he was in trouble. She knew he would be mad at her. As he climbed the flight of stairs from the front door to the main landing (technically the apartment was on the fifth floor, practically one climbed six flights of stairs to arrive) Leslie tried to scamper down the ladder, but she realized she could never possibly make it down, close the door and hide the ladder before he saw her.

She was in the doorway, mouth ajar, as he topped the stairs. What he saw left him absolutely flabbergasted. He had never noticed the little door or folding ladder. He had, for that matter, never even looked at the skylight. He had no idea these things existed. The sudden appearance of the ladder at eye level was baffling. As he traced it up into the ceiling, the added elements of door, skylight, and daughter were catalogued in turn.

Leslie, hovering in the Lilliputian doorway with her mouth open, made sense somehow. Or perhaps not. The two of them stood with their mouths open, looking dumbly at each other, as each puzzled out their next move.

"Leslie?"

"Dad... You're home early..."

"I just went down to the post office, remember?"

"Yes." She did now.

"Um..."

"Yes?"

"What are you doing up there?"

The mind of a seven year old can be an amazing thing, especially under adverse circumstances. Leslie examined and discarded thousands, perhaps millions of replies, excuses and reasons, jettisoning each in turn as too outlandish or impractical. At last, Leslie said the only thing she could say:

"I'm checking the roof for leaks."

Pause. Blink.

"Oh. Well, that's good. Perhaps you should come down now."

"There's a pirate chest up here!"

His mouth finally closed.

"There is?"

"Yes. It's ancient."

"Look out. I'm coming up." And with that he began to climb the ladder.




1995 Hyperbole Studios Inc.