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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Ian & Mac Stories - Surprise! Surprise!

"Hurry up, Mac. Itís nearly dawn. If we want to get to the rubbish before Hamish, the rubbish collector, comes, we need to go right now!" Ian shouted from the bottom of the tree.

"Iím coming! Iím coming!" Mac called down and quickly slid down the tree trunk. The raccoons ran towards the village. The rubbish bins were lined up along the side of the road. "Letís start with this one," Mac suggested. They climbed on top of Mr. McGregorís bin and threw the lid to the ground. They rifled through the rubbish, tossing browned banana peels, shriveled apple cores and empty bean tins onto the ground. "Thereís nothing in this one."

They ran to the next house. "Mrs. Johnston always has good rubbish," chuckled Ian. Off went the lid. They rummaged through the bin. Ian pushed his way to the bottom. "Aha, leftover meat pies," he said, handing them up to Mac. "Och, Mac, youíll not believe this. Iíve found some blood sausage, cold chips and peas. We can have a feast," Ian said, passing everything up to Mac.

They took the food, sat on the grass and began devouring their early morning meal. The sounds of the garbage truck echoed down the street. "Och, no. Itís Hamish. Heís early today. Weíll not get to all the bins before he dumps them," Mac sighed.

"Well then, letís hurry. Maybe we can get to Jessie MacDougalís rubbish before Hamish does," Ian urged. They ran to the next house, leaving a big mess at the other two. Ian jumped onto Jessieís can and quickly made his way down to the bottom.

"Hamish is next door. Weíve got to hurry, Ian," Mac called. Ian began tossing empty lemonade bottles to Mac, along with a half open box of cereal and some stale slices of wheat bread.

Ian popped his nose up. "Iíve found some gammon steaks for us. Here, take them," he said, handing them to Mac. Just then Hamishís truck moved toward Jessieís house. "Letís get out of here," Ian shouted and the two raccoons ran, carrying the bread and ham steaks.

Hamish looked at the rubbish lying all over the ground. He saw Ian and Mac running into the woods. "Iíll get you two raccoons! Look at this mess youíve left me!" Hamish started picking up the rubbish and put it back into the bin. He looked down the street and saw what theyíd done to the other two. He was furious.

Ian and Mac started laughing as they watched Hamish from behind a tree. "Weíll have to come earlier next week. We only got three bins this time. We missed Jenny Howardís. Sheís got good rubbish too!" Ian complained.

They started walking back to their tree, scarfing down the gammon steaks. "Next week, why donít we start at the other end of the street?" Mac suggested, and thatís what they did. They got up half an hour earlier, ran down to the other end of the street and started raiding the rubbish bins. By the time Hamish came to dump them, he found every one of them tipped over. Rotting food, empty tins and old wrappers had been scattered all over the ground.

The following week Hamish got up even earlier, only to find that Ian and Mac had started at the other end of the street. So it went, week after week. The raccoons were always one step ahead of Hamish. One morning, Hamish had enough! Every rubbish bin was tipped over and things were scattered about the grass all over the street. All week long he thought of different ways to get even with Ian and Mac. At last he thought of a wonderful idea that would stop Ian and Mac from ever getting into the rubbish again, or so he hoped.

"I think Hamish is annoyed with us. Maybe itís time to stop raiding the rubbish," Mac said. "We do leave a big mess." The two raccoons were sitting in their tree, about ready to go to sleep.

"But tonight thereís a Ceilidh at Mrs. Johnstonís house. Think of all the sausage rolls sheíll be tossing out and donít forget the shrimp cocktail, Forfar bridies and roast mutton. You know she never saves anything. It all goes in the rubbish bin," Ian said, his mouth watering with the thought of all that food.

"Stop! Stop! Youíre making me hungry. Iíll never get to sleep tonight if you keep talking like that! All right, weíll do it one more time but thatís all, agreed?" Mac asked.

"Agreed. Now letís get to sleep and dream of all that food," Ian said, yawned and closed his eyes.

Hamish stayed up all night setting his traps for the raccoons. He started at Mrs. Johnstonís house right after the Ceilidh. He watched her carry all the leftover food out to the bin and then pull it to the front of her house for him to pick up in the morning. He knew the bin was filled with leftover food and that Ian and Mac could never resist it. He set up his booby traps and then moved from house to house, until every one of them had a trap set for the raccoons. As the first birds began to chirp in the pre-dawn sky, Hamish found a place to hide behind a bush. He waited for the raccoons.

"Time to hit Mrs. Johnstonís bin. Get up, Mac," Ian said, shaking him. "Come on. Weíve got to get going before Hamish gets there."

