He's in there again.  Every night he crawls in there and I can hear him rattling around outside my house.  What does he do in there every night?

When dawn comes, I go look at what's left.  Just tools showing signs of wear.  Scraps of metal and wiring and sometimes little empty vials.  I didn't throw any of this out so why does he bring it here?  What is he building?

But I don't want to disturb him.  I once saw him looking around before crawling inside, like he was seeing if anyone witnessed him, really shifty behaviour.

Last night was the worst by far.  I was woken up at 3am to a loud silent flash outside followed by more clanging and I saw him running into the night.  Smoke rising from my trashcan which he seems to be using as a workshop.

Tonight I will confront him.  I have my 10 year old daughter wrap bibles around my arms with tape for protection and put on my hockey mask.  I tell her to wait inside and to call the police if I don't come back in 15 minutes. 

When she was safe in the basement, (I didn't want her to be scared) I snapped a bunch of old chicken bones in half and built some kind of macabre spiked club out of the splinters and my trusty baseball bat. And outside I went,  to finally find out what that bastard has been doing every night in my trash can.  To catch him in the act.  I know he's in there because its moving, clanging about furiously as he works.  I can hear the grinding of metal on metal and flashes like he's welding, but how is this possible?

In the end, he's too quick for me. The moment I get within 5 yards of my trash he erupts out of it, throwing me off guard and onto my back.  I look at him approach me, metal scraps strapped to his body like a little suit of raccoon armour.  In his tiny chaotic claw is an old razor I threw out and he slashes it in the air towards me. 

I swing the bat around wildly to scare him but he gets distracted and is looking over my shoulder backing away.  I cautiously turn my head and I cannot believe what I'm seeing.  Another raccoon has just entered my yard with its own armour and it's even crafted a tiny axe out of broken glass and a branch. 

It ignores me completely and I crawl  away from them.   They begin to circle one another making high pitches screeching noises.   I manage to make it back into my house and lock the door before going to the window to watch what was happening.  They were duelling in my yard like little gladiators!   Their tiny improvised weapons clanged against their armour as they come to blows.  This went on for 5 minutes until they began to get tired. 

And then the raccoon that works in my trashcan suffered a horrible blow to its leg.  He went down on one knee with his head down, defeated.

Not skipping a beat I ran upstairs and into my cupboard, this should do I thought.  And I ran to the window overlooking them from the second floor.  The invading raccoon was savouring the moment, seemingly talking to his defeated opponent whilst pacing back and forth.  He raised his glass axe above his head to deliver the killing blow and at that moment I tossed my prize bowling ball at him.  He turned for a split second as the 8KG ball smashed into his face, collapsing his entire body into a mangled mess of steel and flesh.

I gave a thumbs up to my little trash panda that works in my garden.  I might not understand what he does or why he does it, but we're neighbors after all.  He shoots me a thumbs up too and crawls off into the night.