Did You Fall Down the Stairs?

What was that noise?
And why won’t you answer?

By Jeff Salter

[Note: One of many “frights” I’ve experienced in my eventful life. I posted this on Facebook in 2017, when it originally occurred. But, believe it or not — it’s also happened since that time.]

When we were building this house, the contractor wanted to have all 16 steps in one “flight” (in order to save some upstairs space). I was all for saving space, but I also remembered my mother-in-law (twice) tumbling down HER lengthy flight of stairs (before they moved to the condo). So I told the contractor to make the stairs in two runs with a landing in the middle.
He wasn’t able to work it out with 8 steps, landing, and 8 more steps… but he figured out a way to have 6 steps, landing, and the final 10 steps.
All that was simply to help prevent one of us from killing ourselves on the stairs.
[I’d never owned a house with stairs and only lived for one year in a house with stairs. I stumble around a lot in the dark, you see.]


No, these are not our stairs, but we also have 10 in the second run… as you see here.

Hang on and keep reading… I’m getting to the point.
This morning, I was in the bedroom and suddenly heard CRASH – BUMP – THUD – CRASH.
I knew immediately it was from the staircase.
I called out, “Are you okay?”
No answer.
Before I could make my way from the bedroom to the area with the stairs, there was another CRASH – BUMP – THUD – CRASH.
“Hey, Denise! Are you all right?”
No answer.
So I hustle down the stairs, my phone in hand, ready to call 9-1-1.
There at the bottom, casually stacking cardboard boxes was my wife.
“Did you fall down the stairs?”
“No,” she replied, seemingly surprised at my question. “Why?”
“Well, I heard all that CRASH – BUMP – THUD – CRASH and figured your days on this earth were over.”
“Oh, that was just these boxes,” she answered.
“My hands were full, so I just kicked the boxes down the stairs.”
Folks, if your spouse has a “thing” about stairs… please don’t create unnecessary CRASH – BUMP – THUD – CRASH on the staircase… without advance warning!

Have you ever heard a noise in your house… and were convinced someone had just experiences a terrible accident?

[JLS # 503]


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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19 Responses to Did You Fall Down the Stairs?

  1. Deb Bailey says:

    It was just a couple of months ago at 4:30 AM, the crash shook the bedroom. Our house alarm screeched wildly and our smashed glass warning screamed. Gary jumped out of bed and ran to the alarm box while I reached for a gun. I shouted, “ Are you ok? I’ve got the gun!” Through this Gary is turning off alarms, turning on lights but not telling me a thing. I’m thinking our front door has been bashed in and there are now dangerous people in our house. “Gary, what’s happening, ARE YOU ALRIGHT?!” Finally he calmly says, “Put something on your feet and come to the dining room.” I figured no gun needed but I brought my Irish shillelagh just in case.
    As I enter the room Gary says, “Babe, I’m so sorry. It’s a mess.”
    The China cabinet door is wide open. My purple carnival glass punch bowl is upside down slightly imbedded in the hardwood floor. There are shards of glass, china and glass shelving scattered as if an explosive had gone off. I’m shocked but relieved the house wasn’t broken in to. Gary is telling me he thought that a car had crashed into our home. It took more time to get my head on straight to piece together what had happened.
    The second shelf in our china cabinet had slipped off it’s holders and collapsed onto the base shelf. That shelf held the dishes my Mom’s mother had owned. They were the very few things I have from the Gramma I never met and who had died when my Mom was four. I had been the keeper of the family “treasures” and I was looking at crushed and broken remains. My heart sank as Gary said, “Let’s clean this up.”
    My crazy 1970’s punch bowl hadn’t a scratch but left deep bite marks in the floor from it’s pointy toothed rim. Everything else on the floor were bits, slabs, slivers and jagged pieces.
    Gary tried to comfort me with,”At least no one was hurt.” Well, not except my heart, there’s still a wound from the loss and feeling as if I somehow could have prevented it from happening. Yeah, I know, who would know something like this could happen? I continue to have my pangs of guilt and I seem more bothered by the losses than my Mom.
    No one was physically hurt. I got lots of hugs from my babe as we tried to get back to sleep which didn’t happen for me. It would be breakfast time for the dogs within the hour so why try. I was going to have a long talk with them anyway. How come the leaf blowing past the window gives you five minutes of barking but not one peep when the crash happened? I had to pry the Corgi out of the guest bathroom and the Papchiweenie was perturbed she was woken up before it was time for breakfast. They need their priorities straightened out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    I have stairs like you only the shorter length is the upper part. And I’ve totally kicked things down the stairs. Or just tossed them over the railing to the bottom steps below which makes a very loud crash-thud. 🙂
    From time to time, I might hear a noise I can’t identify but rarely does that cause me worry.
    One noise that causes me instant fear… The hacking of my cat about to puke. She has a knack for doing it on the carpet instead of the tile.
    Great story, Jeff. I can see the innocence upon Denise’s face. Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Yeah, for the 16 years we had King Sipper, that hacking noise was among the worst that the human ear can detect. And it was always in the worst spots and invariably the most disgusting mess that the mind can imagine.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    I’m always tossing things down the basement stairs. Hubby doesn’t hear too well, so he doesn’t react. As for HIM making noise, I’ve learned that noise-plus-cursing is a sure sign of an accident. Other than that, it just means I have something to clean up.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. When I was a teenager we lived in a big, old house that had a beautiful cherrywood staircase in the foyer. I was carrying the 2 yr old of a friend of the family down the stairs when I slipped. I had the presence of mind to hold onto him, but that meant that I could not save myself and went a long way on my back with him sitting on my stomach.
    He jumped up and ran to the family. When I could get to my feet, (I broke my tailbone but didn’t know yet), I stumbled in and a fuss was being made over the boy, and my mother cried out, “Do you know that Jason fell down the stairs?!”

    But with the boxes, I can commiserate with Denise. We bought a three-level townhouse just before I became unwell, but fortuatately, we had landings. Trips up and down had to become extra-productive with certain rules for myself: Never go up or downstairs for ONE purpose; ALways take something up that needs to go up or down that needs to go down on any trip; Find things to do on that level before moving up or down.
    Dropping boxes and what-have-you to the landing or next floor was acceptable (for ME, not the kids!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I lived in a house with a second floor, I tossed many things down the stairs. Our stairs were a short run of four from the first floor, but there was no landing. The stairs turned in the corner, and then they continued to the second floor. I’ve also slid on the carpeted stairs from the top to the bottom on my backside. Not fun. I’d never have carpeted stairs in my house again.

    As for noises, I hear them all the time. My ears pick up sounds many people do not hear. All of my senses have always been to the extreme, although my eyes are getting worse. (Never wore glasses until past my 50s and only reading glasses now.) Sometimes having exceptionally good hearing is a good thing, other times not. Noises at night wake me quite often. The good part is that I can hear when Arnie stubs a toe, pinches his finger, etc. from anywhere in our ranch-style house, even the garage. Sometimes, he wishes I didn’t hear him so well. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Salter says:

      Like you, I’ve had excellent hearing. I only hope it holds up… since my mom is almost totally deaf at age 98 and she had an aunt who’d had hearing problems for most of her long life.
      I didn’t wear glasses until my early 20s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have strange hearing. I can pick up things no one else hears (same with my sense of smell. I’ll tell you a funny story about that and my experience with the gas company some day. LOL), but I lot of the time, I can’t tell in which direction the sound is coming from.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Elaine Cantrell says:

    We have two stories, and I constantly throw things down. Nobody has ever been scared by it that I know of.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. trishafaye says:

    I so enjoy reading your posts – here and on Facebook. You are a true storyteller!


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