Actually it’s the cat litter, but it goes in the garbage can so what else can you call it?
He’s only 22 inches tall now. He measured himself in the home office, where everyone marks on the wall how tall they are – the kids, visitors, maybe repairmen, what does he know.
He knocks at a door. Knocks and knocks. Maybe no one is home and he should go do something else. But maybe they’re home. Maybe they were just asleep and now they’re getting up to answer the door and if he gives up now it’s like he was a kid playing a prank, getting them up for nothing, so he keeps knocking.
Just a little while longer.
But now he’s taking out the garbage. A white plastic bag of cat litter. In his other hand he has a fifty Euro bill, because his wife needed money for the cleaning lady and he was going to give her the fifty but that’s too much and the cleaning lady can’t make change so he gave his wife two tens, and then another ten because she needed money for something else too.
And when he throws away the cat litter, he throws away the money, too.
It’s a big garbage can, he has to climb up a ladder to throw away the cat litter and money.
After he climbs back down he looks at his hands and pats his pockets and stuff, but he realizes what has happened. He looks back inside the garbage can and sees the money down there.
He tells his kid to get the money out for him, because he is too small.
I’m too small, too, his kid says. And besides, that garbage can is gross.
She’s right, it is.
I can lay it down and you can reach in and get the money.
If you lie it down, you can walk in and get the money, she points out.
Lay, lie, he says. I’m wearing a suit.
I just ironed my hair, she says.
How much will you give me if I do it, she says.
The smallest man in the world sighs. He is lost. Why do all the women in his family drive such hard bargains?
Still, he has to put up token resistance. How would you like to ride the bus to school instead of getting a ride like every day?
Here, help me lie down the garbage can, he says.
This is why you don’t put money in your mouth, he says.
Why would you want to put money in your mouth, she says.