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Ryan Ridge  

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Roofs—flat or slanted—wooden and enchanted—slats, converging at an American Home’s summit. Often shingled and frequently festooned by various ornaments: antennas, Christmas lights, Chimneys, Virgin Mary statues, weathervanes, and satellite receptacles, Roofs act as industrial-strength prophylactics, defending the dwelling from various airborne toxins (i.e. Angel Tears, Swine Flu Vomit, Nuclear Winter Dust, etc.), as well as a multitude of Mother Nature’s own lesser-known miscarriages (i.e. Prison Wind, Cloud Quakes, etc.). Roofs (also referred to as “Mortgage Helmets”) are magnets for alcoholic stepfathers, as well as the Working Poor. In 2002, Forbes Magazine named RoofsThe Absolute Worst Place to Earn a Living.” This perhaps due to their precarious distance from the ground, as well as their heated relationship with the Sun. Roofs tend to be accompanied by Gutters (See: Gutters). Also: Chimneys (See: Chimneys). If a person is having an outstanding time at a Dance Party (See: Domestic Festivities) they may hoist both arms in the air and say: “Raise the Roof!”, which means that person anticipates having an even more outstanding time in the near future. There is a certain variety of exhibitionist who enjoys having sex on Roofs. These people are called “Roofies.” Roofs are also the place where Santa Claus parks his sleigh in children’s imaginations.


Chimneys—most notably are the way in which American Homes send secret messages to other American Homes via smoke signal. One home may say, “I am a home. My name is 1812 Winchester Street.” And another home may respond: “So glad you are. My name is the Ridge Residence. Although we are connected by power-lines, I don’t believe we’ve ever met.” Aside from providing home-to-home-messaging, Chimneys (AKA “Arson Averters”) make it safe for people to set things on fire indoors. The places where people set things on fire indoors are called Fireplaces (See: Fireplaces) and are positioned at the base of Chimneys. Most Chimneys are bald, but some Chimneys wear hats to mask their baldness. These hats are known as Chimney Caps. The empty space inside a Chimney is sick is called a “Flue”. The empty space inside a “Flue” is called: The Sound of One Hand Clapping. If you place your head in an unlit Chimney, you will hear the ashes of American trees discussing the death of the American forest. This is guaranteed.

Frequently Asked Questions

·                     Q.: What is the sound of one hand clapping?

A: The sound of a chimney sleeping.          

·                     Q.: Why do so many chimneys wear caps?

A.: To conceal baldness. Also: to keep birds out.

·                     Q.: Is it alright to climb inside my chimney?

A.: Yes, but one should measure both oneself and one’s chimney before proceeding.

·                     Q.: Is it wrong to have sex with my chimney?

A.: Yes, even if it feels right.

·                     Q. My husband smokes like a chimney. How can I get him to stop?

A.: Try cold turkey. Or: jelly beans worked for Ronald Reagan.


Gutters—Whether aluminum or galvanized, seamless or flawed, Gutters (also known “Crap Vessels”) do more than seize sky fluids, they also prohibit the home from over-ingesting a plethora of dangerous atmospheric contaminants, including but not limited to: Acid Rain, Purple Rain, and Stray Microbes. Oftentimes Gutters will fill up with leaves and variety of other tree debris. Hence Gutters must be emptied and sanitized at regular intervals, preferably monthly. “Cleaning the Gutter” is an ancient initiation rite passed down from American fathers to their pre-manly sons. In America, once a boy has climbed a ladder and scraped detritus from the Crap Vessel, that boy is no longer a boy—he is a man! The term “Cleaning the Gutter” is also an American euphemism for a sexual maneuver. And sometimes, when a person possesses a dirty mind, a person with a cleaner mind will say to that person, “Hey Jim, get your mind out of the Gutter!”—which is a strange thing to say if you really think about it.


Fireplaces— Where there is smoke, there is a Fireplace. A Fireplace is an outdoor heat decoration transposed indoors. The ferocious tide-rips of the blue night in the Fireplace bring to an American Home heat that causes logs to pour gray gulfs. Hence the Fireplace is like a person with emphysema or whooping cough. Or, from an aerial perspective, it is a giant straw sucking smolders cloudward. Metaphorically, the Fireplace is glowing sunbirds, phoenixes—rising from the ashes of American forests: smoke/fire/place.  If a smoker sits next to a Fireplace, the smell of their cigarette will vanish. If a Fireplace sits next to a Fireplace, call the architect and demand your money back on your American Home!

Ryan Ridge

Ryan Ridge writes and teaches in Southern California. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in 5_Trope, DIAGRAM, elimae, Salt Hill, SmokeLong Quarterly, Upstairs at Duroc, Yankee Pot Roast and elsewhere. He is the fiction editor at FAULTLINE Journal of Arts & Literature.

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