Hartman of the Drop

  • Reading time: two minutes
  • Word count: 306
  • Published: 7 dec 2013
  • Author: Matador the First
  • Copyright: Matador the First, 2013

Undeterred by the realization that Ms. Tahoe had in fact given his own number back to him, our hero pressed on and eventually bumped into a platform.

A tile in the drop ceiling above him slid over, its home space now empty and black.

“Fairly good-looking tree.”

A face peered out over one of the space’s edges and stared down at Quickbreak.

“Not for five hundred dollars.”

The face squinted, relaxed its eyes, squinted again, and disappeared, after which someone in a red shirt and khakis crawled out of the hole and along the drop-ceiling tiles, clinging to them as naturally as cinderblocks cling to the ground. The ceiling dweller stopped crawling, attached two carabiners to a cable (one at each end), clipped one ’biner onto the frame and the other to a belt loop, and lowered himself down.

The ceiling dweller unclipped himself. “You broke it, you bought it.”

“I broke something?”

The ceiling dweller pointed.

“The tree?”

The ceiling dweller nodded.

“The tree’s fine.”

The ceiling dweller shook his head.

“I just bumped the platform it’s sitting on.”

“So you admit you damaged our merchandise.”

“I admit nothing. I didn’t damage the tree.”

“You’re being hostile.”

“It was just a love tap. I guarantee you I’m not.”

“Please cease being hostile.”

“Who’s being hostile? I haven’t done or said or threat—”

“Please cease being hostile and put the tree in your basket.”

“Put the—or what?”

“Or I’ll have to get my manager.”

“You’ll get your manager.”

“Cease being hostile and put the tree in your basket or I’ll have to get my manager.”

“Listen, ceiling boy—”

“I’m thirty-two.”

“Listen, ceiling boy. I didn’t damage anything. I’m not buying the damned tree.”

“Since you’re still being hostile, you’ve forced me to go get my manager.”

“Good. I’d like to file a complaint.”

“Hartman of the Drop” is the sixth section in a twelve-part story. You can follow the story as it's posted to the home page or by tracking its tag.

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