“Are you trying to kill me?”

Her voice is cold, like steel that has been kept in the fridge. In many ways it is not an improvement on the running around yelling and holding her head from a few moments earlier.

Meanwhile, I clutch the ladder and gibber.

“First the stairs collapse under me.”

My head is swimming and I realise that my hands are shaking. I am not good on ladders, or with heights, or on high ladders. I am especially not good when I almost fall off them. Around me, the loft seems to shimmy from side to side.

“I…” I explain.

“Then you arrange to have me electrocuted.”

With the insulation finally laid, we have been stuffing the loft with heavy Stuff. It was having some of this Stuff handed to me – a large cardboard box full of LPs – which had caused my loss of balance. Thinking fast, even amidst my panic attack, I had realised that the only possible way to stop myself falling through the hatch would be to release the box, heaving it as far as possible in an arc over the LTLP standing below.

With all my might, I had dropped the box almost exactly vertically onto her head.

“Is it for some insurance thing or something?!?”

The loft stops shimmying and starts hokey-cokeying in and out in front of my eyes. I clutch the ladder harder. Looking down, there are records spread all over the floor below. Fortunately, none seem to be broken. A couple of joists move in and out, before shaking it all about.


My vision starts clearing, but I still can’t let go of my rung. I try to continue my scientific explanation based on thrust and momentum and balance and stuff.

“You ARE trying to kill me, aren’t you?”

The words chill me. She does not see it as a threat. She sees it as a competition.