It is one of the jobs Liam always does. It is one of those jobs that I try my utmost to never do. Along with emptying the recycling, theres taking the rubbish bins out and hoovering. I don't have to ask him to do these jobs. I just let it get so bad he realises it needs doing. Terrible, but true.
I cautiously picked the black box up by both handles- careful to breathe through my mouth- and staggered with it, holding it a good foot away from my body along the corridor. Something dripped from the bottom and landed with a splosh onto my flip-flop.
Down four flights of steps, and an aluminium coke can jumps out the box. It rolls one flight, two flights and rolls some more. I have to place the box down so I can pick up the runaway can. But when I go to lift the heavy black box again, my hand slides down the handle. Ohmigod. Green goo. Wipe it on the takeaway pizza box. No matter.
We are lucky. We have recycling bins that you just chuck everything into- no sorting needed- at the edge of the car park. So I swagger over to them after the four flights of steps with my bottom sticking out, and my knees bent. My spindly little arms are holding on tight.
This is the bit where I have to touch the lid. The gross, dirty lid of the recycling bin, with weird bits of sludge on the handle. So I do it quick; one, two, three, GO!
With my left hand I hold the sludgy lid up, with my right I go nuts, throwing all my recycling into the bin as quick as possible. Glass pasta sauce pots with tomatoey juice lurking in the bottom, cardboard cereal boxes flattened and wedged in tight, Cobra beer, Heineken beer, Singha beer bottles with old dregs... What's this? Champagne bottle? I feel a bit bad chucking that in, but in it goes with all my glass, paper, tin and card, smashing about in the bottom of the wheelie bin, causing great crashes to echo around my block of flats.
I wouldn't be surprised if all my neighbours are peeping at me from behind their lacy blinds, tut tutting at such a noise clattering about their bank holiday afternoon. But hey, I'm recycling. They can't complain.
A car pulls up to my left, nearly knocking my black recycling box over. I tut tut and frown a little at the silver Smoothie in the front seat, who's got his window wound down, a straw hat on and boating shoes. He gets out of his car, the Beach Boys humming from his car radio (I wasn't surprised). He nods at me, and goes to get something out of his boot.
With only a few more bits left in the box, I grab the few remaining cartons, and reach to the bottom of the box, for a flyer which had got wedged in the corner...
Then suddenly, I scream.
A loud, blood-curdling scream which reverberates all around the block of flats and drowns out 'Little Deuce Coupe' in an instant.
I run around in circles, hopping from one leg to another, shaking my arms and legs involuntarily. I wiggle my fingers, my bottom, and my knees are out at odd angles. A shiver shakes down my spine. I'm aware I'm making incomprehensible noises like, Ugggghhhh.
Smoothie looks like he might have pooped himself out of shock.
I'm still hopping, rolling my head around and flapping my T-Shirt in and out. I wince.
'Still there. It's STILL THERE!' I shriek.
Shake a bit more, and Smoothie stalks casually to the box, glances in whilst lifting it with one hand. No fear, Smoothie?
He looks at me like I'm not from this world, bangs the box upside down and raises one eyebrow, to make me feel really stupid. 'It's only a little one.'
Yeah frickin' right.