“What are you proposing?” Purl asked, eyeing the shaking Trixie.
“Claws Jackson can jump and bark, but he can’t reach you if you’re on the fence. I say the one who is the bravest can walk all the way without falling, or getting scared by Claws. You up for it?” she asked. Trixie looked around her. They all stared.
“Uh-uh-you have an advantage! I’m 15 years old, and you’re practically a kitten!” Trixie stalled.
“Well, I’m up for a challenge,” everyone turned to see Purl standing straight and tall.
“Alright-what’s your name?” Blacky asked.
“Purl,” she replied. The group eagerly followed Blacky as she led them to a back yard. A bright fluorescent porch light lit the yard, showing the tall, brown privacy fence.
Blacky picked up a stone. She hurled it with all her might. It landed right on top of the red doghouse, making a loud thud.
Woof! Woof! Claws Jackson erupted into a chorus of barks.
“I’ll go first,” Blacky said. She hopped up onto the corner of the fence. Slowly and carefully, she started walking across the top. The onlookers watched intently as Blacky came to the middle of the fence. Claws Jackson barked and barked. He jumped as high as he could. Blaky’s tail shook and her legs became wobbly. She hobbled back and forth and finally fell to the ground, near the shocked audience.
“Well, I almost made it,” she said. “Now it’s your turn.” Purl gulped as she heard the furious dog. She leaped onto the corner post and stared at the fence top. She concentrated on her footwork.
“Balance,” she thought. “Balance.” She tried to block out the barks and screams the dog gave. One foot after another, she slowly made it near the end of the fence. Claws Jackson yipped and scratched on the fence. But she gritted her teeth and took a deep breath. Only a few feet left. Could she do it? Or would she fall and land near the ferocious dog? With her heart pounding in her chest, Purl made a flying leap and landed right on the end post. Her friends cheered. Blacky’s jaw dropped open.
“How-how-did you do that?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” she smiled. “I guess I just tried to forget about the dog, and go to the end.”
“That was totally awesome!” Dove exclaimed. “And the best part, I got it all on video! YouTube here I come!”
“That was cool,” Max exclaimed. “Even better than Trixie would have done!” Trixie glared at him.
“Well, I hope you find your friend,” Blacky said, obviously trying to get rid of them. “Oh, and watch out for night prowlers,” and she was gone. She had disappeared into the blackness of the night.
“Unbelievable. This is pathetic!” Trixie exclaimed. In the darkness, a large black garbage can could be seen. It lay on its side, with the lid still attached.
“Now what do we do?” sighed Purl. Trixie, Purl and Dove stared solemnly at the closed trash can. Inside, a voice echoed.
“Are you guys still out there? It’s dark in here!” Max cried.
“If you had listened to rule # 32 of pet etiquette, you wouldn’t be in there,” Trixie rolled her eyes.
“But I was hungry! And it’s not my fault the lid slammed shut and the can fell over,” he said, his voice bouncing off the plastic walls.
“Alright. I looked this situation up. Last year, a guinea pig got stuck in a garbage can, from what I read. His friends pried open the lid, and got him out. Simple as that!” Dove exclaimed.
The friends looked around for a stick. They wandered in circles. Suddenly they heard a crack.
“Ouch!” Trixie cried.
“Trix? Are you okay?” Purl asked.
“I suppose so. Well, I found a stick,” she said. “I stepped right on top of it.” Purl grabbed the long piece of wood. She jammed it against the lid. She pushed with all her might.
“Somebody get me out!” Max yelled. “It’s spooky in here.”
“Hang on, Max. Be patient!” Dove said. “We’re trying to get you out!” The three animals pushed with all their might. But the lid would not give.
“Hurry up, will you guys? I get the feeling I’m not alone!” Max whispered. Purl climbed up on the side of the can.
“I’ll push on the lid, and you guys pull!” she said. They counted, one, two, three! They gave it all they had. Pushing, pulling and shoving, the lid finally bounced off, sending all three friends flying. Max climbed out.
“Thanks, guys!” he said. His fur was grimy. A banana peel sat on his head. And he smelled awful.
“Max Clover Henry! You are disgusting!” Trixie exclaimed, wrinkling her little nose. Max looked at himself.
“I guess I could use a dip in the tub,” he said.
“A dip? More like a 4-hour soak!” Trixie cried.
“Well, just the same, I’m glad to be out of there. It was spooky! I thought I saw a pair of eyes!”
“That’s nonsense, Max!” Purl laughed. “Look, I’ll show you.” She walked over to the over-turned can and looked inside.
“There’s a bunch of smelly food, some plastic bags, lots of wrappers, a pair of yellow eyes-YIKES!” She jumped back. “He’s right!”
Trixie cautiously peeked inside. Two yellow eyes stared back. Something moved. Trash spilled out of the can. A brown paw stepped out.
“It’s a-a-raccoon!” Dove shouted. The animals dashed down the street.
The raccoon watched them run.
“What’s their problem?” he wondered.