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by Daniel J. Durand

For the third time that day, Adam found himself falling down the flight of stairs in front of his apartment. It was becoming a familiar feeling.  Thirty-seven steps.  Thirty-seven jolts to the face, chest, stomach, and legs, the force of the impacts nearly jarring the fillings out of his teeth.

As he rolled past the fourteenth stair, he cursed. At the twenty-third, he found himself pondering life, and just how funny it all is. By the twenty-ninth, he was cursing again, this time more loudly.  The onlookers at the top and bottom of the staircase blushed at his colorful use of language.

With only five stairs till the bottom, Adam felt a little depressed and found himself wondering if the pain would ever end. His head smacked against the second-to-last stair, which caused his lower half to flip over him in a sort of reverse somersault before it came to rest on the floor. As he gazed at the ceiling through the space between his ankles, he realized how much this was going to hurt the next morning. Slowly, he untwisted himself and sprawled out into a more comfortable position.

He did a quick check to make sure nothing was broken.  He flexed his legs.  They were a bit sore, but otherwise fine. Next he tried his arms and hands.  They seemed to be in decent condition as well.  Then he ran one of his hands through his now-disheveled hair.  He felt a small bump on his scalp but, after closer inspection, there didn’t seem to be any blood.  He stood up and brushed himself off.

The onlookers, still onlooking, began to disperse, as the fun was now over and everything else seemed sadly anti-climactic. Adam began to climb the stairs back up to his apartment, very carefully stepping just one foot at a time to ensure maximum balance.

He noticed a peculiar squeak at the twenty-first step, one which hadn’t been there before the fall. He smiled upon discovering this, satisfied that he had at least inflicted a little damage back. Now, when friends asked about his bruised appearance, he could say “You should see the other guy!” with some truth to the claim.

The smile went away at the top of the stairs when he almost slipped again, but despite the near miss, Adam was able to get back inside his apartment and pop a few pain pills.

Adam knew he was lucky for not being more seriously injured as he had terrible insurance. Falling down the stairs would be considered a “Gravitationally-Assisted Injury”, and therefore not covered.  The company firmly believed that such injuries were easily avoided in this day and age, thanks to the marvel of the “Wet Floor” sign.

Needless to say, no one took into account people like Adam, who had waged a private war against gravity since early childhood. In Adam’s mind, gravity was a snobby know-it-all who took just a little too much advantage of the precious “Laws of Physics”. That the Laws had so far won every major encounter with Adam was no deterrent, and he swore that one day he would track down that know-it-all and give him a stern talking-to. Adam would have no part in such an unimaginative reality. He wanted to fly.


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