Grickle Contest Winner #3
The Amazing Flying Plumber
by Jude Austin
Anyone wandering along my road on a pleasant September morning five years ago might have been happy to pause for a minute and listen to the sounds of nature. They go something like this:
"Cheep cheep" as the sweet little birds serenade the cool morning.
"Skritcha-skritch" as the happy squirrel races headfirst down the tree and starts hunting for food.
"Miaow" as one or more of the local cats catches sight of the happy squirrel and starts to stalk it.
"Chatter-wham-screech-patpatpatpatpat" as the local cat leaps for the happy squirrel, which accelerates at Mach One up a tree just in time for the cats to thud into it and get bombarded by various objects by the sweet and now irate little birds.
Hey, it could happen.
If that person should chance to look up, however, they may see something more sinister; a desperate-looking man frantically attempting to spell out the word HELP by sticking pizza boxes onto the window.
Okay, enough scene setting. Rewind.
At the tender age of nineteen I had been living in my apartment for a few months now (as the amount of takeout cartons and pizza boxes scattered all over the place could bear witness). Our story starts a week or so earlier, when I turned on the shower and found the hot water wasn't getting through. No problem. I call the plumber and he says he'll be there next Tuesday.
Admittedly this is something of a small problem; I'm one of these people who feels dirty if they don't get AT LEAST two showers a day (it's usually three, and four is not unknown). For a week I was resigned to running cold water, mixing it with boiling water from the kettle and using that. Not fun. So much for playing the Helpless Female card to get quick service.
Still, the Big Day finally came, and it went something like this:
9.20am: I let plumber in.
9.24: Plumber wiggles shower button to see what problem is.
9.24.30s: Sudden flash of insecurity; what if the shower works perfectly? What if it was all my imagination? Ever since what is now referred to as The AA Man Incident, I'm very wary of such things. Don't ask.
9.25: Shower delivers freezing cold water. Plumber puts hand in to test
temperature, accidentally diverts water into face.
9.25.03s: Much spluttering from plumber.
9.26: Plumber says he can fix the problem, but it will probably take all day.
9.26.05s: Much spluttering from me.
9.28: Plumber takes out big impressive looking tool. Leaves other tools in
workbox for now.
9.29: I tell plumber I'm going into town for the day (I feel very uncomfortable just sitting while other people around me work)
9.29.10s: Show plumber where tea and coffee are. I never drink that stuff
anyway; someone might as well use it.
9.30: I walk out of flat, mind occupied with problems at work.
1.20pm: I walk out of cinema and suddenly remember I may have locked front door on my way out.
1.21: Find four messages on mobile from father confirming this. Good thing
plumber didn't have MY mobile number.
1.23: I phone father, who says plumber has - in a last desperate bid for
freedom - opened window and climbed out of it. To this day I'm not sure how he managed it since I live on the first floor.
1.25: Hide in public library until they close. Not too bad either; read four books and saw the float carnival pass by through one of the windows.
6.00: Get home to find plumber gone. Find message saying that despite his using ladder to climb up and down into my flat, bringing in the parts he needs, plumber still has not managed to fix shower. Will be coming back tomorrow.
8.00am the following morning: Put note and key in envelope under doormat, then flee Wrath of Plumber to public library again.
6.00pm: Shower working again! YAY!
2002 - present day: Get teased mercilessly by friends and family. Even my
grandmother still says things along the lines of, "You haven't got a plumber in your flat this time, have you?"
2002 - present day: Pray that shower never needs fixing again. Been lucky so far, but who knows what future holds?