Roof Man

By Judith Shapiro-

 

The truck has ladders strapped to the side, huge sign on back – “Tired of ugly roof stains? Don’t replace it. Clean it.” Pictures illustrate dirty, unsightly roofs magically transformed into pristine, sparkling ones. People replace their roofs if they’re dirty, I wonder?


How did he get here, this enterprising businessman? An idea concocted at halftime watching the game? Hatched over pitchers of beer at the lanes? Dreamed up at four a.m., searching for his passion? Did a career coach test to determine his competencies? He scored high on lack of fear of heights, comfort driving a truck, love of silence.


I imagine him perched high up near the peak, alone in the quiet drinking his coffee. He uses a real thermos, metal with a glass lining. Lois got it for him at a thrift store. Lois loves “discarded treasures.”


Lois is on a health kick, making him give up sugar, flour, cow’s milk. No bologna and cheese on white for lunch anymore. Now it’s hummus and julienned vegetables she learned to make in her cooking class, bread with millet and poppy seeds.


He hates his lunch. Hates picking seeds out of his teeth. Lukewarm coffee with almond milk and agave. Lois says estrogens in soymilk are bad for his gonads. But, it’s okay. Sitting up on the roof just about anything is okay.

He loves Lois. Loves the notes she leaves in his reusable sandwich bag – stuff to pick up on his way home; reminders of things they have to do; or simply “I love you.” signed L.


“L” feels weird to him at first “Lois, why don’t you sign your name?” he asks. She says L is more intimate, loving. He tries to wrap his head around that. He figures she’s right. She usually is.

 

Judith Shapiro is a writer who recently moved to the other coast where she marvels at the sun that sets instead of rising. When the novel she's writing looks the other way, she secretly writes flash fiction. Her work has appeared in Blink-Ink, Dribble Drabble, Microfiction Monday and others.

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