I’ll start by saying I’m not proud. But today there were some guys over at our building, checking out the roof. I don’t really know what they were doing up there because I didn’t talk to them, but it must have been something pretty involved because they were there all day. In fact, they were here yesterday too; I know because I kept hearing them clomping around above my head and I kept worrying that one of them would fall through on top of me.

 So when I heard them setting up again this morning, I was pretty irritated. I tried to tell myself that whatever they were doing was almost certainly for my benefit, cleaning out the gutter or repairing the roof or whatever, but they were still pretty annoying and it was my day off. A woman deserves to be able to not fear a giant hulking stranger will fall through her ceiling on top of her when she’s in her own home. And my landlord hadn’t even called me.

 What I should have done is, I should have gotten out of the house. I could have taken a good book and treated myself to breakfast somewhere, or I could have done some hiking, or visited a friend. I could have done any of a thousand things that would have made me a better person, but I didn’t do any of them. Instead, I sat in my apartment and listened to the stomping overhead, and I stewed over it. I also watched The Price Is Right, because come on. If you’re home on a weekday, it’s practically obligatory.

 It was a really good Price Is Right, with Plinko and everything, and I got so wrapped up in it that it was almost the end of the Showcase Showdown when I realized that there hadn’t been any booming from above me for a while. I wondered if the workmen were gone, but if they weren’t, I didn’t want them to see me checking on them like some crazy rude apartment shut-in. I needed a plan.

 There was only one thing to do, really, and I didn’t like it, but there it was. I had to wash the dishes. The only two reasons that any adult person stands in front of a window for any extended period of time is because they’re a crazy snoopy witch, or because there happens to be a window at their kitchen sink and they’re washing dishes. That’s why I always left my dishes until there was something outside that I needed to look at. The window at my kitchen sink faced the courtyard of our apartment building, which was the rear of our apartment, but it was facing the right direction to give me the information I wanted. The courtyard could be exited through a gate into an alleyway that would accommodate vehicle traffic, and parked in the alley jut outside the gate was a pickup truck with three big, burly men sitting on the tailgate, sharing a pizza. Based on their clothes, their attitude, and the general nature of their dirtiness, I deduced that these were the men whose footfalls had been terrorizing me, taking a lunch break. I also noticed that they had left their ladder up against the side of the building. It was in the opposite corner of the courtyard from where the gate was, in the crook of the building where it turned and formed an L-shape. And nobody was watching it.

 So, that gave me an idea.