Ladders

I asked our supervisor if Jake and I could climb onto the roof of a building and fix a vent that got damaged during the storm. Our supervisor asked us why. I mentioned that it was on the list. Our supervisor asked where it was. I gave him a letter of the alphabet. Our supervisor nodded and seemed to meditate on this concept of a building with a problem that we could potentially fix. Our supervisor gave us the okay. Jake and I began to collect the tools we would need, I directed Jake to retrieve a ladder for the expedition.

“A ladder? Whatdaya need a ladder for?” Our supervisor asked us.

“To get onto the roof,” I replied somewhat confused, and discouraged about the point of our previous conversation. What did he think we were talking about?Our supervisor pressed further.

“Well, if you are going to go onto the roof you need to be harnessed in somehow.”

“Into what?”

“The building.”

“We won’t fall.” We weren’t planning on it, and this point seemed obvious. I was watching the redundancies crawl out of my mouth. We had been on the roof before. For the same thing. Just the other day.

“It’s just the code for the state, you being state employees.”

“Technically we are student employeees, who pay state union dues, for absolutely no benefits. We have our own code. We are rogue.” I do not believe my supervisor understands sarcasm or has heard the words before.

“No. You do what I say. If you’re going onto the roof, you need to be harnessed in.” Now I haven’t seen a pair of harnesses to compliment our rickety unstable death machine of a ladder, so I simply gave up.

“Where are the harnesses then?” I coyly asked my supervisor.

“Well I don’t know.”

“Well, if you find them, Jake and I will climb back onto the roof and fix the vent. Until then, you can tell the residents that they can cope with the smell of shit.” The vent was for the bathroom. Jake and I decided to do something else, so we packed up our tools and left. This is what happened after that.

My supervisor approached our boss. He inquired into the potential localities of harnessing equipment, to compliment our rotting, collapsing, death machine of a ladder. Our boss asked why. The supervisor explained the need to fix a vent of some sort on a building that began with a number. Our boss seemed confused and disoriented. Our supervisor repeated the question, but position the question simpler terms.

“Are our employees, I mean, student-workers allowed climb onto the roofs of buildings?”

A flash went over the listless desert that was his mind. He knew he had an answer, but it was not clear what it was.

“I’ll have to get back to you.”

The boss decided to get in touch with the director of his department. He was a strong, brash and intelligent man. He felt confident he would the answer to this stirring of questions. The boss craned his long neck into the directors office.

“Is it safe for people to go onto rooves?”

“Well that depends,” the director answered. The director then went into a litany of details and dependencies for a multitude of situations. He asked him when the last time it rained, how often it rained, which side of the roof it was on – the side that gets more sun or the side that gets more shade, how high up the roof was, what the roof was made of, the mood of the person or persons climbing onto the roof, the mood of the person or persons holding onto the ladder for the person or persons climbing, what time of day the climbing would happen at, whether or not the person or persons holding or climbing the ladder had known the pleasure of vaginal intercourse within the previous twenty days as to avoid the potentially fatal distraction an attractive member of the opposite sex could have on their focus, whether or not they were wearing gloves, the amounts in their bank account, whether or not they were idiots and  a list of potential climbers and holders, their sex and age, their weight and height divided by each other, multiplied by their intelligence quota, divided by their blood pressure and the smallest digit the numerals birthday added together becomes, divided by three, for fun. Little to say this went over the boss’s head. A nervous fearful look leaped from the boss’s eyes and the tiniest shake rang on his neck.

The director sighed deeply, in awe of the appalling, and exponentially growing ineptitude of his staff. How much longer  could he bear the toll of incompetence at such a magnitude? This feeling resembled the color gray.

The director dismissed the boss, and quickly compiled a mental list of potential colleagues he could discuss this problem with. The director contacted the dean of the school, a bald graying  man, on this maddening philosophical query. On the first call the director reached the dean’s machine. He hung up, went down to the vending machine, mashed his finger into the buttons for yogurt pretzels, fished them out from the machine and returned to his office. The director picked up the phone and dialed it again. He reached the machine. The director decided to walk down the hall to the deans office.

