The best plumber in Daly City

Jonah Hall:

Fernando went to fix a toilet over on Schwerin.  Fernando drove an old, blue pickup truck.  The sign on the truck read, “Best Plumber in D.C.  Call 650-289-4283.” Fernando’s wife called.  He picked up the phone, while he drove, checking to see if any police cars were near.  She told him to pick up more 2% milk.  The baby was crying again in the background.  She needed milk for the cereal.  Same old stuff to do.  He told her he would drop by Safeway on the way home tonight.  He just got milk two days ago.

“Who the hell is drinking all of our milk?” he asked himself.

He arrived at the house and knocked on the front door.  An old lady opened the door.  She was short.  Really short.  Less than four and a half feet, maybe.

She had white hair.  She said, “Hello.  I’m in a pinch…I need the toilet fixed right away.  It has been broken for three days.  I went to my friend’s house to use the toilet.  It was very embarrassing.  Can you fix it right now?!”

Fernando was used to this kind of demand.  Toilets were essential to the mental health of most folks.  He understood this fact deeply after years of plumbing.
……

……
Lyon Keating:

 
Onto another toilet I suppose.  So many toilets, so little time.  How had Fernando’s life gotten to this point where he was the keeper of where one deposited their fecal matter?  I mean, I guess it’s important.  How could it not be?  If people like me didn’t exist then the world would be filled with those in ankle deep shit.  Thank god I’m around and can help people.  My skills are in absolute demand.  I wish I got paid more and didn’t have to stick my head in toilets all day.  What else would I be doing if I weren’t doing this?  Yeah, thank god I’m around for these people.

“I don’t know why it stopped working, I’ve been trying to flush and nothing works.” said the woman.

I’m in such demand and I help people.  That’s a good feeling, thought Fernando.

“Uh, yeah I’ll take a look at it.”

Fernando brought around with what in the plumber world was known as a ‘snake.’  It was a curvy, metal pole that upon turning the handle sort of wiggled down the hole of the toilet, dislodging and bringing back out anything that was possibly clogging the toilet.  Using this tool first in somebody’s toilet was sort of like sitting down to fix the TV and making sure it was plugged in first.  So many people have no idea that the problems they have are usually way easier to fix than they think.  Instead of looking to see if the TV is unplugged they’ll assume their TV is broken and want to buy a new one or call a TV repair man.  In this situation, plunging might have worked or people could even buy a ‘snake’ for cheap at the hardware store and save themselves hundreds of dollars and fix 90% of their plumbing problems very easily. However, I guess that would put me out of a job.  I guess I’ll take people just not knowing and trying to flush their problems away.

Sitting there with the snake and the woman, who smelled of an awkward combination of Vegemite and BO, breathing over his shoulder, Fernando proceeded to pull out what looked like a bunch of lightly stained, red, thick clothes and an enormously fat dead rat upon which the women shrieked, “Billy Bob Bumpkin!” and started crying.  With all the contents out of the toilet and into the pan Fernando took more notice that the lightly red stained bunches of cloth were tampons.

“Don’t flush rats or tampons down the toilet ma’am”

Fernando took his $100 payment from the woman and left and thought maybe he wouldn’t care so much if people did buy snakes on their own.  Somehow, helping others and being in demand was not what it used to be.

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