Ceiling by Joseph Brichto


My little brother Sam fell through the ceiling yesterday. I was out riding my bike and when I came back there was a hole in the ceiling above the sink in the kitchen and dust was everywhere and lots of dishes were broken and stuff and Ma and Dad were mad at each other. Sam had a big cut on his arm and there was a lot of blood and tomatoes everywhere too but I think he’s gonna be fine cause Ma and Dad didn’t take him to the hospital like they did for me when I burned my hand last year making my project for the science fair. I got a blue ribbon.



To tell you the truth bud, it happened so fast it was unreal. I don’t know how many times I’ve told those boys to be careful messin around in the addition. I suppose I might be slightly at fault in the whole thing, having been up there with him, but really something like this was bound to happen eventually.

So Karen and I are upstairs and we're talking about how we were gonna use all our new space and Sam bounds up the stairs, the little flipper overflowing with energy. I gotta tell you I enjoy watching him bounce around when he’s all wound up like that. Reminds me of some kind of…well…I don't know…forget it.  

Anyhow I might have had a few drinks, it being the end of the day, and I had finished a beer and tossed it in this five gallon bucket we’d been using for our aluminum cans, to recycle you know? So boy just climbs into the bucket and starts jumping on the cans, crushing ‘em down. I don’t make nothing of it. He jumps once, he jumps twice, and then whoosh - gone. Like a magic trick. A five-gallon bucket sized hole right where my boy had just been standin. Apparently the bucket had been wedged between two joists, and he unstuck the thing and burst straight down through the ceiling. It’s just plaster and wood lath, and older than all hell too. It’s not meant to carry any weight really, and it was uncovered, cause you know those were just ceiling joists a week ago. Not floor joists. There’s some conceptual distance between the two things, know what I mean? Really it’s kind of amazing he went through as cleanly as he did, aside from a cut on the arm. Those joists are set on sixteens. It’s easy to forget how small he is.

Well Karen and I run down the stairs, and wouldn’t you know it he just rode that bucket straight down onto the kitchen sink, then tumbled right to his face on the floor. He went and busted up the dish rack and some of his momma's canned tomatoes and not a small number of glasses too. He had a sizable gash on his forearm, but he was up and at ‘em just a few hours later. It’s amazing how kids can bounce back the way they do. Take a lickin and keep on kickin.



I would prefer not to dwell on the subject much more, but I will say that Howard needs to throw some plywood down on the floor upstairs, as opposed to just scattered pieces that form that sloppy kind of walkway. This was bound to happen, and I just thank the good lord that Samuel wasn’t seriously hurt. I don’t wanna assign blame, but Howard should’ve been paying closer attention to where that bucket was. Nearly gave me a heart attack, watching him disappear like that. One second he’s right there, you look away for a moment and then he’s gone.



I fell through the ceiling yesterday onto the sink and broke a lot of stuff and I think Ma was mad about it. I was jumping on some cans in a bucket. I like the sound they make.

Joseph Brichto lives in Austin, Texas. Follow him on his spicy Twitter here.