He found the door slightly ajar. The director knocked on the door, cleared his throat and announced himself. He could see the deans office was dark and the blinds were drawn. The director began to ask for the dean”Mr. Joh…” but he was cut short by the shrieks of what sounded to be a guinea pig being tortured by a toothpick. The director was startled at first, but then sighed at his lack of foresight. The dean is extremely neurotic. As well as superstitious. As well as mildly autistic. He never answered the phone, looked anyone in the eye, or participated in any conversation that one could say resembled a civilized sort. He often shrieked and lifted his shirt and began to rub his nipples until he became aroused.  It was amazing that he had climbed as far as he had. But considering the schools reputation, it is only amazing that he didn’t reach this level sooner. This is mostly because he posses incredible skills when it comes to shepherding budgets and dealing with middle management, as mildly autistic people often are.

The director poked his way into the office.

“Stay out of my bubble!” the dean hissed at the general direction of the director. The director nodded and sat down in the deans chair, looking him straight in the eye as he remained curled in a ball underneath his desk, holding a flashlight and a set of batteries close to his heart. There were metal soldiers scattered underneath the desk as well as bubble gum wrappers and condoms removed from their wrappers, unused, a few with chewed gum inside. There was also a large amount of torn wrapping paper scattered about the room, likely from Christmas, though this was months ago. The dean was gaunt, shirtless and unshaven. There was a layer of drool decorating his lower lip. The director posed his question.

“Greggy, is it okay if the kiddies climb up ladders even if the roofs are wet?”

Greggy contemplated this question for a brief moment, his eyes looked way-wards to the floor.

“No,” he coughed. He began to snarl at the carpet. He began to shout from below his desk, “NO! NO! NO! GET NANCY! NO! NO!”

The director stood up from the chair bowed with his hat, and stepped out of the room leaving the door slightly ajar, just as he found it, stopping by the deans secretaries desk, where a woman named Nancy often sat.  Nancy went into the deans office, fed him her breast-milk and promised to attend to the situation. The dean cooed and nodded in peace as he fell into his usual afternoon nap in her arms. She was able to move him gently back underneath his desk without waking or startling him, in the office with the blinds drawn and the lights dimmed, She went back to her desk, lifted the phone and dialed the governors office, the situation still unresolved.

Christine Gregoire answered the phone herself. Her office had been stripped of all amenities. Her staff had been let go entirely, and not due to incompetence, but due to insufficient funds in the budget. She was haggard and dishelved, pale and blotchy. The wallpaper had been removed, the carpet torn out, and she had been left with a creaky wooden chair with  bad legs, and a desk from a kindergarten class removed from a school that had been shutdown during her administration. Sbe kicked a rat away from her foot as she said hello to Nancy.

“And how is our dear friend Greggy?…Yes?….Oh, dear…What’s that you say?….Well I can see your concern….Has his diaper been changed recently, maybe that is why he is so upset today?….Oh you checked…Well how much would it cost to get them on the roof?….Nothing?….How much are we paying them?….I see. Can we pay them less?….Oh, that’s the least? I didn’t know it was that much….So why are you calling me? This situation seems to have nothing to do with money….I see…..Well if we put them up there and they fall off, that could cost the state some money god forbid, and the boys could even get hurt….Well this one is going to have to go up higher than me. Sorry Nancy. I’ll have to get back to you…Let Greggy know that he is still up for that promotion to be the Secretary of Finance…. Great Nancy….KBuhBye!”

The governor slumped in her chair. She looked down with fear at the speed-dial extension that she would need to press soon.

“Fuck! Fuck!” She muttered. “I don’t want to have to talk to that callous blood sucking no good son of a bitch!” She took a deep breath and thought it over. He would be much more upset if she took the private jet to see him in person. But this situation was urgent, and it wasn’t the situation that mattered, but how her response was viewed by her peers. Shit, wouldn’t the world be better without all these assholes fucking shit up?

