by Matthew Sanborn Smith
Sal took the ladder out of the garage and propped it against the west wall of the house. He had a notion of tinkering with the satellite dish to tweak out some of the jumbled screens they'd get once in a while. He was really trying to keep his mind off of food until suppertime. Once on the ladder, he called inside with his cellphone.
"Hello?" Geena said.
"Hey," Sal said to his wife. "Get Tommy on the phone, I need him to tell me the satellite strength."
"He hasn't come home yet. Why don't you come in, supper's done."
"That was fast. I'll see you in twelve seconds." Sal went inside to fill his belly with garlic bread and tortellini.
Some kids came running through the yard about a minute later and one knocked the ladder over with his outstretched hand. This, when Sal washed his hands. He didn't hear a thing.
Tommy came home and saw the ladder on the ground near the garbage can. He brought the ladder and the can to curb so he wouldn't have to get up early and catch the garbage pick-up in the morning.
Just before dark, Jerry Johnson drove by in his truck. He never could resist an abandoned ladder. Or an abandoned anything else. A quick test of the rungs and it was his.
"What the hell is that?" Porsche asked when he got back to the trailer. Like the trailer, she too had once been abandoned.
"Here in America, we call it a ladder," Jerry said.
"I told you, no more crap. You've already got a ladder and this place is tiny and junked up as it is!"
"It was free, though. Somebody was getting rid of it."
"You ever see The Burning Bed with Farrah?"
"Awright." Jerry brought the ladder over to Larry's, two lots down. Larry was going to a new job site tomorrow. Five bucks was a steal for Larry and at least Jerry could get a case of Milwaukee's Best Light out of the whole deal.
Larry brought the ladder to his new job the next day. You know the drill by now. It just goes on and on like this. I'm assuming you read the title. Suffice it to say that the ladder made it to California. His brother had a nice place with a swimming pool. They had some tea and watched some television. A little Scrabble and it was off to bed because our ladder had a long and exhausting trip.
They'd hit the strip joints the next night. His brother knew this place where they didn't use electric sanders. All the sanding was done by hand. Oh, baby! If he wasn't so tired . . .