up in their bed.
"What time is it?" Maria asked groggily. Ned rubbed his face with his hands for a few moments before turning his head slightly and attempting to focus his vision on the glowing green light emanating from his alarm clock.
"Five fifteen." The knock on the door came again.
"Five fifteen?" she moaned. "Who the hell could it be?"
"I don't know," Ned replied, with the unique exasperation in his voice that could only come from being prematurely awake. Another knock. He sighed. "Stay here. I'll go check it out."
Maria showed no signs of disagreement, having already laid back down and closed her eyes. Ned lazily found his way out of bed, sliding on his slippers by feel before lurching out of their bedroom. As he made his way down the stairs, the knocking continued incessantly. Whoever it was, he or she was certainly not the type to give up.
Ned did not hesitate to open the door. This was not a rough neighborhood, nor a rough town. He did not consider that it could be a crazed murderer standing on his front porch. All told, he was still more concerned about being woken up than anything else.
The door opened to reveal an overweight man in grimy blue overalls. His demeanor appeared to be most unpleasant. It took Ned a few more seconds to realize that this man was, apparently, his garbageman.
"You the one who threw away this?" the man grunted, holding up an indiscriminate pile of garbage in a clear plastic bag.
"Um, did it come from the trash can out in front of my house?" Ned asked, confused.
The garbageman rolled his eyes, as if Ned had just asked him the stupidest question in the world. "No, I just take this pile of garbage door to door asking if they're the ones that it belongs to."
Ned had no idea what was going on. "Uh, then I guess so, if it came from my trash can. Sorry. I just didn't really recognize it as anything."
"Oh, you didn't recognize it, huh? Isn't that convenient!"
"Well, I mean, we throw a lot of stuff away..."
"Don't I know."
"...and my wife lives here too, so maybe it's some of her trash, I dunno," he continued, unperturbed by the garbageman's snide interjections.
For a moment, neither of them said anything. Then, finally, the relevant question popped into Ned's mind: "Why?"
"Listen, Mac. I don't gotta explain all the pertinent garbage laws to you, but needless to say, we don't accept this kind of garbage. Period. And I swear to god, if I catch you OR your wife trying to sneak this stuff in your receptacles again, we will cut off your service. Consider this your first and final warning!"
At that, the man slammed the sack down on Ned's porch and began walking back to his truck. Ned picked up the bag, and briefly inspected the contents. From the outside, it appeared to just be ordinary trash.
He didn't care. He slogged the bag inside and left it laying against the door. He climbed back up the stairs and slid back into bed. Maria didn't say a word.