a quarter of an inch

“Silly, thinking back on it. Everybody freaking out.” The grizzled man flapped his newspaper as if performing a magic trick, folded it and laid it aside his morning coffee.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was silly, dear. Quite the opposite. It was a nuisance, and you have to admit it had unforeseen consequences. People liked the way things were; they like routine. Case in point, you and your two fried eggs, dry toast, and sodium-free bacon.”

“Always the contrarian,” he said, eyeing his wife of forty years over thin gold-framed spectacles. “All that I’m saying is that it’s just a quarter of an inch. People act like it was a nuclear blast or an outbreak of the plague. All the traffic jams, violence, and hand wringing. Look for the positives! That’s what I always say.”

“You always say what now?” She placed the plate of warm food in front of him.

“Going to be like that, eh? Take this, for example. How many plates or glasses have we broken since then? I’ll tell you. None! You need contact to break things.”

“Obviously,” she said.

“Well? Isn’t that a good thing? And you have to admit that the floor stays clean.”

She turned. “You think the floor stays clean on its own? That’s even harder now. I have to sweep the air. Those are your floating toast crumbs, dunderhead.”

“I didn’t mean to upset you, my sweet. My example was a poor one. Ah! Here comes the old boy at last. All ears and jowls making for the smell of my good wife’s cooking. How’s the boy, Chester?” The ancient hound dog labored into the kitchen pausing to lift its head and taste the air.

“Remember when you’d hear his nails click-clacking across the floorboards? It used to drive you crazy! There’s another positive to add to the hat. He’s as silent as a cat burglar now.” The man reached down and handed the dog a scrap of bacon.

“What hat? Are you feeling okay? And stop feeding him from the table. I’m making him a plate. Oh, don’t forget. I’m having that company come by today. The same Marcie recommended. They’ll set some of the furniture back into the floor again. Actually, they should be here quite soon.”

“Bah. Waste of money. What’s the point? If I want to move something I have to call someone? That’s a hell of a good business, I guess. Not so good if you’re the one paying.”

“I just want some of our things back on the floor. The real floor. A lot of people are doing it. It’s become retro. We’ll be hip and cool again!” she laughed.

“Yes, hip and cool. Thank god for that,” he snorted and the fork he was holding slipped from his grasp. It landed, floated actually, a quarter of an inch above the ground.

The front door buzzer rang. “That’ll be them.” She pointed at the hound who hovered above the floor, “Stay.”