D iane was a raccoon with a problem. It seems that she was forever losing her keys.

Now you might wonder what kind of keys a raccoon would carry but let me assure you that they were keys of the usual sort.

There were her work keys, her car keys, her house keys, of course, and a key to a storage locker where whe kept some kitchen stuff, some clothes that didn't fit any more or she just didn't like but couldn't bring herself to throw away and a club chair that didn't fit anywhere in her apartment.

So you see they were the usual sort of keys. They were on a key ring and that ring was attached to a lanyard that she got for free at some work conference she had attended.

D iane was not the sort of raccoon who was organised and planned ahead. Whenever she left her apartment to go to work she was inevitably running behind and in a bit of a rush. Often, in the morning, she was trying to do two or even three things at a time.

Sometimes Diane would be eating breakfast, she loved crayfish on toast, while she was getting dressed. Other times she was cleaning up in her kitchen and taking out the garbage as she was putting together her things for work.

That may be how she managed to throw her keys in the garbage. It is impossible to say for sure. But she did do that.

Not only did she throw her keys in her own garbage bag but she threw the garbage bag, with the keys in them, into the BFI container behind her apartment block. And she did not know it until she got home late that night and reached into her purse for her keys.

They weren't there of course. Diane, who was not at all stupid, guessed immediately where they were. She also knew there was nothing for it but to dig through the BFI and find them.

Now, if you or I were to lose our keys in the garbage it would be unpleasant for us to did them out of the receptacle certainly, but for a raccoon digging in trash is a very loaded activity.

People expect to see raccoons digging in garbage. They expect it but they don't like it. People take a dim view of raccoons digging in their trash. I don't know why but they do.

Understandably Diane was reluctant to climb into the big bin. But she did. What else could she do?

But it was no surprise to her when the police showed up. What was surprising to her though was that one of the policemen actually climbed into the bin with her and helped her find her keys!

So, in a way, it was good that Diane lost her keys in the garbage because that is how she met her fiancee, Loren. Now Loren is a decent patient fellow but even he sometimes gets irritated with Diane when she loses her keys.

C.F. Maynard