A bedtime story
by Paul Christley Tumey (with help from Reid Christley Tumey)
Once upon a time there was a lonely window washer. Every morning he would set out with his buckets, wipers, ladders, ropes and pulleys. He washed the windows of short and tall buildings, the circle windows of brick mansions, the large plate glass show windows of department stores, and the stained glass windows of churches. He even kept the little square windows of his glasses gleaming and spotless.
He worked for a sourpuss named Mr. Doctor Professor President Commodore Octagus, who owned a company that cleaned everything. These titles were all self-bestowed, because Octagus felt he deserved to be looked up to, since he was such a successful businessman. Mr. Doctor Professor President Commodore Octagus was never satisfied with the lonely window washer's work. "Cleaner! Brighter! SPOT-less!" the Commodore would command. His voice, however, was squeaky and high, and he had two big tufts of wild hair that poked out from the side of his head, so he was not scary. Still, the lonely window washer worked very hard for him.
He felt lonely because every day he would gaze through the glass windows he cleaned and see cool people on the other side. He saw mothers, fathers, children, office workers, bakers, salespeople, and so on. He could never speak to any of them, because he was separated by the glass. Most them ignored him as if he were not even there.
He washed every window in town, except for the windows of his own home, an old cottage in the woods outside town. The windows were so dirty that not only could one scarcely see out of them, very little sunlight came into his house at all. He simply had no need of light in his home. He had lived there so long, he knew where everything was, and there was never anyone else around. He never had cause to say, "Hey look at this!" so he never needed to wash his own windows.
Until the day he saw the pretty pony.
It was an especially bright, shiny day. The lonely window washer, whose name, if it matters, was Kirby, happened to be washing the windows of the tallest building in town. It had taken him several days, and he was up the 1,678th floor. He worked from a little platform that was raised and lowered with ropes and pulleys that squeaked a little like Mr. Doctor Professor President Commodore Octagus.
As usual, he looked through the window, expecting to see a person or people not seeing him. What he saw through the window of the 1,678th floor surprised him so much that he just about fell off his platform. A horse! It was a regular office, with carpet desks, papers, and computers, and a horse! No people, just a magnificent reddish-brown pretty pony standing there.
And the pony was looking right at him! Kirby said "Hi!" before he could help himself, and then laughed to think he should know that he couldn't be heard through the thick glass. The pony nodded and whinnied to him. Kirby dropped his jaw and his wiper.
"Can you hear me?" He asked, hopefully.
The horse nodded and stamped, saying so much with soft brown eyes.
Because of the pony, Kirby felt excited and could hardly sleep that night. The next morning, he decided to make a Four-Part Plan to get the pretty pony. He got out large sheets of paper, rulers, compasses, protractors and lots of pencils and erasers. But, as he began to work at his kitchen table, he realized he needed more light to see his Four-Part Plan.
So Kirby found his buckets and wipers and in short order, the windows were spotless and gleaming. Sunlight came down into the rooms like waterfalls of happiness.
At work, the lonely window washer pulled himself back up to to the 1,678th floor and to his great relief, the horse was still there. He took out his Four-Part Plan from the back pocket of his window washer's coveralls, unfolded the large sheet and began to follow the steps:
STEP 1: Clean window again
STEP 2: Cut large hole in window
STEP 3: Invite pretty pony onto platform
STEP 4: Extra uniforms and hat
The lonely window washer had brought along two extra sets of white coveralls and a hat, which were the official uniform of all window washers. Once the pony was on his little window washer's platform, Kirby said "Now, be very careful up here. We're super high up and I wouldn't want you to fall off." Then he put the two extra uniforms and the hat onto the pony. From the ground, it looked like three men were on the window washing platform.
With Commodore-like squeaks, the platform slowly lowered to the street.
Just as he reached the ground, Mr. Doctor Professor President Commodore Octagus drove up in his squeaking black limo. "Kirby! SPOT-less!" he began to bark out his usual commands and then stopped. "Is that a... a.... horse?"Just then, one of two uniforms on the pony slipped and fell to the ground, exposing his muscular butt and long black tail, which swished excitedly.
Without a word, Kirby jumped onto the pretty pony and said to him, "I hope you don't mind, but could I ask you for a lift home?" In answer, the pretty pony galloped down the busy city street. People stopped and stared. A nine-year old girl pointed, said, "Iwanthimdaddy!" and began to stamp her feet.
"Fired! Kirby, you're FIRED!" Octagus shouted after him, but it no longer mattered. Kirby was so happy. He and the pony ran down the city streets, through the neighborhoods and parks and out to the country. It was a glorious ride on a happy sunny day. It was the best time of the lonely window washer's life.
In time, Kirby and the pretty pony were at his home. "Well, this is it. I hope you like it," he said kind of shyly. The pony swished it's tail and walked in. Kirby felt enormously happy, as if his heart had grown larger.
The pretty pony and Kirby lived happily ever after.
By the way, so did Mr. Doctor Professor President Commodore Octagus, who took over Kirby's job and discovered that, being high, as window washing often required, people always looked up to him.
January 14, 2010/Seattle
Note: From time to time, I tell a bedtime story. Usually it's for Reid, but sometimes it has been for lovers. I never have any idea of what I'll say, but usually the story has a start, middle, end and makes some kind of weird sense. I have stopped being surprised by this. Thanks to my son for remembering the details of this story that my rusty mind had already lost, and for suggesting others.