The governor summoned her mindlinking abilities, confidently massaging her temples with her creaky, wrinkled index fingers to increase focus. She hummed with much cadence, waited for him to answer her mindlink request. Then, as if it happened suddenly, she sensed a presence. She hoped it wasn’t that asshat Harry Reid again, busting in on her mindlinking. That was beginning to get on her frail, cuntlike nerves. But the presence, the presence! She could hear his voice, as if in a distant desert, catching her request, and answering it with his bellowing baritone, his assured tone, those novel mannerisms.

Barack Obama was responding to Christine Gregoires mindlink request.

“Chris.”

“President Obama…sir.”

“The fuck do you want? I am a busy man.”

“I had a question.”

“No shit, I hope you weren’t mindlinking to flirt with me again. That shit is shameful…you’re better than that Chris.”

“I know Mr. President…I know.” He could hear the shudder of shame in her mindlink voice.

“Well?”

“Well what?”

“The fuck you mindlinking me for? I am trying to pick out a dog here, and I can only mindlink for so long without Michelle getting suspicous. Strong women can sense mindlinking. That and fear. Shit. You got me rambling. THE FUCK YOU WANT GIRL?”

“I had a question.”

“You a fucking broken record, Chris. Ask it already.”

“Is it okay for these two white kids in Washington to climb onto a wet roof to fix something. I am against, because it involves spending money, but I’d figure I should run it by you.”

“Your indecisive middle of the fence response may be the best thing about you. We have this system, appiont and vote for these leaders so they can fucking ask their boss what to do. Everyone in this system acts like their fifteen on their first day of their job. “Let me ask my boss.” Fuck. What do you do? What do we do? Do you think these crackers are going to break their necks on this wet roof.”

“If their hand eye coordination is accurate as the covert sleep tests show…They will certainly meet their doom.”

“I know I am going to sound like a hypocrite here for a second, but I am going to have ask my boss if it’s cool if these kids die so they can fix whatever the fuck needs to be fixed. What was it again?”

“I think there may be a baby kitten stuck on the roof.”

“Shit. I’ll call him right away. Hit you back in a minute Chris.”

“Thanks Mr. President.”

“Go fuck yourself.”

The mindlink session ended. The Obama clan decided on a short haired Lasso Apso that they decided should be named Trixie. They all returned to the White House, under the guard of the Secret Service, enjoyed a supper of roasted duck and lima beans. Barack and Michelle enjoyed some whisky, and slow danced to a Neil Diamond recordin their bedroom before taking a shower together, their ritual before retiring for the evening. They both lumbered into the bed, with teeth freshly brushed. The President was about to drift into a most patient and delicate slumber, when the days previous mindlink session came to the forefront of his thoughts. “Fuckin bitch,” he muttered under his breath. He climbed out of bed, careful not to wake Michelle and put on his bathrobe. He walked down the halls, with a lit cigarette dangling from his ears. He approached the portrait of Abraham Lincoln that hangs in the West Wing. He checked either side of the hall. Nobody watching. His eyes met those of his ancestor, and they both began to glow red, a fiery red, and the painting began to rumble to the left, creating the opening to the secret passageway. The President climbed inside.
He took the lantern off the mount next to the entrance, lit it with his still burning cigarette, and mashed it on the ground with his bare foot. He followed the caverns path until he found the ladder. The President tossed the lantern to the bottom of the crevasse, then leaped off himself, falling fifty feet before he met the murky pool below, enveloping himself underneath the water. He was at the John F. Kennedy Secret Fountain. He emerged from the water and shook himself dry. He strolled up the steel enforced door. He pressed his face into the retinal scanner. He entered the detoxification and sterilization chamber. Gasses and liquids encompassed his body. He emerged from the mist nude, and walked up to the end of the cavern. There hung a big white telephone with one looming button sitting at its center. The President took a deep breath and picked up the receiver, and mashed the button. It rang six times before it was answered.

A booming voice, deeper than the confines of sound itself emerged from the earpiece.

“Mr. President?”

“Yes God….It is me.”

“I told you I don’t exist.”

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