Microfiction Monday – 3/13/23

The Ladder

The front door of Stinson’s hardware shop opened with the tinkling of a bell. The old man was sorting a box of loose nails by their sizes when he looked up to see who’d entered the shop.

As he raised his eyes up to meet those of his customer, Stinson realized that he was looking at the largest man he’d ever seen in his life. Six foot seven, by his estimation, broad and muscular. The man had a mane of long, red hair and a substantial but well-groomed beard.

So impressive was the man’s stature that it took Stinson a full minute to notice his companion — a petite Black woman, barely five feet tall with cropped hair and graceful arms. She reminded Stinson of a little bird. The two of them made quite a pair.

The couple, who were used to this kind of reaction, waited patiently for Stinson to find his words.

Finally Stinson said, “Good morning, how can I help y’all?”

The woman spoke up with a high, sweet voice.

“We’re looking for a ladder,” she said. “Just a step ladder.”

“Well,” said Stinson, “I’ve got thissin’ right here. But it has a weight load capacity of two hundred pounds.” He eyed the large man, attempting to guess his weight without appearing rude.

“Ok that’s ok,” said the woman. “It’s for me.”

“Well this ought to work just fine for you, ma’am,” Stinson said. “It’s thirty-five dollars.”

“Does it come in any other color?” the woman asked. The ladder was bright red.

“No, no,” he responded. “That’s why it’s on sale. Last one.”

“Well, can I test it out here before I buy it?” she asked.

“You mean you want to try to stand on it?” Simpson responded, holding out the ladder. “Sure! What are you gonna use it for, anyway?”

The woman grasped the ladder, opened it up, and set it down gingerly next to her partner.

“Oh, its for a wedding,” the woman responded.

“Well that’s nice,” Stinson remarked, “who’s gettin’ married?”

Wordlessly, the woman stepped onto the ladder and faced the man. The two of them were now eye-to-eye and they gazed at each other for a moment before she leaned in and kissed him passionately on the lips. The kiss lasted several seconds and Stinson averted his eyes. Finally, the two pulled apart and smiled at one another.

Turning her head back to Stinson, the woman grinned at him. “We are,” she said. “And this’ll do just fine.”

Climbing down she took out her wallet and laid two twenty-dollar bills on the counter. Then Stinson noticed the sparkly ring glinting on her delicate hands. He took the money and gave her the change.

“Thanks for your help,” she smiled. The tall man at her side smiled, too.

Stinson nodded, “Come on back if you need anything else.”

The couple left the store and Stinson went back to sorting nails, grinning at no one in particular.

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