Mac jumped up. Heíd dreamed of eating sausage rolls all night. They ran quickly toward the village.

"Here they come," Hamish giggled. He could see their silhouettes against the ever-lightening deep blue sky. "This will teach them a lesson!"

"Och, good. Hamish isnít out yet. Letís start here, at Mr. McGregorís and save Mrs. Johnstonís for last," Ian suggested. Ian lifted the lid and quickly slammed it back down. "What a smell!" He lifted it again and peeked inside the bin. "Why, thereís nothing but orange and lemon peel in here. We canít eat that!" he moaned. Mac looked inside and agreed. Hamish giggled.

"Letís just go down the street and start at the other end," Mac suggested. They ran past Mrs. Johnstonís and came to Maggie Campbellís house. "I hope thereís something good in this one," Mac said.

Ian climbed up and opened the lid. "Looks good. Iíll climb in and hand the food to you," Ian said. He slid into the bin. "Och, thereís sticky stuff in here. Itís all over my fur. What on earth?" he asked, climbing out of the bin. He had honey all over him. Bits of old bannocks and crumbs of shortbread stuck to his fur. "Maggieís spilt a bottle of honey. This is no good," Ian sighed, trying to pick the food off him.

Hamish started giggling. He saw the raccoon all covered with sticky honey.

Mac grabbed some leaves and tried to help Ian wipe the honey off his fur. "Youíll just have to go all sticky. Hamish will be out soon," Mac said. "Letís head right for Mrs. Johnstonís house."

Ian agreed and they ran down to her house. Hamish heard and started laughing. Heíd tied some fishing line around the bin and couldnít wait to try out his trick. When Ian and Mac went to climb into the bin, Hamish pulled the fishing line and the big moved. "What was that? Did you push the bin?" Ian said.

"No. It wasnít me. It must have been you," Mac said. Just then the bin moved again. The raccoons jumped backwards. "Did you see that, Ian? The bin moved all by itself," Mac cried out, rather confused.

"Moving or not, Iím too hungry to worry about it. Iíll jump on top and toss the lid on to the ground. It must have just been the wind," Ian said. He climbed onto the bin. Hamish tugged and it moved, but Ian ignored it and tossed the lid onto the ground. "Itís a feast. Come on, Mac. I smell cheese and onion pie."

Mac didnít hesitate. He climbed into the bin with Ian. Hamish giggled again and began his next trick. Heíd wired a microphone into the bin and had one at his end too. He spoke, "Leave me alone!"

Ian and Mac looked at each other. "I didnít touch you. What are you talking about?" Ian said.

"I didnít say it. You did. I didnít touch you either," Mac said. He shook his head in annoyance and started looking for food.

"Get out of the can!" Hamish called into the microphone.

"Why should I get out of the can? You get out of the can," Ian said.

"You told me to get out. Iím staying in here. You just want all the food for yourself," Mac said.

Hamish laughed and laughed. "Time for the next trick, lads," he whispered. He had tied a string of small firecrackers to the outside of the bin and the fuse lay on the grass. He lit his end of it and it slowly sizzled as it burned its way towards the rubbish bin. "Hee, hee, hee."

Ianís mouth was filled with haggis. Mac was stuffing ginger cakes into his mouth when the firecrackers went off. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! The firecrackers exploded. Ian and Mac were inside the bin. They put their hands over their ears. Ian tried to shout to Mac but it was so noisy that he couldnít hear his own voice, so he tried to climb out.

"Youíll no get oot of that bin easily, lads," Hamish smiled.

"Iím slipping. I canít get out," Ian screamed, but Mac didnít hear. The firecrackers were still going off. Hamish had coated the inside of the bin with oil and lard so it was slippery.

Mac tried to climb out too. He even stood on Ianís head as he panicked and tried to get out of the bin. Ian jumped and jumped and finally the two raccoons found themselves lying on the grass next to the bin. The fireworks stopped. "What was that?" Mac said.

"I donít know but Iím not staying around to find out," Ian screamed in terror and ran home.

Mac followed. "Wait for me," he shouted.

Hamish couldnít control himself. He fell to the ground and rolled around laughing. "I guess thatís the end of that," he said, knowing the raccoons would never bother him again.

Ian and Mac soon found themselves standing at the bottom of the tree. Ian was sticky and covered with bits of paper, leaves, sticks and smelly fish bones. Macís hair stood up straight on end and his fur was covered with lard. He looked at Ian. "Weíre a mess! Thatís the last time we raid the rubbish bins! Letís go to the stream and wash up. Iíve had enough of that!"

"Me too," Ian agreed and they walked slowly toward the stream.

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